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BBC America is changing British TV series

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Garth Ancier, the new head of BBC America, says he is talking to British TV producers about making more episodes for each season of their hit shows.

jekyllFor example, on Saturday, August 4 and 8 p.m. ET, when BBC America premieres Jekyll, an updated version of Jekyll and Hyde, featuring Michelle Ryan (the new Bionic Woman with her real accent), it will be showing the first two of only six episodes. Watch one night and the series is already 1/3 over.

The typical British “series” – their term for season – is between 6 and 11 episodes for each year with the entire successful show ending its run after 12 to 16 episodes. On the other hand, in the U.S., a typical show is between 18 and 22 episodes each season with successful hour-long shows having more than 50 episodes before the series ends for good.

So, Mr. Ancier is offering cold, hard U.S. cash as in incentive for British TV producers to make more episodes per run, to better appeal to American audiences, who tend to view their TV watching as a 6- to 9-month commitment.

BBC America says if British TV producers want to better tap into the American audience and American advertising dollars, they better pony up more episodes – staring with BBC America. Ancier says he is in discussions with production houses in the UK as to how to increase episode count for future series.

David Speakman

David Speakman has spent more than two decades as a writer/editor, photographer, graphic designer and manager of creative teams in broadcast, print and the Internet. His education is in journalism, graphic design, organizational communication and law.
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