For decades, broadcast TV scheduling has been a constant. But now, the Fox Broadcasting network is changing the way networks program – and viewers watch – TV.
Since broadcast TV began in the 1950s, its schedule has followed the same pattern: new shows premiere in September and air until April or May, followed by reruns in the summer until the new shows the next fall. With only minor tinkering, this pattern has been a constant on broadcast network TV. In order to compete, cable TV began premiering its programming during the summer, as well as airing shows with “seasons” that were only half as long as those on broadcast TV (13 weeks, as opposed to the traditional 26-week season on broadcast).
At their “upfront” this week, the Fox Broadcast network (which is not the same as Fox News) announced that it too would be adopting cable’s scheduling style. Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly announced that "Fox is redefining the network experience on our air and as a 24/7/365 platform, with distinctive series, addictive event dramas and can't-miss live specials."
This is a huge shift in programming emphasis for Fox – and, if other networks follow suit, for broadcast TV generally. Fox also announced the end of the domination of Sunday nights by Seth MacFarlane’s disgusting cartoons, with only Family Guy continuing. Replacing American Dad and The Cleveland Show will be two live-action comedies. The non-MacFarlane cartoon The Simpsons will also continue in its traditional 8:00 p.m. timeslot.
What these changes will mean for viewers at home remains to be seen. But with Fox constantly developing and premiering new shows throughout the year, one can only hope that at least some of the new shows will be appropriate for families and children.