What Makes A Television Show Fail In Season 2? by Jen Grisanti

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Jen Grisanti: I think that if there were an exact science as to what will hit, then writers would be making it all over the place. I think really, I’m going to tell you from being a studio executive for the number of years that I was and still being a writing instructor at NBC and studying pilots and knowing that Hollywood doesn’t know exactly what’s going to hit, they are throwing it out there and praying that Middle America is going to show up. And I think if you were to survey a bunch of studio executives at the beginning of each season and say what shows do you think are going to be the breakout hits versus what shows are already, it’s hit or miss.


“Hollywood doesn’t know exactly what’s going to hit, they are throwing it out there and praying that Middle America is going to show up.”


Like when you take a show like TRANSPARENT, I’m sure there were so many doubts about that show, would it hit? Yet we take someone like Jill Soloway who did SIX FEET UNDER and you know that she has a track record and you know it’s based on emotional truth and you look at the current climate in the world and everything just happened together. I think that happens a lot. I definitely think there are shows that the first season blows peoples minds and so therefore all the expectation isn’t on the second season and that is a large expectation.


Find out more about Jen Grisanti’s book STORY LINE here

Film Courage: So you’ve seen that a lot where the first season is amazing and for some reason the second season falls short?

Jen Grisanti: Yes!

Film Courage: Is that because the writing becomes stale or it’s not clear?

Jen Grisanti: I believe that is because the series concept wasn’t set up in a strong enough way to understand what season two, three and four will be and I’ve seen shows…say for example LOST. LOST was developed oddly enough at Spelling [Entertainment Group] even though it went to ABC because the writer…Spelling was going to do it with ABC but then the writer Spelling had, the script didn’t come in the way that ABC wanted it so they got Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams who had overall deals there.

Now LOST, to my understanding, did not have a clear sense of what the show was going to be beyond the first season and it worked. And that was okay because the concept was set up in a strong enough way that we cared and we wanted to return and the way it evolved each season was mind-blowing because we were with them. The set-up of the series arc

Find out more about Jen Grisanti’s book CHANGE YOUR STORY, CHANGE YOUR LIFE here

was strong enough even though there wasn’t clarity on what the other seasons were going to be versus other shows where you could feel that they had one really strong season in them and are they going to be able to keep up with that? And I think the mistake that is made that leads to the show not succeeding is that season two goes too far away from the core concept that was set up.


Question for the viewers: What TV show disappointed you the most in Season 2?




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As a Current Programs Executive, I was exposed to the entire creative process, which means I know what the studio wants, what the network looks for and what kind of material you need in order to get hired. I have read over 8,000 scripts and given notes on most of them, so I know how to make a script the best that it can be.

In addition to Aaron Spelling, other great mentors I’ve worked with include, Glenn Gordon Caron, Barry Schindel, E. Duke Vincent, Ira Behr, Ken Sanzel, Mara Brock Akil, John Eisendrath, Jorge Zamacona, Brad Kern, Chuck Pratt and Brenda Hampton.
Over the years, I have developed numerous industry relationships with successful writers, directors and executives who have supported me along the way. You can see some of their testimonials here.

In August of 2008, I was hired by NBC to be the Writing Instructor for their program, Writers on the Verge. This is a 10-week program focused on polishing writers’ material and readying the participants for the staff writer position on a television series. Classes concentrate on creating an exceptional spec script and understanding the dynamics of pitching oneself in the television industry.

Since I launched my company in January of 2008, I have worked with over 500 writers, made up of half TV writers and half feature writers as well as 10 novelists. Twenty of my writers have sold pilots and two have gone to series. I have helped several writers to sign with top agencies including UTA and CAA, I’ve helped over 40 writers get staffed. I also worked with a feature writer on a script that is currently being produced with huge names attached. Additionally, many of writers I am working with have made it into writing programs as well as placed at high levels in writing competitions.

In June of 2009, I was invited to be a blogger on The Huffington Post.

Most of all, I absolutely love what I do. I enjoy working with writers and approach the process with care, experience and passion. It is imperative to me that both the writer and the story are honored as a script develops. In an industry that is generally too busy to give anyone personal attention, I will give it to you. With me, you get your own Personal Executive guiding you every step of the way.




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