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The story of Summer TV shows, or whatever happened to Summer?

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Once upon a time, the networks would air reruns during the Summer. It was a seasonal tradition for people to play outdoors, have neighborhood barbeques, go on vacation and head to the beach. No one wanted to sit inside in front of a TV set while everyone was outside having fun. Watching television was not part of the summertime activities, unless you were a shut-in or just an unsociable ogre.
Well things started to change when a few experimental summer series captured big ratings. The networks were intrigued by the idea that new shows could bring in new viewers during June, July and August. And they could get bigger ad revenues then the reruns would give them.
New viewers and more money, it seemed like a win-win situation for the networks. And almost two decades ago summer programming began in earnest. It may have been inspired by the various cable networks, which were introducing new shows in the “off season,” with great success.
So, with imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, the broadcast networks decided to get into the business of creating a Primetime Summer Schedule.
First a few specials and series were sprinkled in with the reruns. Then the production floodgates opened up and every kind of show imaginable hit the airwaves. Things will never be the same again.
The networks and cable now compete for the same shrinking viewership, offering a variety of new programs for the Summer. And since I just got back from NBC’s annual Summer Press Day, I’ll tell you about a few of the shows they’ll be presenting to keep you indoors this season.
Taking a cue from old variety shows, America’s Got Talent returns June 1 on NBC, with Nick Cannon as host, and Sharon Osbourne, Piers Morgan and Howie Mandel as the judges. The Biggest Loser spin-off Losing It with Jillian also starts June 1, featuring the ultra-tough female trainer Jillian Michaels. Just for laughs, Last Comic Standing returns June 7 for a seventh season with Craig Robinson (from The Office) as the new host.
If you prefer the good old days, you can still find some vintage reruns on Nick at Nite.

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Guest Sunday, 23 November 2014
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