No, Pilot season is not dead – yet.
But the Networks don’t know what to do about it. Recently they’ve started to notice that there is a slight drop in ratings *understatement* for their shows.
And they’ve discovered that other people are creating (TV) shows as well. Just like secret intelligence agencies like the GRU or the NSA these competitors have given themselves cryptic names no one has ever heard of, like HBO or AMC.
And these people just don’t care about Pilot season or even a “full season” show! They just produce 10 to 14 episodes per season and air them at any point in the year they deem fit!!
Some of these companies are even foreign (like the obscure BBC) and even dare to air their shows during the Christmas/New Year’s break! And then they make only three episodes per season and let their viewers wait for two years to get more!!
So, the Networks being forced into this battle they did not see coming in the past few years have decided to employ the enemy’s tactics – except they forgot to tell their viewers about it.
Network viewers are accustomed to get new shows in the fall (late September through mid-October). That’s when they are on the lookout for new and exciting material they could get addicted to. No one expects a new show to arrive on February 17th and no one’s going to watch it.
Especially when it’s not even particularly advertised but just thrown in there into the mix.
You can’t expect viewers to show up and give you good ratings when you don’t tell them LOUDLY that they should be AWARE you’ve broken the rules that have been established for decades.
Networks either have a long way to go until they catch up with the cable channels or the web producers like Netflix or Amazon – or they will ultimately lose the series-loving crowd completely and have to fill their program with even more scripted reality.
I’ve posted this video before, but I really think everyone invested in (TV) shows (emotionally or financially) should watch it:
Here’s the transcript if you’d rather read it.