Serials like The Flash, Arrow, and Agents of SHIELD are now in a mid season break.

  1. What does it mean?
  2. Why do they take break in series like this?

1 Answer 1


Throughout the television season, shows frequently take breaks, It’s particularly common in the winter months around the holidays for shows to take an extended break, leaving reruns in their place. This is called hiatus.

According to wikipedia,

In American English the term hiatus may be used to refer to a break of several weeks or months in the normal broadcast programming of a television series in the United States. Such a break can occur part-way through the season of a series, in which case it is called a mid-season break, or between distinct television seasons (usually starting in June and ending in September, when shooting starts for the next season). On the Northern Hemisphere, the breaks between late-November and early-February are also referred to as winter breaks or, in the Christian cultural-sphere, Christmas breaks.

It could be for multiple reasons. Quoting ScreenerTV

he most simple answer is: math. There are about 22 episodes in a typical primetime season on the five major networks. There are 52 weeks in a year. Additionally, it takes more than one week to shoot an episode — your average episode of, say, “The Vampire Diaries” or “Revenge” takes 8 days to shoot, and that’s not counting writing, prep, and post-production. If there were no hiatuses, your season would begin in late September and end at the end of January, and then you’d have to wait 8 months to discover how that cliffhanger turns out.

As with most things in the television industry, what it really comes down to is money. With the exception of premium cable networks, most networks make money off of their television shows by selling advertising. The advertising companies use ratings to decide how much a 30-second commercial is worth during a certain show, based on how many eyes will actually see that commercial.

Though ratings information is collected every week, Nielsen is more thorough in their ratings investigation during “sweeps” periods, which fall roughly in November, February, May, and July. During these four-week periods, Nielsen asks several panels of homes to keep a detailed paper diary of the television they watch, live and via DVR. They analyze what certain demographics are tuned into.

Generally, it’s in the networks’ best interests to make sure their best, most attention-grabbing episodes air during sweeps, because then more Nielsen families will watch, then the networks can sell commercials for more money. That’s why you’ll most often see big-name guest stars or shocking twists during these periods. Shows often go on hiatus right before these breaks so that the networks can save their best episodes for sweeps weeks. Shows return from hiatus with a big promotional push and lots of press right as the advertising companies start paying attention.

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