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TV sweeps after the writers’ strike

Marketplace Staff Apr 24, 2008


Renita Jablonski: Despite what it says on the calendar, today is the beginning of May sweeps. Time to warm up the DVR. Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler reports.

Jeff Tyler: For years, sweeps has been a period when networks rolled out big specials, season finales and cliff-hangers — anything to woo viewers. It’s a three-week window during which local ad rates are traditionally set. And after seeing ratings slip due to the writers’ strike, TV executives are looking for opportunities to lure bigger audiences. But Joe Adalian, TV editor at Daily Variety, says they can’t depend on sweeps alone.

Joe Adalian: The networks are realizing that they can’t save their biggest guns for three months out of the year. You’re seeing some season finales of shows like “Lost,” for example, and “Grey’s Anatomy” are gonna actually air after the sweeps are over. That would have never happened five years ago.

Perhaps TV programmers are just hedging their bets against more labor trouble. Talks continue today between producers and the Screen Actors Guild. They’re in their second week of negotiations, trying to work out a deal to avoid an actors’ strike.

In Los Angeles, I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

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