Many people have noticed that TV shows always take a break in February. This applies to broadcast TV shows in most cases, but it can also apply to the production of streaming services like Netflix. This can seem really mysterious to those who are not in the TV industry, and you might wonder why this is the case.
Broadcast television productions are always produced from September to May and then shown in blocks of time on each station. The reason that February is a prime time for a break is that the Christmas and New Year Holidays are connected with different programming than usual, and new programming does not have time to be produced before the end of a short month like February.
Why do Networks Take Breaks?
Networks often take breaks to be able to organize new production and to stay within budget. 22 Weeks of new episodes are all that most networks can usually afford. Production value can also be lost when there is pressure to push to a longer production season. Networks have to take breaks to renegotiate contracts and to make sure that they have the full season of shooting planned out well before it actually needs to be shot.
Networks without breaks will just produce messy TV that is not inspired. This is often why the breaks are much longer for shows that are produced for streaming services. The complexity of many of these kinds of shows is much more like the mini-series shows that were more common on TV in the 80s and 90s. There is also some pressure on networks to show older series and reruns in these gaps in more primary timeslots due to contract requirements.
While it can seem like February would be the perfect time to release a new show since most people are at home and looking for entertainment after the holidays. This is also the time when networks let people take breaks to try and keep everyone fresh for the busy summer and fall seasons of production and management. Many networks also indicate the ratings are not great during daylight savings time, which takes up a big part of the months of February and March.
Do Other Conflicts Exist?
Another major conflict with other shows in February and March is sporting events. This is a key time for the start of all of the sporting events each year, and many people will watch these things instead of TV shows. Streaming services have changed the timing of some of these considerations, but the placement of the start of the sports season can greatly impact the off-season choices made by networks.
February and March Are Break Times for Network TV
If you love to watch network TV, you now know why there are breaks in the schedule in the February and March timeslots. This is due to lots of different factors, from production constraints, post-holiday catch-up, and also conflict with sporting seasons and broadcasting. You can expect
This article was last updated on January 30, 2023 .