Broadcast networks may resort to reruns amid coronavirus quarantines

Broadcast networks may resort to reruns amid coronavirus quarantines

Television may start looking a bit too familiar.

Networks, hamstrung by the inability to shoot new TV shows, may turn to reruns to fill programming slots.

With no sense of when quarantine measures will lift amid the global coronavirus crisis, the big four networks, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox, are mulling how to fill the holes in programming this summer and fall, according to a Wednesday report.

“Scheduling is about having all the pieces of a puzzle in front of you and how you put them together to generate the highest rating,” a top broadcast exec told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s impossible to do that when you don’t know what all the pieces are.”

With production frozen through at least the end of April, TV execs are mulling whether to broadcast shows this spring that are completed but are meant for the fall lineup, or to fill the holes with reruns of shows like “Dancing with The Stars” or specials that can be made on the fly.

Those shows include CBS’ special concert with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood on April 1 and iHeart’s Living Room Concert for America, which aired on Fox on March 29. More of those specials are in the works and are in high demand, but the production timeline still weighs on networks.

The notion of sacrificing fall shows for the summer lineup without knowledge of when quarantines will be lifted was likened to a “chicken and egg” scenario, by one broadcast veteran.

“There are so many chicken-and-egg scenarios that it’s frustrating for those who like having order and all the pieces in place for a larger strategy,” the exec said. “We’re all playing a game of chicken: How long can we tap-dance to get a little information about where this is headed?”

One temporary solution that ABC has found is launching a “Flashback Friday” of programming. The network has been broadcasting long-running soap “General Hospital” with new introductions to the show’s most iconic episodes. Expect more of that from the network, sources said.

TV networks are also looking to their streaming services for content. Talks have kicked off among ABC, CBS and NBC and their streaming counterparts to see if any originals from Disney+, Hulu, CBS All Access or soon-to-launch Peacock may be available to air on their networks, the report said.

That route could prove to be a messy one, however.

“It doesn’t make affiliates happy when you promote your competition,” an exec said.

Source : Alexandra Steigrad Link

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