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Fall TV Fallout: Unscripted Series Struggled to Fill Gap Left by Strikes

Photo by Fran Jacquier via Unsplash

Fall TV Fallout: Unscripted Series Struggled to Fill Gap Left by Strikes

By Movieguide® Contributor

This fall, unscripted series have failed to match up to entertainment expectations set by their competition—scripted shows.

“For the second time in the past four years, broadcasters faced major disruptions to their fall lineups and had to make patchwork schedules that scarcely resembled what they usually air,” said the Hollywood Reporter. “In 2020, the disruption was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which idled productions for months and made filming more time-consuming once safety protocols were in place.”

“This year, the wound to the network business was self-inflicted: Labor strikes that began in May (the Writers Guild of America) and July (SAG-AFTRA) stretched for months — and ended with the media companies that own the big four networks acceding to most of the contract demands the two unions had made from the start. Writers went back to work in late September, and actors followed in November, precluding any chance of getting network favorites like ABBOTT ELEMENTARY, YOUNG SHELDON and CHICAGO FIRE back on the air before 2024,” the Hollywood Reporter said.

ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC would have aired approximately 200 scripted episodes in the fall if they weren’t restricted by the strike. The unscripted programs that took their place did not rake in great ratings like scripted shows probably would have.

“Even in places where fill-in programming performed reasonably well, the gaps are noticeable. Episodes from early seasons of Paramount Network’s YELLOWSTONE have averaged 4.85 million viewers over seven days for CBS, ranking fifth among all scripted offerings on the networks in the fall,” the Hollywood Reporter observed. “Yet that’s still 45 percent less than what THE EQUALIZER averaged (8.83 million viewers) following 60 MINUTES last fall.”

CBS and FOX have suffered the worst drops in ratings, each down by a million views compared to the fall of 2022.

Fox’s World Series Game 3 coverage broke the record for the least watched World Series game ever at 8.13 million views. Overall, the series had a 23% drop in viewership compared to 2022.

On the bright side for CBS, its unscripted numbers will likely go up next year. In 2024, it will air the Golden Globe Awards for the first time in 42 years.

Movieguide® reported:

“We’re so proud to bring the Golden Globes to CBS to celebrate 81 years of awards show history,” he said. “CBS has demonstrated an impressive 30-year commitment to the Grammys and been instrumental to their long-term success. In CBS, we found an ideal partner who understands the value of live entertainment programming and whose multiplatform distribution model is reflective of how global audiences choose to consume content today.” 

Golden Globes last aired on CBS in 1982. The show jumped to different networks before being picked up by NBC in 1996, where it gained success.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.