Question: Why are sitcoms always a half-hour long and dramas an hour long? Andrew, Woodbridge, Va.
Televisionary: Well, I can give you a very general opinion because that's not always the rule. (Ally McBeal, for example, was called a dramedy and ran an hour per episode, but competed in the Emmys comedy category.) Overall, though, it has to do with story format. Sitcoms are joke- and dialogue-based, and are primarily concerned with packing each episode with as many funny lines and gags as possible (their scripts also require a higher per-minute page count than dramas because of the faster pacing). That's tough enough to pull off for 30 minutes on a weekly basis, never mind an hour. Dramas, on the other hand, are more story- and character-based and, thus, usually require more time to tell the tale. Again, that's just generally speaking.