Question: Why haven't ABC, CBS and NBC copied the cable networks with new summertime programs like The Closer, Damages, Burn Notice, etc.? Don't they know the public is clamoring for good programs to watch during the summer hiatus?
Answer: The networks often say they'd like to put good stuff on in the summer months, not just failed burn-offs and shows they've otherwise given up on (Traveler, for instance). And the trades continue to announce provocative projects (like a horror anthology for NBC) that could air in the off-season. But for the most part, I'm betting we'll still see mostly reality on the networks in the summer. Some good (So You Think You Can Dance), some awful but popular (America's Got Talent), some hateful (Big Brother), and many that come and go without a ripple (Pirate Master, anything on ABC). The reason: economics. Cable networks see the summer as an opportunity to promote and produce some of their best work, to establish their brands and make noise. The networks will almost always choose to wait until the months of the regular season, when viewing patterns are generally higher, to showcase their hottest projects. Which is why when Dancing with the Stars took off several summers ago, ABC moved it to the regular season and rests it over the summer. It can make more money this way, and that's what it's really all about. Don't tell me you're surprised.