On the Chopping Block: Which TV Shows Will Survive the Axe This Season?

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The entertainment industry has its own  seasonal version of of the French Revolution, with some shows slid beneath the guillotine every year. How decisions are made in choosing which shows must go is a complicated process, and one that is by necessity about more than the subjective “good” or “bad” qualities of a program.

Before we move on to which shows are looking up at a shiny blade this season, let’s take a look at how these decisions are made. The most obvious concern that networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and the CW have is that of viewership.

How many people are tuning in to watch a show and what kind of people are they? According to Philly.com, television advertisers tend to prefer the age group between 18 and 49, basically hitting the largest TV audience. This means that networks, too, look to see how their audience’s ages range. Networks also consider whether viewership has grown or shrunken since the pilot — in other words, what kind of potential the show has.

Other issues to consider are based on what the network has available for competition. If it has a number of highly promising pilots, it likely won’t hold on to a show it’s on the fence about. International reception is also a concern. Just because Americans are a little less than impressed with content doesn’t mean there isn’t an enthusiastic audience somewhere else.

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