Imagine a world in which the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball all decided to move their seasons to the same time of year. It would be chaos, for fans and the professional sports business alike. And yet, in television, that's essentially what happens during pilot season.
The broadcast networks traditionally order pilots during the first few months of the year. From there, it's a race to find the best actors, hire a crew, build sets and produce a show before May, when the upcoming fall schedules are announced. The field has always been crowded, but this spring, several cable networks and online retailer-turned-programmer Amazon are also developing new shows that they hope will go to series (cable networks typically produce pilots throughout the year, usually avoiding the spring).
The broadcast networks are desperate for your attention. They know that you're overwhelmed with their programming and distracted by cable, the Internet and now even streaming services. Plus, they didn't produce a new major hit this season, and their ratings are suffering for it.
That's why this year's crop of nearly 100 series pilots at the five networks (48 comedy and 50 drama from the five networks) is all about being big: big stars, big producers, big concepts.
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