The CW Shortens Its Season As One Way To Reduce Repeat Hiatuses

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

Written By

May 17th, 2012

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.

  • Oliver

    Ironically NBC is going to premiere some shows in August like the new comedy Go On. The only risk there is if the new shows are no good the cancellation bear will be coming out of hibernation earlier than usual.

    From NBC’s point of view, this is an advantage.

    Shows flopping earlier mean they can give that promo time to other shows. Early cancellation also means back 9s and better timeslots for existing shows (e.g. Community/Whitney/Up All Night).

  • joel

    The first step towards programming 0 weeks.

  • Bill Gorman

    @joel, comment thread win!

  • Raykov

    Well, with late start and if they decide to end the season in the mid-April, we can see a constant season with a increase or at least steady ratings.

  • Chris

    The less CW, the better. Try shortening your season to zero weeks, guys. :D

  • GK

    The networks need to go back to 26 or 30 episodes per season.

  • Liz


    That’s not economically possible. Television today is in a totally different situation than when I Love Lucy was producing thirty episodes a season.

  • Cathy

    I’m in in the UK and we don’t get breaks/hatus in seasons like you do in the US. When we do get the US shows it is usually several months after the US so we dont have the breaks, we get the complete season.

    I honestly think that if they tried having breaks in a season to show repeats over here it would not last long.

    I understand that you guys have as 36 week season (or something like that) but it just does not make sense to me to show repeats like that – I would be turning off or to another network.

  • s0303

    i only watch tvd, and there are way to many breaks in the season…it seems worse than the other networks for some reason…hope this helps. it does seem like a late start will hurt their new shows instead of help though…

  • jere

    about time they take their number 2 show off friday. this is why dawn should have been fired 3 years ago when smallville went to friday and stupid, now less than a million viewer shows stayed on monday- wed. about time

  • ChrisA

    Hopefully it works and CW have a sucessful year. This is one of the reason why Ringer got killed and some shows dropped in ratings. Have a feeling that Arrow and Beauty and the Beast will be sucessful. Nikita and Hart of Dixie are the only shows that have turn out being good to The CW since Vampire Diaries debuted. Only shows that is dragging down CW is Gossip Girl, 9O21O, ANTM, LA Complex, other reality shows, and probably Carrie Diaries is not going to last.

  • CrimTV


    In some cases yes, but most shows are shown around 1-day to a few months behind (Touch airs 1 week after US, Desperate Housewives about 4 weeks behind, The X Factor was 1 day behind).

  • Ram510

    CW I guess… You premiere just in time for November sweeps, hope nobody bombs out of the gate (yes Beauty and the Beast I’m looking at you). I don’t think this is going to give CW a ratings increase.

    I used to like that the CW started early so I can try them out cause I don’t have time for them once the Big 3 start. But I guess it’s nice that NBC will start early so I can sample some of their shows.

  • alexjones

    it’s an okay move, their shows might premiere to higher ratings now that it won’t have to compete with other shows premiere, also means that there won’t be so much breaks, only problem is we have to wait longer, which is annoying cos I really want to see what happens next after the ending of this season of the vampire diaries.

  • Chris

    It saves them a bit of production money. It gets them nothing else. They make lousy shows hardly anyone wants to watch. The entire network should fold.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    I’m in favor of fewer hiatuses, for sure, so I think this is a good move. I don’t like waiting until October for new shows, on the other hand. Still, a lot of the time, some returning shows I like end up debuting in October – I think Human Target did in its last season. So it’s a wash in that respect.

    The other networks won’t affect this for me since it turns out most of the shows I watch are on the CW anyway – or at least the CW has more shows that I watch than any other individual network. And since I download it has no effect on my scheduled viewing.

    I don’t think it saves them any money – they’re still showing the same number of episodes, just not as many repeats during the regular season.

    It also gives the production companies more time to prepare their episodes before the season starts which could improve quality. This is a problem Sanctuary has had repeatedly on SyFy – they get picked up too late to start production which has forced them to produce fewer episodes due to time constraints.

  • Jaka

    This is stupid. Have the premiere week a week or two earlier, so you can compete against other networks, but finish early, so you don’t get DST problems in April and May.

  • Leonard

    I like NBC and CW airing continuous episodes without the breaks the only thing I disagree with The CW on is the late start in October they really got to start in early September. Their too weak to start that late in the season.

  • Ultima

    so you don’t get DST problems in April and May.

    Relative ratings are what matters and DST causes everything to go down, so it isn’t that big of problem – except for people who freak out over their shows hitting lows in the spring.

  • Ultima

    I like NBC and CW airing continuous episodes without the breaks the only thing I disagree with The CW on is the late start in October they really got to start in early September. Their too weak to start that late in the season.

    Those are mutually exclusive options. They can either start late and have fewer repeats, or start when they usually do and have the same number of repeats.

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