After Leno In Primetime, A Focus on Costs of One Hour Dramas

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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.

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