Probably one of the quaintest holdovers in television history is Season Finale Season. You know, that point in time when all series wind down and head off on summer vacation. See you in the Fall and all that.
Possibly, and I’m not one for apocryphal thinking (ha!), this could turn out to be the worst year ever for the major networks to take a summer vacation. Think about it — the general public is thinking, “Hmm, I’ve been hearing good things about that YouTube. Now might be the time to become addicted.”
Seriously, what genius decided that the entire television season should end at the same time? As Jim notes, there are excellent examples of playing with the season paradigm. Fox has done cool things with mid-seasons starts, and we should never forget that Seinfeld wouldn’t have survived a fall schedule debut. And HBO has proven that staggered starts build buzz.
Given the fact that the entertainment eyeball is a commodity, you’d think the networks would have spent the past few years thinking about stickiness — it’s something websites obsess about, yet the nets gleefully send their viewing audiences off into the ether every summer.
Unlike the other institution that succeeds with this model, the networks don’t offer graduation ceremonies or diplomas. The audience no longer has an incentive to sit down in front of a new series in the fall (provided they can find it, given the cancellation policies that abound these days). It might be time to deep six Season Finale Season.