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After the Election Ends, a Turnout of Scripted Shows

Networks set programming schedules ahead of the holiday season 11/14/2016 8:00 AM Eastern
Taking advantage of a relatively quiet window between the election and the holidays, BBC America is launching drama series "Undercover" on Nov. 16.

As the holiday season approaches, several cable networks will hope to receive an early ratings gift by premiering high-profile scripted content in mid-November.

 

With the end of a long and ratings-rich presidential election and with the broadcast networks set to take a hiatus from scheduling new episodes of scripted shows heading into the holidays, cable networks like BBC America, Pop, National Geographic, TNT and TBS are all hoping to fill a programming void with original content.

 

“We wanted to get in just ahead of the holiday programming and take advantage of a moment when a lot of the noise around fall launches is abating,” BBC America president Sarah Barnett said. “No week of the year is uncluttered today, but believe it or not, there can be a small moment of relative space here.”

 

PAUSE BEFORE HOLIDAYS

BBC America on Wednesday (Nov. 16) will premiere crime drama Undercover, one of at least eight new cable scripted series premiering within 10 days of Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24). Typically, networks tend to shy away from premiering new shows in the days leading up to the holiday season and the glut of holiday specials and movies. But with more than 400 scripted shows launching year round, Barnett said no time period is off-limits.

 

Pop president Brad Schwartz said strong ratings for presidential election coverage has shortened what is normally a solid series premiere window running from mid- October through mid-November. As a result, the network will debut its late night-themed comedy series Nightcap later than desired, on Nov. 16.

 

“If you’re waiting for the election to end but you want it be in front of the holidays, this is the time to launch,” Schwartz said. “You don’t want to get too far into the holiday season because then you get close to Christmas when people’s viewing habits begin to change and it becomes harder to get the message out for your show.”

 

National Geographic will premiere its highly-touted Mars series tonight (Nov. 14, see review). The network is launching a new on-air look and rebrand around the Brian Grazer/Ron Howard produced series, which will feature both scripted and documentary elements around the future colonization of the red planet.

 

“Mars is the centerpiece of our new premium strategy and its creatively ambitious for us,” Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks, said. “We’re really interested in what the audience thinks and how they react.”

 

‘SEARCH PARTY’ ON THE WAY

TBS and BBC America said they too are altering the debut schedule of their respective new shows to help build greater awareness and ratings. TBS will launch its 10-episode comedy series Search Party over five consecutive nights beginning Nov. 21, according to network officials.

 

BBC America’s six-hour Undercover series will air over two nights. Barnett said the network wanted to create some additional buzz for the series by allowing viewers to binge view the series over consecutive nights.

 

“As a linear network, we understand that there is some content that audiences especially love to binge, and phenomenally written, dramatically shocking mini seasons fall into this category of ‘must devour’ TV,” Barnett said. “We scheduled it in a way where fans could truly immerse themselves in this riveting thriller.”

 

SIDEBAR: On Script

A partial list of the scripted cable series premiering between Nov. 14-24:

Show                          Network                    Genre                     Premiere Date

Mars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nat Geo . . . . . . . . . Drama . . . . . . . . . . .Nov. 14

Good Behavior . . . . . . . .TNT . . . . . . . . . . . Drama . . . . . . . . . . . Nov. 15

Shooter . . . . . . . . . . . . . .USA . . . . . . . . . . Drama . . . . . . . . . . .Nov. 15

Sweet/Vicious . . . . . . . .  MTV . . . . . . . . . Dramedy . . . . . . . . . .Nov. 15

Ice . . . . . . . . . . . . Audience Network . . . . . Drama . . . . . . . . . . .Nov. 16

Nightcap . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pop . . . . . . . . . . . Comedy . . . . . . . . . . Nov. 16

Undercover . . . . . . . BBC America . . . . . . . Drama . . . . . . . . . . .Nov. 16

Lovesick . . . . . . . . . . . . Netflix . . . . . . . . . Comedy . . . . . . . . . . Nov. 17

Search Party . . . . . . . . . .TBS . . . . . . . . . . . Comedy . . . . . . . . . . Nov. 21

SOURCE : Multichannel News research

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