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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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June 02 2016

Lifetime renewed UnREAL for a 10-episode Season 3. Just a few days ahead of its Season 2 premiere on June 6, co-created by Marti Noxon, the show stars Constance Zimmer, and includes B.J. Britt among the new cast members for its sophomore year.

This is great news. I loved the first season and after reading about Season 2, it sounds like a real fun ride.
As much as I enjoy this show, I will never understand how a netweork can renew something before it even aired.
I'm guessing the first season had good enough ratings to give them confidence. Then, what they've seen of the second season makes them feel like the quality will hold up enough to retain those ratings.

Here's the magic thing about television: They don't make money until they get enough episodes to syndicate. If a show goes one season and is cancelled, they lose money. If it goes two seasons and is cancelled, then it loses more money. So there's really no point in having a show that has *almost* enough episodes to syndicate. In for a penny, in for a pound.

This is less true with modern cable channels that run their new shows four times in the week the episode airs, but it still holds up to a certain degree.
This show earns its "female Breaking Bad" reviews.
Jason, that doesn't hold true anymore since shows are basically syndicated in year one to streaming services now. And it is beyond extremely rare that a ad supported cable drama would ever be syndicated anyway. Rules are completely different between cable and broadcast shows.
@IrrationaliTV why would a cable show be less likely to be syndiacated ?
Because they are usually highly serialized and that product doesn't work well for cable networks that buy dramas to repeat at random times on random days. Cable nets want procedurals that reset like Law & Order for syndicated dramas. I can't think of one ad-supported cable drama that has been syndicated. I'm sure someone can come up with the exception that proves the rule.
I believe that shows are still more attractive to the streaming services if they have more seasons.

The reason that Netflix made a new season of "Arrested Development" was that people were watching the hell out of the original three seasons. People obviously loved it and were watching it repeatedly, but watching four seasons repeatedly would be more views than watching three seasons repeatedly.

So yeah, having even just one season to sell to the streaming service gets you money. Having more seasons to sell is even better. It seems like this would make green-lighting a third season less risky.

Again, this is based on having a successful first season and feeling good enough about the second season to expect that to continue.

I'm also guessing that there are some contractual advantages to green lighting a season as early as possible. You can get the availability of the actors tied down, assure the crew that they'll definitely have jobs this time next year, etc.
The contractual stuff, definitely. Better terms now especially if the execs are Very confident in how this season will perform. And there is a chance that more seasons means more favorable terms with a streaming service.

My point is that studios make up their deficit much sooner these days because streaming services take the shows much earlier than any 5-6 year away possible but very rare synd sale. UnReal has a deal with Hulu. If a show is good enough it will be sold in year one. If it isn't it will be canceled before season 2. Streaming services are all making their own content now so more underperforming dramas will meet that fate as the services need less outside content.
Last night's episode was great

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