Over the next three weeks, more than a dozen new shows will plead their case to network-television viewers. Sitcoms, dramas, procedurals, even a show about a man who believes God has friended him on Facebook — all will aim for robust fall ratings, long the cornerstone of a successful TV series.
But a profound shift has begun to seize the television industry: Ratings no longer hold a key to a show’s success.
The traditional criterion for the renewal of a series has been supplemented by other factors, including networks’ ability to sell the shows to overseas and streaming platforms. What had long been regarded as a kind of brutal meritocracy — only the most popular shows, which drive the most ad sales, are allowed to survive — is now deeply influenced by other variables, leading some shows to stay on the air for years on end with very few viewers. READ MORE
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