The longest running multi-camera sitcom in TV history, “The Big Bang Theory,” announced the 12th season set to air May 2019 will be its last.
With other big hits such as “Supernatural” and “Grey’s Anatomy” being renewed for a 14th and 15th season, respectively, these TV shows are some of the longest-running, scripted TV series currently on the air.
The average broadcast drama costs $3 million per episode to produce, and the studios financing production strive to make more than the funds they invested.
The cast of ”Big Bang Theory” earns about $1 million each per episode.
To finance more seasons, shows must continue to appeal to audience members year after year.
Dr. Natalie Winter, professor of marketing and management, said the success of a show also depends on advertisements for funding.
“From a marketing perspective, it’s about engaging with the viewers, having compelling content and characters that people can relate to or find interesting,” Winter said.
Winter also said it is important to remind people why they like the show.
“It’s all about reminding viewers why they fell in love with the show in the first place and continuing that in their promotions,” Winters said.
Shows that have been on the air as long as “Supernatural” are successful because of the dedicated fanbases.
Ryan Peterson, sophomore electrical and computer engineering major, said “Supernatural” is still making more seasons because fans are so invested.
“It’s a topic that is not really explored,” Peterson said. “It’s original and it’s hard to find anything similar to it on TV. There are so many sub-themes
for fans to explore and make their own content, videos and artwork so that increases the lifespan of the show.”
With networks encouraging successful series to continue, it ultimately depends on the desires of the actors.
Actors, such as Jim Parsons from “The Big Bang Theory,” made the decision to pursue other opportunities.
With the heightened popularity of YouTube and Netflix, TV networks are also trying to find new ways to attract a younger audience.
Lindsey Blake, sophomore civil engineering major, said she likes to watch “Grey’s Anatomy” because of the drama, plot twists and character development in a hospital setting.
“It’s so different from my major, so it’s kind of fun seeing what it would have been like if I had chosen a career in medicine,” Blake said.
If viewership stays up, the ending of a long-term tv show is up to the cast.