The Reading World

TV’s changing, with good news for books

Katherine Rushton of has an interesting piece on the impact of the BBC’s increasing focus on dramatizing novels.

The television business worldwide is changing, because the criteria for a “hit” program is no longer necessarily founded on the success of the first 13-weeks of a program’s life, after which the producers see how long they can carry the show. Instead, complete story arcs are being pitched and sold to studios and distributors who will make money from advertising on the networks, fees from downloaded episodes and boxed sets of seasons or the whole show. ABC’s “Lost” and “Life on Mars,” which was an adaption of a BBC minseries, and SciFi’s “Battlestar Galactica” are exemplars of this new kind of programming.

These shows also lend themselves to book adaptations and tie-ins. Rushton suggest that books will be turned into programming more often, and that is true. But programs can also be turned into books, as the “Star Trek” series, X-Files and so forth have spawned large and small publishing franchises.

The era of the story arc in television will be a boon to publishing.