[AUTHOR’S WARNING: This post can provoke insult to certain fans of the following programs. Read at your own risk.]
THE PANDEMIC-INDUCED “eternal” lockdown makes us stir-crazy and misses the things we enjoy.
Even if you are Team Bahay (home person) pre-COVID, you would miss watching your favorite TV shows as its production (save the news) were suspended until further notice (but gradually regaining).
Hence, the spiraling effects that programs offered at the moment are significantly different than normally scheduled with some of the scheduled shows delayed by a few months to a few years or scrapped altogether.
Speaking of lockdown, I spent few months titillate and wrestle at the same time a long topic before the eternal lockdown happened: reality television. Personally speaking, I’m not into that genre as for the past decade, they put game shows to irrelevance since typical Filipino viewers are prone to emotions than to the intellect. (Well, that “dead” genre is reviving, thanks to TV5’s radical programming strategy this month in the post-ABS era of Philippine television.)
Since the start of the year, I tinkered upon the Google Docs spreadsheet of different reality TV franchises that happened into our shores and it manifested upon me that isolation-based reality shows (e.g. Survivor and Big Brother) will last longer than others internationally.
Paano mo nasabi? (How would you say that?)
The Data-Driven Plan
Scope, Limitation and Treatment of Data
I decided to delve into five (5) international reality TV program franchises that currently airs or had a Philippine version:
- The Amazing Race (adventure, since 2001, PH version began in 2012 but ended in 2014),
- Big Brother (isolation, since 1999, PH version began in 2005),
- Idol (talent, since 2001, PH version began in 2006),
- Survivor (isolation, since 1997, PH version began in 2009 but ended in 2012), and
- The Voice (talent, since 2010, PH version began in 2013).
From them, we will get how many geographical franchises (y-axis) were broadcast in every calendar year of each franchise’s existence until 2019 (x-axis). It doesn’t matter if there are two seasons of the show in one calendar year and/or it has a spin-off; they are counted as one.
For the spreadsheet-loving nerds, click here for the Google Sheets of all five program franchises. (Sorry, it’s still in progress because I’m too busy.)
Finding the fitting model and when to stop
Since we will determine when these program franchises peak and flatten, the regression model to be used will be the bell curve model. It’s just like the epidemic curve for the goal of flattening from overloading the maximum healthcare capacity.
The specific bell curve formula will come from the first derivative of the basic sigmoid function:
When to Istahp? (The Cut-off Point)
Determining the effective end of an international program franchise is very subjective but an important matter. The best answer I could give logically is when the curve flattens as the predicted y (the number of geographical franchises ran in a particular calendar year) reaches 1.
The solid blue vertical line is the current year while the dashed blue horizontal line is the cut-off point.
Jotting down the data using Desmos graphing calculator, all five program franchises are past the calculated peak and thus, on the downward trend.
However, among the five, Survivor and Big Brother would last longer until the late 2030s; the two talent competitions (The Voice and Idol) will live up until within the turn of the next decade but The Amazing Race will be effective until two years.
In 2001, TAR and Idol began their journey in the United States and in the United Kingdom, respectively. The big, salient difference is TAR was too slow to go international; Idol boosted and reach its peak two years later.
The adventure show premiered on CBS on September 5, 2001 (six days before 9/11 struck) and in several instances, some of the featured places throughout its nearly two-decade run became the focal point of disasters and tragedies after that particular episode premieres (I read that from TV Tropes wherein the show is a “doom magnet”).
Their first international franchise did not take off until 2006 on AXN Asia; it didn’t reach its peak until 2012 with nine international iterations (which is the lowest of all-time among the five).
With this ongoing pandemic, this would add more insult to injury since the global aviation industry is struggling (which is a necessary component) to adapt to the new normal procedures. Psychologically speaking, potential contestants are scared to fly out.
The quantity of international franchises doesn’t always mean it’s of good quality. Other than TV ratings, there are factors that make or break the fate of a program franchise like financial sustainability (within the franchise holding network’s accounting and budgeting departments), audience criticisms (ranging from the well-reasoned and seasoned TV critics to one-sided pressure groups) and other external factors (no need to explain which one).
To the die-hard fan of The Amazing Race and admitted yourself to be delusional having the third season to happen here. Well, you are definitely right.
However, this QuOP doesn’t end here yet as there will be a follow-up on September 6 about the future of franchised programs now that the dominant, acquiring network is forced to be called — by those who wished for it — as a “has-been.”