Television, ultimately, is a business. Its true purpose is not to entertain, enlighten, educate, or elucidate. It exists solely to make money, meaning that the fates of TV shows are decided by bean counters and number crunchers. That translates to dashed dreams, ruined careers, innumerable crimes against art, and countless peptic ulcers, but it’s all just cold-blooded math and statistics. Can those statistics somehow magically be turned back into art? Yes, suggests a gorgeous series of colorful, eye-pleasing infographs called Seasons Of Television compiled by content marketer George Hatzis at his Visu website, which aims to present Hatzis’ considerable knowledge of pop culture “in a visually appealing format for you to enjoy and to learn more about what plays on your screen.” Seasons Of Television certainly accomplishes that goal as it covers the tumultuous last half-decade of TV, a time period that has seen major changes in the ways people consume their favorite shows. As Hatzis puts it:
In the past few years there has been a shift in the way audiences consume television. Channels have recognised there is a progression towards more of a binge-watching approach of focused, shorter seasons of television. Such networks have had to either pivot and acknowledge this growing trend, while others have been fortunate to have already embraced this culture and continued to do so.
According to the information presented here, NBC is a virtual abattoir of televisual entertainment. The Peacock has cancelled 90 percent of its scripted shows in the last five years and has the most “one-season wonders” of any network. Meanwhile, Showtime has only had two such short-lived shows in the same time period, and CBS has the best track record for returning series. Across all channels, dramas have consistently outnumbered comedies, but sitcoms were steadily on the rise from 2010 to 2014, when they started tapering off again. And while cable and streaming have both carved out places for themselves in the television viewing landscape, the networks still command most of the real estate.