Why Do TV Networks Sometimes Choose to Air Specific Episodes

TV channels often have to choose which episodes of a TV show to broadcast, and they don’t make these selections randomly.

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, with numerous factors influencing their decisions.

In this article, I will break down the entire process to explain why TV channels sometimes opt to air specific episodes and how these choices impact the TV industry.

Let’s dive in…

  • Sometimes, episodes aren’t ready on schedule and need to be rescheduled.
  • Some episodes are more popular, so they can earn more money from ads and serve as good intros to other shows on the network.
  • On holidays or special occasions, it’s more important to pick episodes that match the theme rather than sticking to the usual episode order.


Here are the detailed explanations:

1) Get More Viewers and Make More Money

TV channels are always trying to do one thing: get as many viewers as possible and make more money from ads.

To do this, they have to be smart about picking episodes that lots of people will want to watch.

It’s not just about how good the episode is; it’s also about whether it fits with what’s going on at the time.

For example, you’ll often see TV channels showing Halloween episodes in October, even if they’re not the next ones in line.

They do this because it’s Halloween season, and they want to get more people watching.

Basically, TV channels want to make more money from ads by showing episodes that can get higher prices for ads. Episodes that lots of people like become the best choices for airing in the most important time slots.

This helps TV channels reach their money-making goals.

2) Testing the Waters with Pilot Episodes

Pilot episodes are super important for TV series.

They’re like a trial run to see if people like the show.

TV channels use them to figure out what the audience likes and doesn’t like. Sometimes, they even make changes to the pilot episode to see how viewers react.

For example, a TV channel might show a different version of the pilot with new characters or a different vibe. They do this to get feedback from the audience before deciding which version to stick with.

This kind of experimentation can really change the direction of a TV series and how successful it becomes in the long run.

3) Limited Control in a Complex Industry

Sometimes, TV channels can’t fully control when they air episodes.

This happens when they don’t own the rights to a show or have to share it with other networks. Studios or streaming services make rules about the order in which episodes are shown.

This means that episodes are aired in a different order than when they were made.

Streaming services, especially, have changed how TV shows are scheduled. TV channels have to follow the rules of these services, even if it doesn’t match the order the show was made in.

4) Balancing Viewer Engagement and Business Strategy

Deciding which episodes to show on TV is a tough job because it’s about keeping viewers interested and making money.

TV channels want to entertain their audience while also making sure they meet their financial goals.

They know that picking the right episodes can affect how many people keep watching and how much money they make from ads.

When viewers are really into a show, it means more people watch it and more money comes in from ads. TV channels are always working to give viewers what they want while also sticking to their business plans.


Q: Why do TV networks sometimes air holiday-themed episodes outside of the holiday season?

TV networks often air holiday-themed episodes outside of the holiday season to attract viewers and capitalize on the popularity of certain episodes.

Q: How do streaming platforms affect the episode selection process for TV networks?

Streaming platforms have disrupted traditional TV scheduling by offering entire seasons at once.

TV networks may be influenced by streaming distribution agreements, which can lead to episodes airing out of their original production order to align with the platform’s release strategy.

Q: Do TV networks prioritize viewer engagement over business objectives when selecting episodes to air?

TV networks aim to strike a balance between viewer engagement and business objectives.

While engaging episodes lead to higher ratings and advertising revenue, networks must also meet financial goals and consider the overall health of the channel’s lineup.

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