Space Ramblings

The Hiatus Suicide TV Switch

Strategic decisions to send some popular serial dramas on long hiatuses appeared to backfire. NBC’s “Heroes,” CBS’s “Jericho , ” and “Lost” lost significant momentum when they returned. Besides HBO’s “The Sopranos,” there are no lengthy countdowns toward the end of very popular series, unless you count “The King of Queens.”

And the article forgets to mention 24.

By strategic, what’s really meant is networkspeak for ‘incredibly stupid.’ I mean how dumb did your average executive have to be to think that taking a popular series off the air for more than half a year wouldn’t hurt it badly in the ratings?

A popular show has a particular momentum. Remove the show off the air and you kill the momentum. Replace it with some mid-season drama that has no chance in hell of attracting more than a fraction of its viewers and your experiment has effectively killed 60 percent of the interest in the series. As annoying as reruns were and as low rated as they might, they made you remember how good the show was and wait impatiently for its return. Hiatuses made you forget about the show.

Are the consequences any real surprise?

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