In its just announced 2012-13 primetime schedule, The CW demonstrates one way to reduce the repeat hiatuses that its fans are always griping about….shorten its season!
In recent years, The CW has begun airing its shows a week or two earlier than the rest of the broadcast network’s “premiere week” in late September, which effectively lengthened their season.
For 2012-13, The CW won’t begin to premiere shows until “early October”, two (or more) weeks later than the rest of the broadcast networks, effectively reducing their season length from recent seasons by about a month or so. Instead of programming 36-37 weeks, the CW will only program 33 (or fewer) weeks.
Update: I looked at this season, and the CW aired 18 new episodes prior to week 3 (which ended 10/9/11 this season), so for 9 scripted shows, they’d swap 2 new for 2 repeats during the season assuming a week 3 start, more for a week 4 start, etc.
I wondered how the CW would reduce its repeat hiatuses given its programming strategy and constraints (no sports, no specials, just a handful of old holiday movies), I just wasn’t thinking out of the box enough to think of the solution of reducing the size of the box!
Update: Here’s a PR advantage to The CW I just thought about. Since *all* their new episodes will air during the broadcast season, instead of a week or two of them airing outside the broadcast season, they’ll get a benefit vs. previous year’s ratings comparisons. Or if you want to look at it another way, they’ll no longer have the disadvantage of some of their new episodes airing outside the season.