I notice this more when watching American shows - but for example, the Canadian show "Continuum" skipped a week after only four episodes in the current season. This is something I have seen frequently and can cite a variety of other examples using the list of shows that I usually watch, namely NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Lost Girl, Dexter, Breaking Bad, etc.
Using NCIS Season 10 as a pertinent example;
- break after episode 3,
- break after episode 5,
- break after episode 10 (this one is presumably for Christmas),
- break after episode 14,
- break after episode 20
I have mentioned Breaking Bad, but I am excluding the long term break in the middle of season five, as that isn't an example of the kind of breaks I am querying. Specifically, my question is in relation to the seemingly sporadic one week breaks that occur in the "current" season being broadcast.
Why do TV shows take frequent breaks during a season?