Predicting the Success of New Cable Series from their Pilot Episode Scripts: An Empirical Approach

Starling D. Hunter, Yelitza Prada Breen


In this study we develop an empirical model to explain failure rates of new television series. Specifically, we test the ability of three factors to predict the success of new dramatic series appearing on 31 cable networks over the last 10 years. Those factors are the originality of the story, the track record of its creator(s), and the cognitive complexity of its pilot episode script—all of which are known well in advance of a network’s decision to greenlight a new series. As predicted, we find that all three variables—both individually and in combination—strongly predict the success rate of new dramatic series in their first two seasons.

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Business and Management Studies     ISSN 2374-5916 (Print)     ISSN 2374-5924 (Online)

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