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The TV Showrunner's Roadmap by Neil Landau

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7Fuel your Story Engine

Why are most new shows cancelled after a few episodes and others become cultural phenomena? No one knows how to catch lightning in a bottle or else every series would be a hit right out of the gate. The best prognosticating tool we have is to examine series which have endured for the long haul to seek out their commonalities as indicators of success.

In the TV business, when a new series has the touchstones of a long-running show, we say that it “has legs.” If you’re getting a mental picture of Forrest Gump running a long-distance marathon, then you’ve got the right idea. TV is a longevity business. Any new series isn’t about a quick sprint. The show has to endure and outrun the competition—or it’s going to get sidelined, ...

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