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Petition Created To Stop Putting 'Scandal' On Repeated Hiatus (Applause Or Fail?)

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
April 16, 2013 7:50 PM
34 Comments
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Alright Scandalistas, I know just how rabid you all can be (we've felt your wrath a few times on this blog), but, come on now - even you guys aren't going to give this petition a thumbs up are you?

The story, in short, goes... a fan of the series has created a petition at Change.org (they just let anyone create petitions about anything, huh? The democratic process at work I suppose) - a petition that she states is to let ABC programming execs know that you're not cool with all the recent breaks between shows; for example, currently, the show is on a 3-week hiatus, meaning reruns will be shown during its time-slot, until it returns to new episodes on April 25.

Apparently that's just too long for some of you - at least for T.R. Mason (who created the petition) and the 286 people (and growing) who have signed it thus far. 

But really, is it THAT serious?

Here are Mason's words:

There are very few TV shows on prime time television written by, much less starring people of color. The broadcast networks have made great strides in recent years by diversifying the faces we see on prime time TV however there is more that can be done. Putting a show like Scandal on repeated hiatus is a surefire way to lose fans and viewers. Gladiators/Scandalistas/Scandalists everywhere have not gotten over our initial shock that there will be no Scandal AGAIN for 3 more weeks. Instead of whining and complaining, we are doing something about it! Shonda Rhimes is NOT the reason there's another hiatus. It's the TV execs at Disney/ABC Television Group. Let your voices and displeasure be heard by contacting Anne Sweeney, the President of ABC Entertainment [...] Or send her a nice little profanity free email at netaudr@abc.com. Let her know how unhappy we all are and maybe, just maybe they'll pick up enough episodes that we Gladiators won't have to be on hiatus AGAIN against our will. So bombard ABC with your unhappiness by emailing, calling, faxing etc. Mount up Gladiators! Mount up!

No word on how many emails, phone calls and faxes Anne Sweeney and ABC have received thus far, or whether they're having the desired effect.

As for Shondra Rhimes, she's already addressed the hiatus issue stating, on Twitter:

I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHEN SHOWS AIR. I do not have anything to do with the fact that we are not on for 3 weeks. 

What some may not realize is that, during any TV season, breaks between episodes of shows are common. This isn't something that's specific to Scandal. I also doubt that it has anything to do with the color of the skin of the creator of the show, or its star.

It all comes down to math and money. 

TV industry news & views writer Carina MacKenzie breaks it down - first on the math part:

There are about 22 episodes in a typical primetime season on the five major networks. There are 52 weeks in a year. Additionally, it takes more than one week to shoot an episode -- your average episode of, say, "The Vampire Diaries" or "Revenge" takes 8 days to shoot, and that's not counting writing, prep, and post-production. If there were no hiatuses, your season would begin in late September and end at the end of January, and then you'd have to wait 8 months to discover how that cliffhanger turns out.

And on the money part, Carina adds:

As with most things in the television industry, what it really comes down to is money. With the exception of premium cable networks, most networks make money off of their television shows by selling advertising. The advertising companies use ratings to decide how much a 30-second commercial is worth during a certain show, based on how many eyes will actually see that commercial. Though ratings information is collected every week, Nielsen is more thorough in their ratings investigation during "sweeps" periods, which fall roughly in November, February, May, and July. During these four-week periods, Nielsen asks several panels of homes to keep a detailed paper diary of the television they watch, live and via DVR. They analyze what certain demographics are tuned into. Generally, it's in the networks' best interests to make sure their best, most attention-grabbing episodes air during sweeps, because then more Nielsen families will watch, then the networks can sell commercials for more money. That's why you'll most often see big-name guest stars or shocking twists during these periods. Shows often go on hiatus right before these breaks so that the networks can save their best episodes for sweeps weeks. Shows return from hiatus with a big promotional push and lots of press right as the advertising companies start paying attention.

When all else fails, look to the desire for profit. 

But maybe Ms Mason has a point about the show losing some of its audience during these extended breaks. Although I doubt it. As I started this post saying, Scandal fans absolutely LOVE the show, and it'll take more than a 3-week hiatus to turn them away and watch something else during that 10pm hour, every Thursday. I'm certain that some are even tuning in to watch the reruns, and are content with doing that, anxiously awaiting a return to new episodes.

After all, we're not talking about a 3 month-long hiatus.

What do you say? Are you in the camp who'll be firing off emails to ABC after reading this, with your complaints, or do you think this peition is entirely unnecessary?

Math and money - remember that. 

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34 Comments

  • Hpnotic | April 22, 2013 11:42 PMReply

    To each their own. Just because it's something you wouldn't do, doesn't mean that it makes it wrong. Quit judging people & their actions based on your beliefs. I'm sure there are things that each of you support that others would take issue with as well. Kudos to the petition starter. Do your thing Gladiator! And over 1,900 people have signed it so apparently the petition starter wasn't the only Gladiator ticked off! LOL

  • mycomment | April 19, 2013 6:51 PMReply

    Epic fail. Television shows Revenge, Once Upon a Time, Nashville (all ABC) and many series on other networks have had the same number of hiatuses as Scandal. Some have had even longer breaks. Some fans also need a lesson in labor laws--the cast and crew can't work 24-7. They already work double-digit hours on set. The petition marks ignorance. It's also an ungrateful and immature move...the cast and crew work like the dickens to create the show. Playing the race card where the hiatus is offensive and ridiculous.

  • jen | April 18, 2013 10:05 PMReply

    It is not the "normal" hiatus that I as a viewer have a problem with. The problem I have is shows like Scandal & Person of Interest are consistently put off a week here or a week or two there during the season one episode at a time! Scandal for instance has taken maybe 3 since season started. I realize networks have begun to break some series up into fall/spring premieres (walking dead does this with a 3 month hiatus) If there was some sort of logic to the breaks in new episodes of Scandal, I dont think viewers would be upset. No new episode for two weeks, then air ONE all new episode only to break for 3 more weeks. What logic is behind that? As long as there has been TV there have been breaks between shows...This is not that kind of break. This is the way ABC has CHOSEN to set programming for this particular show. It is no accident...Revenge was handled somewhat the same way and viewers began turning away just as they will with Scandal...

  • Rose | April 19, 2013 3:39 PM

    You are ABSOLUTELY right Jen! This week, my dad and I have had NONE of our regular shows to watch. We find ourselves looking for something on Netflix, watching a movie, or tuning into a new show. If this continues, it's very possible that we might miss that "1" episode they show before going on a 3 week hiatus again. If that happens, all bets are off. We probably won't watch the show again, simply because it's hard to follow a quick moving series when you've missed an episode. Another thing they don't take into account is that detail oriented shows such as "Scandal" and "Revenge" have a "flow." There is always a connection to the previous aired episode. If we can't remember clearly what happened last episode, we're less likely to watch the new episode. I would prefer the fall/spring series. Sure, when it's off, I miss the show. However, I make sure to keep up with the next season's premiere. With that, I don't miss an episode and I'm actively engaged in the story line. I say all of this with "Drop Dead Diva" and "For Better Or Worse" in mind. Currently these shows are not airing, but I am aware of the status of each. I will be tuning in to watch them when they are back. With "Revenge," "Scandal," and "Person of Interest," I'm nearly ALWAYS confused when a new episode is supposed to air.

  • Mel | April 18, 2013 9:03 PMReply

    I am not going to sign the petition ! I completely understand why the breaks are needed now that it has been broken down.

  • Jye | April 18, 2013 1:08 PMReply

    I'm gonna sign the petition b/c this is not the first hiatus this show has been on since January, and I think signing the petition will let ABC know that fans are concerned and really do love the show. That being said, Olivia Pope doesn't only date white men; true fans of the show know that she dated a black senator right b4 the POTUS was shot, she broke it off b/c she realized that her heart belonged to the white guy. People, can u really tell your heart not to love who u love, no matter what color they are. Yes, I'm gonna sign the petition now if 4 no other reason than 2 let ABC know we realize what they're doing to our show.
    p.s. it Gladiators not Scandalistas...I hate that term.

  • CareyCarey | April 18, 2013 11:17 AMReply

    "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, my oh my oh my what a wonderful day, plenty of sunshine heading my way, zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay"

    **A stranger approaches the happy-go-lucky black man**

    STRANGER: Excuse me sir, but why are you so happy?

    SMILING HAPPY BLACK MAN: I's born dat way... always been a gay kinda fellow. Today I be laughin' at my fello Scandals fans.

    STRANGER: Oh, you mean that television show, huh?

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Yep, that be the one. er'body all beside demselves cuz somebody done forgot to pay the bill, so dey took the show off for the time being.

    STRANGE: I see, so all the Scandalistas are a little upset, huh?

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: I don't know nuthin' bout no scandalistas. But wait, wat you say yo name was?

    STRANGER: Sergio... my name is Sergio Mims, sir.

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Look here Sarge...

    STRANGER: It's Sergio, not Sarge.

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Okay Mr. M&M...

    STRANGER: It's Mims, not M&M

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Okay, whatever Sarge, but let me tell you sumthin', it's not just the Torielles, Shequelles and Dorothy Nells who watch the show... don't-you-tell... cuz I go by the liesbary on Thursday night when dey open late... to catch erray show.

    SERGIO: Please excuse me, I didn't mean any harm, bt I heard other black folks using that word, so I just thought... you know...

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: I don't know nuthin', i's just knows it's not a black womens thang... me and my crew do the do.

    SERGIO: Your crew?

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Yeah, don't tell nobody, but we call ourselves the ScandalistasBentwristas.

    SERGIO: aaahhhh, I don't know what to say, but are you saying you're gay?

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Well, I don't wear my drawls on backwards for nuthin'! Do I look like a damn fool to you?

    SERGIO: Again I am speechless. Did you say you wear your underwear... backwards?

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: well, the real truth is, since my money been a little tight, I purfurr going bare balls, no drawls, cuz it saves on the washin' bill. But let me put it to ya like dis... ervery man God made to stand up and pee, don't always stand up to pee.

    SERGIO: Hmmmmm... I think I see the picture. So... it's not just black women who watch Scandal?

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Now ya talkin'. But, can I ask you a personal question?

    SERGIO: Hmmmm... that sounds like a loaded question... so I have to tell you I am from the south side of Chicago and I will cut yo ass if you even think about playing with my lucky charms. but go ahead, ask your question.

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Now you got me all scared... but I was just going to ask you if you ever watch scandal?

    SERGIO: " That's better because I thought you were going to ask me if I like women."

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: "Well, since you mentioned it, do you?"

    SERGIO: "From 8 to 80, blind, crippled and crazy, I loves me some black women and I have watched Scandal, but I am not a die hard fan"

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Okay, at least we have something in common. Drop by the liebrary own thursday and we can watch it together.

    SERGIO: I thought you said the show was long gone?

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: m&m... to be such an educated looking black man, you sho is a dumb fella. I said the black woman Shondra put the show on rerun. In other words, it's own hightellin'it... or whatever they call it.

    SERGIO: You must mean "hiatus". And, it's SHONDA, with no "R." Not the first time I 've seen black folks jack that up. But anyway, I don't think we'll be watching Scandal together.

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Excuse me! You must didn't see Django because the 'R' is silent... so there, shoo fly don't bother me, Mr. bougie. But wait, don't tell me you're one of dem folks? You know, callin' my girl Kerry Washington all them nasty names? You know... "B" this and hoe that... don't tell me you're one of dem?

    SERGIO: No, although I don't particularly like cream in my coffee, I am not one of them. But I just don't think we'll be watching Scandal together.

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: Okay then, I guess I'll see you later alligator.

    SERGIO: Yeah, right... after while crocodile. But wait, I didn't get your name?

    HAPPY BLACK MAN: My momma calls me Darnell, but some folks call me CareyCarey.

  • Dorrett | April 18, 2013 10:25 AMReply

    I am very anxious and depressed of a 3 wks hiatus. but I try to fill in with "Olitz" muz. videos and reruns. However, If I have to wait for 3-6 months..then they have to come get me from the D Ward..(Psych)..4 six months...that is a lot of NYC funds going down da drain. This could all be achieved by just keep Scandal presently on the air..Work something out.. Maybe a 3 wks hiatus once a year...I can live with that...

  • Danny | April 17, 2013 4:17 PMReply

    Women like Scandal because Kerry Washington's character Olivia Pope is the lead which I understand. There is a yearning and a need some black women have to seeing another black lady who is feminine and attractive in a lead role.

    However, Olivia Pope is the white man's whore he gets to screw her on the side and go back to Mellie his wife. Some black women are so desperate, they think it is progress for a black female character to be the mistress of a white man. These black ladies make all kinds of excuses but the truth is they feel their value and currency is more validated because Olivia Pope sleeps with white guys. If Olivia Pope had an affair with the president and he was a black man I doubt these black bitches would be thrilled about it.

  • Welp | April 18, 2013 2:44 AM

    The next time someone tried to call black women butter, just remember how butthurt these bitchassed black men get over Scandal. Oowee, seeing this type of interracial relationship just crushes them!

  • TAZ | April 18, 2013 1:27 AM

    I trying to figure out what my white female co-workers will say to such as stupid azz comment. As a true 'black lady', I changed what I was going to say, twice - and will just say that I am so sorry that in real life, white women prefer men like Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, Shemar Moore, and the list goes on and on and on.......over men like George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum and Scandal's Tony Goldwyn. Since I am sure you are as appealing as any of these gentlemen in looks or speech......

    enough said.

  • ALM | April 17, 2013 10:23 PM

    Wow. The "w" word and the "b" word. Anyone want to guess how long Danny has been single?

    By the way, there are straight Black men who also watch "Scandal". I see that you don't have any derogatory words for them, though. If you knew how to talk to a woman, maybe you would secure a woman.

  • BluTopaz | April 17, 2013 8:23 PM

    awwwwww, another thug needs a hug because their puta of a mother abandoned them at the crack house.

  • Check | April 17, 2013 7:40 PM

    @Danny: you should feel like a man (NOT) with that simple, stupid comment.
    It's a storyline.....move on.

  • Alex | April 17, 2013 3:37 PMReply

    "Alright Scandalistas, I know just how rabid you all can be (we've felt your wrath a few times on this blog)"

    Well then learn to write constructively and unbiasedly and maybe we'll be nicer.

  • ChgoSista | April 17, 2013 1:36 PMReply

    I'm only a 'real' fan of the show because of the Twitterverse. The tweets and commentary are hilarious. Actually, it's the ONLY WAY I CAN watch the show--it moves too quickly for me. I can't keep up all like that.

  • Rei | April 17, 2013 1:12 PMReply

    It's Gladiators not "Scandalistas." The later implies that Scandal fans are only female.

  • Lynn515 | April 17, 2013 12:19 PMReply

    I don't remember any shows in the past that has gone on hiatus as much as this show. It seems like we get spoon fed a couple of espisodes then go on a month break come back for a couple more then go on a 3 week break. It's enough to make me lose interest. Especially when you're able to watch your other favorite shows except for breaks such as holidays / or end of the season.

  • Off De Toppuh Me Head | April 17, 2013 1:47 PM

    Vampire Diaries, Grey's Anatomy, The Mindy Project, Raising Hope, Modern Family, Revenge, & Once Upon A Time, Hawaii 5-0, Nashville, and Glee have all been coming in weird, unpredictable spurts. You only notice Scandal cuz that's the one you want. This entire controversy is bullshit.

  • ALM | April 17, 2013 1:22 AMReply

    I watch the show, but I don't plan on signing the petition. It's not that serious.

  • Tamara | April 17, 2013 10:22 AM

    Agreed.

  • gwhiz4 | April 16, 2013 11:52 PMReply

    I'm not a die-hard Scandal fan - I can barely follow the storylines. But...I do think that the whole issue with breaks between episodes has more to do with the fact that ABC ordered an additional 4 episodes for this season, midway through. EW did a cover story on the show a few weeks ago and spelled out the fact that the show was thisclose to getting cancelled last season, but then managed the rare feat of gaining dvr and internet viewers over the summer and becoming a ratings success for Season 2. That's why ABC then ordered 4 additional episodes...except the scheduling is way off and wacky and also, they want to take advantage of those sweeps dollars.

  • Miles Ellison | April 16, 2013 10:51 PMReply

    It would be a better idea to petition ABC to make all the episodes available for streaming all at once, so fans can gorge-watch until their hearts are content. Netflix has the right idea.

  • Rocket | April 17, 2013 12:46 PM

    I hear what you are saying, Tim. But some of us don't need the community experience. I loved "House of Cards." And the format was one of the main reasons it pulled me in. There will come a time in the near future where networks won't have the luxury of stretching out episodes. My wife likes "Scandal" a lot. However she is starting to lose interest due to not knowing when the new episodes are going to air. There are too many things competing for our attention. Sure some love the show and will keep with the scheduling. Others simply like the show and will find something else to fill their time. Those are the people they run the risk of losing.

  • Tim | April 17, 2013 12:40 AM

    Netflix can do that because they get all of the money for their shows upfront. They don't get ad dollars and they are not a network who works on a schedule, they have subscribers. If ABC makes all of the shows upfront, then Sumerr is hiatus. Network crews and cast are on vacation. They shoot the shows through the season (they get a head start) If they do it like Netflix, they will have to shoot all summer, stop in the fall. They ain't doing that. But if they did, they would then drop the whole series on ABC.com. All of the diehard fans would watch it on their own time and MOST would watch the whole season within a week. And they would make MINIMAL dollars off those few ads on the internet, especially since most people have adblock. But they still have to air it weekly. They've already lost half of their audience to online viewing, and that is half the ad revenue from TV advertising gone. And the viewers who don't have the internet, will be pissed because their friends who do saw all of the episodes a month ago and are either spoiling it, or they feel left out. The communal experience of a TV show is gone. With House of Cards on Netflix, those who don't have access won't ever and don't care. It's not a network show, so it is okay. It will get it's viewers. Network shows need that anticipation by the "community" that awaits the premiere of the show.

  • ErmaJay | April 16, 2013 10:41 PMReply

    I think people will lose interest if they continue to show re-runs. I don't watch on the nights they show the re-runs. I'm certainly losing interest. I'm watching all of Downton Abbey now.

  • Tim | April 17, 2013 12:45 AM

    You come back when that show is back on. Especially if it is only 3 weeks. A new episode of your favorite show is premiring and you "lost interest" because it has been 3 weeks since you saw it last? Yeah, i don't think so.

  • Ghost | April 16, 2013 10:13 PMReply

    So we create a petition for this but can't start petitions to make real change or bring a real topic to light? Are women that desperate to see Kerry Washington play black girl mistress to a the white president?

  • Bee | April 17, 2013 4:12 PM

    My thoughts exactly, Ghost.

  • Akimbo | April 17, 2013 2:05 AM

    If every character made good choices all the time there would be no drama and no comedy. Kerry's character is a high-powered Washington fixer...who happens to be in love with the President. To simply label the character as a white man's mistress is just willfully stupid. You don't have to like the show, but there's no need to misrepresent what it is.

  • ALM | April 17, 2013 1:24 AM

    Nope. Women are desperate to see characters of color lead television shows, even if those characters make bad choices.

  • TAZ | April 16, 2013 9:31 PMReply

    Well...there is a bit of missing information.

    You see, this three week break is the second one.....scratch that.... third.... since January. So we had three week break, then it came back on the middle of January......then another end of Feb through end of March.....then another three week break from last week to through April 25th then we get 3 episodes and it is off for the summer.

    To be clear - they are stretching twelve (12) episodes over Five MONTHS using THREE week hiatus intervals.

    I am sure we Scandalista's understand hiatus must occur. But I think it is kinda easy to see what could have set off some people. Especially with how Scandal is set up where each and every episode builds unbelievable tension and suspense.

    They could have spaced it out better is all they are really saying.

  • lfresh | April 16, 2013 8:54 PMReply

    I had a discussion about this last night. It was about Suits actually. A friend didn't realize the season ended. I pointed out Scandal did the same that many shows in fact do the same. Prolonging a season to a ridiculous length now that you no longer know when a season ends or begins. The effect of this for me is I rarely watch shows live anymore. Sometimes i check out an entire season and catch up before the very last episode. Sometimes i wait a few months until after a season ends and another begins because yes frankly i do find it annoying. Netflix's House of Cards was quite refreshing in its stability. Will i be signing a petition? I dont know maybe my lack of timely viewership is more effective.

  • Akimbo | April 16, 2013 8:20 PMReply

    These people need to find actual causes to support. Maybe they'll have something productive to do on repeat nights. Stupid petition; the repeats are not hurting the show. And it's SHONDA, with no 'R.' Not the first time I've seen that misspelling in a post here.

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