Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No Break For "Prison Break"

In the old days, networks broke even when a new episode of a series aired and made all their money when they ran a repeat. Nowadays, repeats are becoming an endangered species and networks pray the online sales, DVD boxed sets and other new revenue streams can make up for the fact that serialized dramas and reality shows don't repeat worth a damn. Fox has just announced that "Prison Break" will run straight through with all new episodes, says MediaWeek, excluding short breaks for college bowl games and a two hour season premiere of "24" in January. They don't spell it out, but with 11 new episodes left, that means the show will end during February sweeps. So what the heck is FOX going to air in that timeslot from March through May sweeps? Similarly, NBC is airing three more original episodes of "Heroes," taking a short "holiday break" in Dec and Jan and coming back January 22 with 11 more episodes. By my count, that means the season finale will air April 2. What will NBC do for May sweeps? (And no wonder the networks are downplaying sweeps periods -- they should, since sweeps are articial settings in which to judge a network. "Lost," as previously announced, hibernates til Feb and then runs 16 episodes, ending on about May 21. And "Jericho" takes a similar long break starting after Nov. 29.

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