May is a month that finds television networks at a crossroads. Just as they use up the last of their new episodes of the season, they step up to reveal what their fall schedules will look like in hopes advertisers take a shine to them.
It used to be a pretty predictable process, until recent developments changed the landscape of prime time. Not only has a wave of reality television hits and misses eaten into the once-steady diet of half-hour situational comedies and hour-long dramas, it's hard even to define when the fall season starts -- especially after what happened a couple of years ago when the two most popular new shows weren't autumn debutantes at all.
Fans recall that when Viacom's
Perhaps that is why General Electric's
As a result, the new season will feature hungry networks taking chances. ABC, which has churned through countless hollow sit-coms and inconceivable reality shows, is relying on a new slate of dramas to turn things around. Time Warner's
In the business, they call this time of year the upfronts, as sponsors look to lock in attractive rates by buying ad time early. For those who guess right -- like DaimlerChrysler
Have you checked out the list of new shows being programmed for later this year? Did one of your favorites get axed? All this and more -- in the Television Banter discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been on TV a few times -- then his wife told him to get down before he gets hurt. He owns shares in Disney but no other company mentioned in this story.