Question of the week: is there a good reason why the summer broadcast schedules are so weak?

It can’t have escaped your attention that there’s not much on television to hold your attention at the moment. Well, except on cable, which actually has a summer season: Suits, Burn Notice, Royal Pains et al are just kicking off on USA; HBO has just launched The Newsroom; Sky Atlantic has some new comedies beginning tonight, including the return of Alan Partridge; and so on.

But not on broadcast networks on either side of the Atlantic. There, all is dead. The assumption, of course, is that we’re all going to be out in the beautiful sunshine or on our holidays so won’t want to start watching something we’re going to miss an episode of. Can you see the flaw in that argument, particularly in an era when the big sillies have a habit of ‘stripping’ shows so all the episodes air in a single week, rather than weekly?

Indeed, as the cable networks show, there’s an audience for programmes at this time of year, even if it is slightly reduced. So:

Is there a good reason for the emptiness of the broadcast networks’ schedules being so empty or are they failing to keep up with the times? And would you watch new shows that started in the summer if they put them on?

Answers below or on your own blog, please?

  • Electric Dragon

    I think a contributing factor (in Britain anyway) is the proliferation of big sporting events over the summer. I mean, new shows are not going to get much attention when the schedules are swamped with football, tennis and then the 8 trillion lb gorilla that will be the Olympics. It's also summer blockbuster season at the cinema.

    And by attention I mean not just actual eyeballs but also that nebulous concept of “mindshare”. For example, in my office, nobody has talked about any television shows in the last couple of weeks apart from the football: there have though been conversations about films (like Prometheus or Avengers That Aren't Steed or Mrs. Peel Assemble).