Saturday, May 12, 2018

Are Long-Running TV Shows Providing Clues To Authors?

News shows and late night talk shows, including The Today Show, 60 Minutes, Saturday Night Live, and other television institutions have been part of America’s viewing landscape for many decades.  These shows have each aired at least 1,000 episodes – and in some cases, over 10,000 episodes. But what of the TV shows that aired in prime-time, the ones America refers to as a scripted show?

A cartoon sits atop that list when episode 636 aired for The Simpsons April 29thGunsmoke holds the top spot for non-cartoons, at 635 episodes.  Rounding out the Top 10 are:

#3 Lassie (591)
#4 Law & Order (456)
#5 Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (435)
#6 Bonanza (431)
#7 Law & Order: SVU (429)
#8 My Three Sons (380)
#9 Dallas (357)
#10 NCIS (330)

What does this really mean?  

Many shows were successful with far fewer episodes, such as Seinfeld, Cheers, Bewitched, Hogan’s Heroes, All in the Family, Roseanne, NYPD Blue, etc.  The Honeymooners, with just 39 episodes, is an iconic show.

But quality and high-rated shows don’t always go together.  Some shows have a more successful life in syndication than when they originally aired, such as Star Trek, The Brady Bunch, or  The Twilight Zone.  Some shows were great in their day – and remained popular for generations – like I Love Lucy.

If you look closely, 5 of the 10 shows with the most episodes involved violence – either modern court and cop stuff or old Western shootouts.  Overall, dramas ruled.  Why is that?

Does any of this provide, insight for America’s reading tastes?  Are TV shows the same as books?

Time and again, Americans are fascinated with the police and justice system.  The 1960s featured shows like Adam 12, Perry Mason, Ironside, and Hawaii Five –O.  The 70’s had Columbo, Kojak, the Rookies, Barnaby Jones, Cannon, Rockford Files, SWAT, Baretta, and The Streets of San Francisco.  The 80's, had Hill Street Blues, Matlock, Miami Vice, and Murder, She Wrote.  The 90’s had NYPD Blue and Law & Order. The 2000’s had NCIS, Criminal Minds, Law & Order SUVLaw and Order: Criminal Intent, Dexter, and the The Wire.  So are there books that fall under thrillers, mysteries, and crime dramas?  Plenty. John Grisham has made a career out of such best-selling books.  So have James Patterson and Scott Turow.

Though it seems like TV could be the enemy of books – people spend hours daily escaping to the boob tube when they could be reading books. Television viewing preferences and patterns could offer useful insight on what might appeal to readers when it comes to books.  

Or maybe we need more books about TV?


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.”

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