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Why Franchise Shows Have Taken Over TV

Photo from NCISverse’s Instagram

Why Franchise Shows Have Taken Over TV

By Movieguide® Contributor

As cable TV fights to stay relevant, one sector — franchises and spinoffs — has soared in the past decade, producing more content than ever.

Across the four major networks, the 2024-25 season is set to feature 21 shows that are part of a franchise. These tried-and-true titles serve as the backbone of television, oftentimes ranking as the top shows during their time blocks.

“We’re talking about more than just a collection of shows. It’s really a brand that audiences rely on,” Universal Television president Erin Underhill told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s a lot of decision fatigue out there. I feel like [viewers] want to be able to tune into something that they trust they’re going to have a great experience for that 30 or 60 minutes.”

Viewers will see NCIS: ORIGINS from the NCIS universe, a YOUNG SHELDON spinoff called GEORGIE & MANDY’S FIRST MARRIAGE and a MATLOCK reboot, among many more.

Along with providing viewers with a comfortable experience they can rely on, franchise TV provides stable jobs in an industry that has become more volatile than ever. Opposed to the series created for television, streaming shows are often created for short runs, leading to quicker periods of turnover. Franchises, however, can lead to decade-long roles.

“Shows like NCIS and CHICAGO have become staples on network schedules, consistently delivering high ratings and engaging audiences. The success of these franchises not only secures viewership but also provides a wealth of content for streaming platforms like Paramount+ and Peacock,” Absolute News reported.

“As the number of options have just been skyrocketing and it’s harder and harder to get new programs sampled, the tried and true are holding in there,” said NBCUniversal chief Jeff Bader in 2018. At the time four franchise shows had been running for a decade or longer, by next year, that number will have doubled to eight.

However, with both the industry and consumers finding contentment in franchise shows, it has become increasingly hard for original ideas to make their way to television. It is often through other means, such as an established relationship, that unique shows come to air rather than the ability for the novel idea to stand on its own.

Nonetheless, networks will continue to rely on the formula that is currently working, especially in an age where cable is fighting for its life.

Movieguide® previously reported:

With the phasing out of pilot episodes, networks are now ordering series before the public gets a taste. Here are the new shows expected to join TV this fall.

CBS is expected to add to its already strong lineup with three new dramas. NCIS will see another spinoff with NCIS: ORIGINS exploring Gibbs’ beginning in the agency. MATLOCK is receiving a reboot as Madison Matlock returns to a prestigious law firm. To round it off, the network will dip into the medical field through WATSON, which will pick up one year after the death of Sherlock Holmes.

The network will also add two comedies: a YOUNG SHELDON spinoff featuring Georgie and Maddie and POPPA’s HOUSE, starring Damon Wayans and Damon Wayans Jr. The network also appears to be continuing to search for new shows to add to its lineup.

“My goal is to open one to two more rooms by spring into summer at some point, it depends on if we have the right projects and we feel good about them,” CBS Entertainment President Amy Reisenbach told Deadline earlier this year.

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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.