New fall TV season? How about summer?

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“They’re jaded,” he said. “They feel like they’ve seen everything before. To put something before them that feels in any way fresh is incredibly difficult.”

The good thing for viewers is that the competition forces more quality material to be made. “Mediocrity sinks like a stone in this marketplace,” Landgraf said.

To FX’s relief, the network’s new comedy “Wilfred” has gotten off to a strong start.

There are other factors that limit where programmers can schedule new programming in the summer beyond the glut of competition. The NBA Finals in June are to be avoided. With good weather, people are often outside and not settled down in front of the TV before 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are usually passed by because many young viewers have other social plans.

Spike, whose only new series “Bar Rescue” debuts in two weeks, generally avoids the summer because many of the young men it tries to reach are doing other things besides watching TV.

The SyFy network is aggressively marketing a big premiere week for its scripted shows “Alphas” and “Legend Quest” during the second week of July. But its strategy may be different in the future, said Dave Howe, network president.

“You would never really launch a new season or a new show at any other time aside from the summer or January,” he said. “It’s unbelievably competitive now during the summer. Most networks, including us, are thinking we might be better off launching some other time of the year.”

To make it tougher, broadcast networks also seem a little more active this season than in the recent past; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice” have been popular in the early summer.

DVRs and the growing use of video on demand is one silver lining for the networks, particularly Howe’s SyFy. Increasingly he’s looking at how many people watch his shows through these formats and less at ratings for the night a first episode aired, and ad campaigns are focused more on awareness of the show than when it’s on the schedule.

“There really are no soft slots,” he said. “You have to go for it.”


HBO is a unit of Time Warner Inc.; USA, SyFy and NBC are controlled by Comcast Corp; ABC is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; Fox and FX are owned by News Corp.; AMC is a subsidiary of AMC Networks Inc.; TLC is owned by Discovery Communications Inc.; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.


EDITOR’S NOTE _ David Bauder can be reached at dbauder(at)

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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