Featured, US Network TV

Could bubble shows make it through renewals due to coronavirus shutdowns?

Due to coronavirus, most TV shows have shut down production. This includes pilots. Could this mean bubble TV shows automatically get renewed?

With many TV show productions shutting down due to coronavirus, it’s going to have a knock-on effect on pilot season, May Sweeps, and much more. While it’s a scary time for many, there could be a positive thing that comes out of this for the bubble TV shows.

Networks need to have certain hours filled throughout the week with new episodes. Pilots can’t film at the moment, which means they can’t be considered during the usual pilot season. The networks tend to avoid making decisions about the bubble TV shows until May, when those shows can be tested against the pilots. Do the networks think the pilots have a better chance of gaining a bigger audience compared to the shows that are already on the air?

With that not being possible this year, networks will need to keep the bubble TV shows around. Pilots could be pushed to later in the year.

SWATThe Resident and more could be safe

Bubble TV shows are those that could go either way when it comes to renewals and cancellations. We’re looking at the likes of SWAT, The Resident, and even SEAL Team. Their live ratings are on the low side, meaning advertisers don’t want to pay as much for slots. After all, the advertisers worry that not enough people are going to watch the shows to see the ads.

We could see these shows renewed purely out of necessity. It’s better having them than nothing at all. Even if they’re renewed for a final season, it could work out to be financially better for the networks and the advertisers.

This could change the whole way broadcast TV works in the future. More bubble TV shows could make it through in the future because networks see from this that it’s worthwhile.


A change to pilot season

Broadcast TV networks have wanted to get out of the pilot cycle for a while. This year there has been a move to order more straight-to-series shows. The CW picked up the new Walker reboot and the Lois and Clark Arrowverse series early. There is still room for a few more pilots to get picked up, but filming can’t happen. ABC picked up The Big Sky straight to series. It allows the networks to know that some new shows are coming but there may be more later.

Changing pilot season could see more pilots picked up. It could also see more bubble TV shows saved. Shows might not follow the traditional fall, spring, and summer premiere cycle. Instead, broadcasts could head to something like streaming services, where a full season is filmed at once and then aired. We could see more shorter seasons on network TV to allow for this.

The whole TV viewing experience is changing. More people are turning to streaming services for their scripted shows. Unscripted shows perform better on the linear networks. While a scary time, coronavirus shutdowns could lead to network TV getting the change it’s wanted for a while and see more bubble TV shows safe for another season.

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Photo credit: The Resident courtesy of FOX, acquired via FOXFlash (Featured Image), SEAL Team courtesy of CBS, acquired via CBS Press Express