Will the networks plan out their shows better?


Question: Streaming shows’ entire seasons are plotted out and written in advance before even being filmed. Meanwhile, broadcast network shows seem to be written more on the fly, rarely even a few episodes in advance. Do you think that more network shows have taken advantage of the COVID hiatus to have more scripts written ahead of time with more cohesive stories? —Mike

Matt Roush: The simple answer is yes, although even while virtual writers’ rooms were able to bank more scripts ahead of time during the long production hiatus, the producers were also forced to rethink how their shows would be written and produced going forward: fewer crowd scenes, less ambitious set pieces, etc. And I’d argue a few of your assumptions. While regular network episodic TV is produced closer to air than streaming series, which generally must finish an entire season before the show can premiere, even network series typically have season-long bibles with story arcs and character development thought out well in advance. The network production model does allow for more flexibility should certain stories and characters pop or flop as cameras roll. So I’m not sure the streaming model is always an advantage for a series when it’s produced in a bubble until the entire season is already finished.

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