Fall finales are the latest development with the networks. For years, certain TV shows would end their season in late spring with a finale that often left viewers on the edge of their seats. Apart from that, there would be breaks during the regular season without new shows, with those breaks typically revolved around the holidays, the Olympics and other major sporting events.
In the past couple of years, major networks are making a more intentional break in their programming. Fall finales occur mid to late November and favorite shows are on hiatus for up to 3 months, a break almost as long as the summer hiatus of regular programming. This eliminates or minimizes other interruptions in programming throughout the year, so that you get two solid blocks of uninterrupted new shows.
Upcoming Fall Finales
This week three ABC dramas will have their fall finales: Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, and Scandal. They will not be back until the week of February 11th. To make things more interesting, How To Get Away With Murder will actually have its season finale a little more than a month later on March 17. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nashville are also slated for fall finales.
NBC’s The Blacklist will also have its fall finale this week. Brand new hit The Blindspot will have its fall finale on Monday the 23rd. Castle will also have its fall finale the same night, and return at the beginning of February. However, not all shows will get the same type of break. This seems to be a trend that is limited to dramas. Comedies like The Muppets and Fresh Off the Boat are only taking January as their hiatus.
What Happens During the Break?
During that break while fans are waiting anxiously for their favorite shows to come back, the networks are busy trying to get us interested in some of their newer offerings. In fact January will see two new reality shows My Diet is Better Than Yours and Beyond The Tank (a spinoff of Shark Tank) in the time slows vacated by our Thursday favorites. Other fillers for your regular programming are holiday specials and some limited series.
This winter hiatus has been introduced gradually but has been catching on, as all ABC dramas are following the model this season, as are multiple dramas on other networks. While many fans are annoyed at the long disruption in their regular TV viewing, others are embracing the idea because it means that there are fewer sporadic repeats and breaks throughout the season. Continuous blocks of original episodes are definitely the upside to this new scheduling strategy.
Fall finales, regardless of how you feel about them, are definitely a growing trend. Embrace the advantages and learn to appreciate this new schedule which is bound to stay around for years to come.