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The TV Showrunner's Roadmap by Neil Landau

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13Blueprint your Structure

Television scripts vary in numbers of acts depending upon the type of show—sitcom, one-hour drama, single-camera dramedy, MOWs (“movies of the week” made for television), and so on. Broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX) and basic cable networks (such as AMC, A&E, FX, TNT, and USA) are supported by advertising, with commercial breaks interrupting the drama or comedy. Premium cable networks (HBO, Showtime, and Starz) are subscriber supported and have no commercial breaks.

Up until about ten years ago, virtually all sitcoms were two acts and all one-hour drama series were structured with four acts. In 2013, these basic templates have changed in order to satisfy network programming, advertisers, and viewers’ shorter ...

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