Television TV Shows
The content of television programs may be factual, as in documentaries, news, and reality television, or fictional as in comedy and
drama. It may be topical as in the case of news and some made-for-television movies or historical as in the case of such documentaries
or fictional series. It may be primarily instructional as in the case of educational programming, or entertaining as is the case in
situation comedy, reality TV, or game shows, or for income as advertisements.
A drama program usually features a set of actors in a somewhat familiar setting. The program follows their lives and their adventures.
Many shows, especially before the 1980s, maintained a status quo where the main characters and the premise changed little. If some
change happened to the characters lives during the episode, it was usually undone by the end. (Because of this, the episodes could
usually be watched in any order.) Since the 1980s, there are many series that feature progressive change to the plot, the characters,
Common TV program periods include regular broadcasts (like TV news), TV series (usually seasonal and ongoing with a duration of only a
few episodes to many seasons), or TV miniseries which is an extended film, usually with a small pre-determined number of episodes and
a set plot and timeline. Miniseries usually range from about 3 to 10 hours in length, though critics often complain when programs hit
the short end of that range and are still marketed as "minis." In the UK, the term "miniseries" is only usually used in references to
imported programmes, and such short-run series are usually called "serials" there.
Older American television shows began with a title sequence, showed opening credits at the bottom of the screen during the beginning
of the show, and included closing credits at the end of the show. However, beginning in the 1990s some shows began with a "cold open,"
followed by a title sequence and a commercial break. Many serialistic shows begin with a "Previously on..." (such as 24) introduction
before the teaser. And, to save time, some shows omit the title sequence altogether, folding the names normally featured there into
the opening credits. The title sequence has not been completely eliminated, however, as many major television series still use them
While television series appearing on TV networks are usually commissioned by the networks themselves, their producers earn greater
revenue when the program is sold into syndication. With the rise of the DVD home video format, box sets containing entire seasons or
the complete run of a program have become a significant revenue source as well.