If there’s one good thing about show productions being shut down, it’s that broadcast networks have been forced away from the TV pilot season. Is this for good?
There isn’t much good that’s come from TV show production shutdowns and the lockdown around the world. However, there is a silver lining when it comes to the TV pilot season. It may have just changed it forever.
There’s no denying that this is something networks have been trying to pull away from but not succeeded. With pilots not being able to film, networks have had to completely rethink things.
Sure, CBS, NBC, and ABC mostly have a traditional fall lineup for 2020. They’re relying on shows being able to return to filming in the summer. But what you’ll notice on all three networks, as well as FOX and The CW, is that there are very few new shows.
The networks opted to renew more than they usually would in May and June 2020. They also opted not to pick up as many pilots, but that doesn’t mean those new shows are going to be completely scrapped.
A move to year-round pilot cycles
According to Deadline, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke hopes to see a move to year-round pilots. This means pilots can be picked up throughout the year. They can film throughout the year. They can also be picked up to series at various points in the year. It could mean more pilots premiere at the midseason or in the spring or summer. We could see a complete change to the way TV works in the future.
This is only any good if all networks follow suit. Of course, the networks could return to the traditional TV pilot season next year. However, it is counterproductive for the shows.
Not only does it stop some potentially great new shows getting picked up (because they may be too risky compared to shows already on the air), it can lead to great shows being canceled purely based on live ratings. With a year-round cycle, struggling established shows get more of a chance and questionable pilots could get picked up.
Just look at how many new shows can be picked up on streaming services. Look at the likes of cable shows are working without the traditional pilot system. Like using Nielsen ratings to determine if a show is popular or not, the TV pilot season is out of date for the way people watch TV shows.
Do you think the TV pilot season will change forever? Should it adapt for the new way people watch TV? Share your thoughts in the comments below.