Back to IndieWire

10 Interesting TV Season Statistics to Know as Pilot Casting Season Continues…

10 Interesting TV Season Statistics to Know as Pilot Casting Season Continues...

I’ll be compiling the data this week for a future post, but, as noted in previous items, at first glance, I can say that, without a doubt, there are more castings of black actors in lead roles, in TV pilots this season, than there were last year, and maybe even previous years. 

How many of these pilots will actually make it to series is the big question that will be answered later this year, as networks begin to unveil their fall TV (2015/2016) lineups.

In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the below statistics on new TV shows, as the title of this post states, if only to remind you of just how precarious a journey lies ahead for many of the new pilots announced in the last couple of months, that continue to shore-up their casts – casts that include several black actors in lead and supporting roles. In short, while it’s exciting to read news of all these castings, maybe we shouldn’t get too excited yet, until we start to get some series confirmations several months down the line.

The below data comes from a well-researched, very useful FutonCritic.com report. 

I’ve listed the 10 items here, along with my own brief commentary on each:

1) Only 32% of broadcast network shows make it to a second season – I actually thought that figure would be higher. But it obviously means that, the majority of the new shows you’ve been watching this season, won’t be back, so don’t get too attached to them until you’re sure. Some have already been canceled.

2) Shows that premiere in September have the best chance of survival – Interesting; I suppose it could be because they’ll have more time to grow on audiences, who are ready and primed to begin the new TV season in September, and by the time shows debut in the mid-season, audiences may have already become attached to those shows that debuted in September, and may not be as interested in discovering anything new.

3) Scripted and unscripted shows fail at the same rate – Ok. Nothing to add here. Although maybe I would’ve liked to read that unscripted shows fail more often than scripted.

4) Friday night is indeed the “death slot” – Makes sense; it’s Friday night. Last day of the work week; happy hour(s); people go out, and stay out, and unwind, as opposed to any other day of the work week. So any new shows that are programmed for Friday nights are most likely sent there to die. But maybe that’s starting to change…

5) 10 o’clock is just as successful as any other time period – In essence, it’s not too *late* an hour, and cable TV doesn’t suddenly draw audiences away.

6) 5% of shows that are announced don’t even air – I’m surprised it’s actually not a lot higher.

7) 4% of broadcast series have changed networks – Interesting. I’ve never really given much thought to what that percentage might be… until now.

8) New shows on average lose 14% of their audience by episode two – I can see that. Curiosity draws a crowd for the first episode; some stick around; others, who aren’t hooked, move on.

9) Cable dramas are almost twice as likely to return as broadcast ones – No surprise there either, with all the talk of much of the best TV being on cable, and recently, that cable TV shows are even more attractive than films released in the theater.

10) History is on the side of the majority of this fall’s new shows – Here’s where I say goodbye, and send you over to the Futon Critic website for the rest of the story.

Click HERE to go there.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged