from Advertising Age:
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The central premise of "Harper's Island" is that each week, a character on the CBS show -- which will launch April 9 and run through early July -- will be killed. The twist: It's likely the show will be killed too. CBS has ordered only 13 episodes and asked writers for a finite story arc. From death, however, new life might spring: If the show's a hit, it could give marketers a model for how to program the dreary summer-reruns season.
Broadcast networks have long boasted they run original programs year round, but -- let's face it -- the offerings typically consist of low-budget reality shows and "burn-offs" of old pilots that weren't good enough for a second episode. Meanwhile, cable outlets are gaining share by blasting out dramas just as the broadcast schedule winds down. Increasingly, audiences are voting for cable -- which means broadcast outlets need to up the ante. - Read the rest on AdAge.com
Update: Holly in the comments notes:
Harper’s Island was pitched as a finite, 13-episode story. That was the whole idea. It was pitched as a seasonal anthology. If this works, the next “season” would involve a whole new 13-episode mystery (different cast, setting, storyline, the whole bit).