Terry Curtis Fox examines the strategies each television network employs in their crop of scripted television shows.
Thirty years ago, when I began writing episodic television, there were network dramas and syndicated shows. These days, when I’m teaching one-hour drama, that single catch-phrase encompasses everything that fits the time slot. But the explosion of different outlets means that one-size no longer fits all. Each type of network behaves differently. What follows is a taxonomy of the four major kinds of networks and how their shows differ from those on other kinds of networks.
No human being can watch everything good – much less everything – on TV today. I’ve left out an entire class of network – the blue-sky network – mainly because I’m not as familiar with what goes on there. As for the networks I do discuss, I’m drawing on the shows I’ve been watching in some depth. There are others, many others.
There are shows and networks discussed below where I’ve worked with the creators and executives and those with creators and execs I’ve never met. While I’ve written and produced for more than a few of the networks, I haven’t for any of the specific shows cited.
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