Second Chance Post #4

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Second Chance continues to be a disappointment this week for FOX television. The show pulled in a 0.5 rating in the demo and had a total viewership of 2.15 million. It slipped one percentage point again this week, down 0.1 from last week and also lost about 0.1 million viewers.

Back in October, FOX cut its episode order down to 11 episodes, showing little faith in the show. This has continued with minimal promotion and the lack of a pronounced social media presence for the program.

Robert Kazinsky, the show’s lead, hasn’t even mentioned the show via his Twitter page since January 21st; nearly a month. He’s been actively promoting other bigger projects he’s working on instead. Dilshad Vadsaria, another cast member on the show, has been much more active. She constantly retweets the official show account and actively promotes it. She has around 30,000 followers which is certainly a wider potential reach than the Second Chance official Twitter account which has only a meager 3,898.

Programming and Program Development

Programming has traditionally been made up of two dominant genres, the drama and the situational comedy (or sitcom). In a typical week’s prime time schedule, the major five broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, and NBC) air a combined 43 hours of dramas and 18 hours of comedy. Another notable genre in the current schedule is reality and competition shows which currently make up 14 hours of the broadcast schedule. When looking into the broader scope of television, more and more genres begin to emerge. Currently on cable and premium networks, dramas and sitcoms also dominate the schedule but they are accompanied by more diverse programming such as mini-series, more reality, and developing genres such as mock reality. Schedules are constantly changing and adapting as new programs are developed and programs begin to come off the air. The development process is unique for each genre and the current season has already showed some success and failures.


The beginning of any drama series typically happens in one of three ways. Either a writer-producer meets with the network and a concept emerges which then turns into a script or a writer-producer already has a script and pitches it to the network. The third common way for a show to develop is for a highly regarded star to decide they want to do a television program and a team is assigned to develop something which fits their needs. Once a script is written and the network approves along with a cast and crew, a pilot is produced and shown to the network. How many pilots are commissioned is dependent upon the networks overall tone, for example The CW is unlikely to produce a large amount of comedy pilots since their schedule is dominated by dramas, along with their current needs. If not many dramas survive the season, more are likely to be commissioned for the next season.

In the current pilot season, Vulture magazine has already spotted several programming trends. One of which is franchise programming. Shows such as NCIS, The Vampire Diaries, and Chicago Fire all have related pilots being worked on. Going off of the success of Once Upon a Time, there is also a tendency towards magical or supernatural themed programs. Vulture predicts a rise in “House” type characters as well as many bigger name stars following Kevin Bacon back to the smaller screen. Much of this is based off of the successes of this past season and an effort to keep promising trends rolling.

One of the more successful launches this Spring was Fox’s The Following starring Kevin Bacon. The show has already been picked up for a second season and has been consistently winning it’s time slot.

A significant drama which went off the air this spring was The CW’s Gossip Girl. While not a major player in the ratings, Gossip Girl was still influential in it’s run on the CW as a trend setter for other programming. The network saw an uptick in the amount of programs focusing on the glamorous and elite such as 90210 and this season’s The Carrie Diaries.

Cable networks typically are more adventurous in their programming and have been seeing a lot of success lately.

walking-dead-season-3-castAmong the biggest successes is AMC’s The Walking Dead. It is a slightly nontraditional show that has garnered huge ratings for the cable network. It was a major Sunday night competitor this season despite not being on a major broadcast network.

Another major program this spring was The History Channel’s mini series The Bible. It received a lot of attention for it’s content and created a viewing war with The Walking Dead.


Comedies are developed in a very similar way to dramas. Typically more comedy pilots are produced each year because they are shorter and quicker to make. However, more concepts are abandoned and there are different standards for determining what shows get picked up. A comedy will rarely be picked up just because it’s funny. Comedies are evaluated more based on the current schedule and where there are holes. If a current show is going off the air or needs a stronger lead in, then a comedy has a stronger chance of making it to air. There is also a different target demographic for comedies. They are intended to appeal to younger, typically less educated, and lower income than other types of programming.

30983NBC had a much hyped new series in 1600 Penn which was given an early release of the pilot. The show did not hold an audience well and saw continually declining ratings. NBC chose to end the season early by airing multiple episodes in a night. The scheduling change combined with declining ratings led to cancellation rumors.

A more successful show this spring has been ABC’s How to Live With Your Parents For The Rest of Your Life. It had a late premiere date but has still seen favorable ratings. It focuses on a single mom having to move back in with her parents and the struggles that ensue from her eccentric family.

This season will see the end of the long running NBC comedy The Office. The show was a hit for the network for many years and led to similar programs such as Parks and Recreation which is still on air. Show Runner Greg Daniels promises a heartfelt goodbye to match the series all around tone and characters.


There are four general rules that define reality television. The first is that they do not involve actors, at least in the traditional sense. Second, while they may be planned, they are not written in the way that comedies and dramas are. They are always produced on location, and finally they have some sort of special gimmick. When in development, these programs are judged more on the potential of the idea than the reputations of the writers or performers. Reality television has created a place for itself in the schedule over the past few decades. It is especially prominent on cable networks with networks such as E! and Bravo airing almost exclusively reality in their prime time slots. Bravo recently announced they have 17 new series being planned, nearly all of which are reality.


On broadcast networks, it is most common to see reality programming in the form of competition. The Voice saw a cast change this spring with Shakira and Usher replacing Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green as judges. The show has been seeing decent numbers with the new judges.

Emerging Trends

Mock Reality

Reality is clearly a genre which is here to stay. Over the years, reality programming has reached to some pretty extreme levels as far as the types of stories and characters that are put on the air. This has led to a new trend of mock realities, shows which are meant to look like reality shows but are scripted or improv and actually make fun of reality programming.

Mock Block Monday

E! has an hour every week titled “Mock Block Monday” which features two of these Mock Reality Shows. The first is Burning Love which is an imitation of dating shows such as The Bachelor. The second is After Lately which is a supposed documentary of the office of Chelsea Lately, another popular program of theirs.

Other networks are picking up on this trend as well. MTV recently announced a new show, appropriately called Reality Stars, which will be about four friends who get involved in reality television. BET has committed to a second season of The Real Husbands of Hollywood. The show follows men of Hollywood in their “natural environment”.

Social Media


Nielsen announced earlier this winter that it plans to begin using Twitter to measure program popularity. This focus on the “second screen” could give more insight into what viewers are responding too and begin to dictate programming decisions. It can help programmers adapt to the growing social engagement of viewers and use social media trends to their advantage.










19. The Business of Television, Bleumenthol & Goodenough



Legal and Business Affairs

by Leonardo Feldman

                                           Changes in Television Contracts 

There are millions of contracts that have been, and will be negotiated in the United States in all kinds of different industries.  Before 1677, verbal contracts were allowed under Common Law. However, there was a change when the “Statute of frauds” came about. The “Statue of Frauds” is a “measure intended to prevent the frauds that may occur whenever there is no signed, written agreement” [1].  Therefore, to prevent fraud a verbal agreement is not a binding commitment. Nowadays, written agreements are necessary with signatures unless they “performed the agreement”. This means that if the parties involved started performing their tasks as required in the contract, then a signature is not necessary.  With the rapid changes in technology, contracts can also be enforced under the law if they are conducted in an e-mail or in another digital manner.

The television industry is very particular about the way its contracts are enforced. has a very interesting article written by Glenn Halbrooks that details the basics of a TV contract. In summary, the article says that the contract should contain a list of services, compensation, station rights, moral clauses, a covenant not to compete, and termination penalties [2].

Some TV actors have mastered contract negotiations. Currently, Ashton Kutcher is the highest paid actor in television [3]


Courtesy by Michael Prince

Courtesy by Michael Prince [4]

The Current Highest Paid Television Actors  are:

1. Ashton Kutcher- “Two and a Half Men”- $ 16.8 Million

2. Jon Cryer- “Two and a Half Men”- $ 14.4 Million

3. Mark Harmon- “NCIS”- $ 12 Million

4. Mariska Hargitay- “Law and Order: SVU”- $ 11.5 Million

5. Sandra Oh, Ellen Pompeo, and Patrick Dempsey-“Grey’s Anatomy”- $ 8.4 Million

6. Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Kaley Cuoco-“The Big Bang Theory” $ 7.2 Million

7. Simon Baker- “The Mentalist!”- $ 7.2 Million

8. Angus T. Jones- “Two and a Half Men”- $ 7.2 Million

9. David Boreanaz- “Bones”- $ 5.85 Million

10.  Patricia Heaton-“The Middle”-$ 5.64 Million

Dancing with the Stars

All of these highest paid television actors are likely to be happy with their contracts. However, there are some frustrated television personalities that are upset because of the length of their contract. On March 29th there was an article written on Fox News which reported that a source closely connected to the series “Dancing with the Stars” said that some of the dancers are unhappy with the exclusivity and length of their contracts. The source claims that when they signed the contract they weren’t well-known, so they couldn’t really do much except to sign what was offered to them. But, now that they gained prominence, the exclusive rights along with its length have become a real issue for them [5]. 

Photo by Reuters (November 17th,2007) [6]

For Example, Julianne Hough got into the show when she was only 19 years old. After four seasons, she decided to split her time to pursue her music and movie career.  Currently, Hough is not a dancer in the show, but ABC still has control of what movies or other projects she can do. If ABC does not want her to participate in a specific project, Hough has to abide by their rules. As of yet, Hough nor ABC have commented about the current situation [7].

Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon

Photo courtesy of Getty Images [8]

Photo courtesy of Getty Images [8]

For 22 years Jay Leno has hosted the “Tonight Show” on NBC, however his luck has run out and his contract will not be renewed. Jimmy Fallon will become the sixth all time host of the 59 year old show, and is expected to begin in February of 2014. Leno’s contract is set to expire in September of 2014 and NBC has decided to give him $15 Million dollars to exit the show early. There is no word yet as to wether he will remain with the network, go elsewhere, or possibly retire [9].

Courtesy by

Courtesy by [10]

On the same day of the announcement. Jimmy Fallon tweeted, “Today was one of the most exciting days of my life.” He also addressed his viewers during his current show, ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ by saying, “I want to thank everyone here at ‘Late Night.’ The staff, the crew and, of course, The Roots…I have to say thanks to Jay Leno for being so gracious. It means so much to me to have his support” [11].

Fallon will become one of the youngest hosts ever to host the “Tonight Show” at the age of 38.

Television average salaries

Television salaries are definitely not all as glamorous as Jay Leno’s or Ashton Kutcher’s multi-million dollar contracts.  A website called PayScale had the following average salaries  a year for different positions in television [12]:

  • News Anchor- $54,895
  • News Producer- $39,316
  • Film/ Video Editor- $46,206
  • Film/ TV Producer- $50,498
  • News Reporter- $33,036
  • Promotions Producer- $44,191
  • Producer-Director, TV/Cable Broadcast- $54,180

The future of contracts is uncertain

There is a lot of speculation over the future of Television and other media contracts. A very radical article from believes contracts may go away completely. The article expresses the possibility of having robots be the Television anchors basing it on a new App.

Here is a video of a News Anchor Robot : Robot News Anchors [13]

The article talks about a new startup App called Guide that will be available through iTunes  and Android Play stores in May of this year.  The company transforms online news articles into video news pieces. This is done so viewers can pick what news they want to watch, and computerized characters (robots) can read them just like a human news anchor [14].

Courtesy by

Courtesy by [14]

The startup is trying to give viewers the “TV-Newscast-feel” by having online comments at the bottom of the screen in a ticker, and including commercials between segments.  The computerized characters include a non-human Avatar, a puppy. an anime character, and they are in the process of creating more variety. The founder says this could also be a source of revenue for the company by making viewers pay a small fee to buy the different computerized characters [14].

Although this article may be somewhat of a stretch, it is clear that television will keep changing as technology evolves. As of now contracts still exist, and are enforced under Common Law.


[1] Blumenthal, Howard J., and Oliver R. Goodenough. The Business of Television. New York: Billboard, 1998. Print.