Writer’s Edge: Cable TV Writing – Bigger Opportunities For Writers

There’s an exploding market that has arisen on the scene within the last few years that had never been there in the past. This has opened up doors for writers that have never existed before. It is the phenomenal growth of original series on virtually every cable television network on the air.

sopranos460This emerging trend owes its roots to the immense frustration that writers and producers have had with trying to make feature films in Hollywood. With the studios making fewer films and the trend to more sequels, remakes, and blockbusters, producers turned to television’s smaller screen.

A plan was hatched to make “mini-movies” for TV with bigger budgets and higher production values. To win over more demanding viewers, the decision was made to have these new series deal with adult-oriented themes covering controversial subject matter that included frank language and sexual content.

The show that initiated this trend was HBO’s The Sopranos. This insiders view of a New Jersey mob family won instant praise for its stellar cast as well as its powerful writing and directing.

It’s immense success ushered in shows with such diverse subject matter as Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Homeland. This path has even made its way to original situation comedies like Hot in Cleveland and Kirstie.

This movement means a tremendous increase in the need for writers in the medium of television. And being on cable means these shows are not subject to the whims of the big three networks who demand instant ratings success or face immediate cancellation. That’s why so many of these cable series have had legs that have lasted years and years.

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