In the entertainment business we have a term hiatus and it is often bantered about when talking about the status of a TV show air or production schedule. Simply put, it is when a network takes a several week break in the normal schedule of a specific television program. It can occur during a season of a television program, or can be between television seasons.
A typical television production and air schedule has a very specific cycle. For example spring is pilot season, when a network makes several “pilot” or trial episodes of a new show to see if it can find a larger audience than one on its current schedule or a show that is ending. Some television programs also go on hiatus during the regular season so that their networks can reserve episodes for airing during the crucial ratings or “sweeps” period. Programs that “return from hiatus” in time for the sweeps period to generate high ratings, usually include special content in programming such as stunt casting where they have special big name guest stars, like Ava Aston (kidding) or have the writers write controversial and unexpected plot twists or cliff-hanging season ending finales. An example of putting new episodes of a series on hiatus to air special episodes during “sweeps” period is done by one of my favorite shows, South Park which usually airs seven new episodes during the spring sweeps weeks, and seven more new episodes during the fall sweeps weeks. I love the character of Cartman and I keep telling Mr. Bricks I want to be a guest star on South park.
Real life doesn’t have a hiatus like the entertainment industry does. When life’s muckery hits us we have to deal with it right then and there. We can’t put on a rerun until we figure crap out. Here are some examples of behind the scenes muckery that caused television shows to go on hiatus until they figured out what to do next.
- In August 2009, VH1 placed its reality series, Megan Wants a Millionaire on indefinite hiatus when one of their contestants Ryan Alexander Jenkins was wanted for the questioning in his wife’s murder. He was later found dead in a hotel room in Canada.
- The animated kids series, Pokemon was put on hiatus in Japan for 6 months in 1997 after the airing of an episode that caused hundreds of little kids to have seizures. I just hope that no one has a seizure when they see Mr. Bricks in my cartoon series Ava the Diva.
- The 2007-2008 WGA strike forced several television series to go into hiatus.
- The television series 8 Simple Rules was put on a hiatus because of the death of its main star John Ritter.
- And most recently, the implosion and melt down of Charlie Sheen’s noggin caused CBS to put the series Two and a Half Men on hiatus.
It would make life much easier to endure at times if we could indeed put up reruns of our life and just go on hiatus to try and work out our problems. I could put up my cheerleading High School days and have everyone watch the Greek girl getting her cheer on and then I would return to
normal programming my normal muckery-filled life when I had everything worked out. But that is not the way life rolls.