Should we start preparing for a different type of television season?

For the past few months, fans of comedy have had an interesting turn of events. First, Cougar Town has still yet to air its third season, though they’re currently filming the final episode of the season. And then of course we have the whole Community debacle – we’re allegedly going to see the rest of the third season, but we’re not sure when. Starting in the spring? In the summer? We’ve had confirmation that they are, indeed, returning, but not any actual dates.
Though I hate to see my Comedy Thursday block split up (too late for that, though, I guess), I wonder if this might be a play for ratings for some of the weaker shows like Community and Parks & Rec. Not weaker in content (because they’re two of the best shows currently on air), but weaker in ratings, for whatever reason Come on, America, I know you don’t like that ridiculously offensive show Work It more than these two – so why did it get double the ratings? Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. All the same, I wonder if some of these shows might have more success in the summer.

This leads me to wonder if we’re about to see a strong move toward a summer season, perhaps with fewer episodes. That’s basically how the BBC runs their shows – half in the early summer, half in the fall, and a winter special that airs around New Year’s. And though their shorter seasons always leave me wanting more episodes, I have to say that it seems like a pretty good format. With the way some shows are struggling now, I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see some of them move toward a less traditional season.

We always have our summer filler shows,

 but very few of them actually make it to renewal. One of the few in recent years that has is Pretty Little Liars, which basically has its own split season that starts in the summer. This show has absolutely taken off, and I think it’s partly the format that causes it (though it might also be the burning question of if A will ever actually appear). They’ve shifted it some so that the second half of the season starts in January with the rest of the traditional season, but the first half of the season still airs starting in June. And to be honest, they don’t have a whole lot of real competition, in my opinion.

I think we’re about to see this theory tested out. If Cougar Town and Community air in the summer (though, pray, not at the same time, TV gods), they might get a fighting chance. Or it might be the new Friday, aka We’re Trying to Gently Shut Down This Show. Either way, it’ll be a new experience, and I have more than a small hunch that it could be a successful venture.

Of course, this is all speculation – but I don’t think it’s a half-bad idea. What do you think? Would you be interested in shifting some of your favorites to a summer season? Their spots would surely be filled with others, but it sure would make the current Thursday night cross-network lineup less crowded. And as most of my watching happens on Thursdays, I know I’d appreciate it – and so would my DVR.


About Bailey

I'm a writer and a feminist. I read a lot of books and I watch a lot of television.

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