In the aftermath of Jay Leno in primetime, media analyst Larry Gerbrandt takes a look at the risky economics of one hour primetime dramas for THR.
The article confirms some of things discussed here, some of them regularly, in posts and comment threads:
- 88 is the new 100 for stripping a show Monday-Friday in syndication
-American Idol generates $16 million an hour in advertising revenue
-production costs for an hour drama typically run $2.5 million - $4 million per episode
-basic cable companies have been snagging up the rights to syndicate broadcast hits for between $1.2 million to $2.3 million
-a robust international market has helped defer production costs
Unsurprisingly based on the cable TV schedules, syndication deals to basic cable include the rights to LOTS of airings:
Procedural dramas, in particular, hold up well in their cable windows, where many deals include rights for 30-60 airings, not including the occasional 24-hour repeat marathons.
The article also gets into a discussion about why in this day and age a network would ever take on content that wasn't produced by one of its own studios.