When does a new season of late night TV start?
September 29, 2018 8:12 PM   Subscribe

I record Seth Myers on my DVR, and among all the shows last week, Monday shows up as S5/E150-something, but Tuesday shows up as S6E1. Why would a new “season” of The Late Show start on a seemingly random Tuesday?
posted by mccxxiii to Media & Arts (3 answers total)
If you go through the season lists here, it seems like they all (exception for season 1) start around the same date in September, so it looks like a "season" is one whole year of the show running from Sept-Sept
posted by ELind at 8:18 PM on September 29, 2018

Those season lists also show that the episode for Monday, September 24 should have been S6 E1. Perhaps there's something wrong with the directory information in your DVR?

As far as why it's in September, that's because September has traditionally been when the fall TV season started, after the lull in summer programming. Of course, this has been slowly changing over the past 5–10 years.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:31 AM on September 30, 2018

To add on to what Johnny says, TV still pretty much follows what radio did before it. The radio season (as far back as the 1920s) was in part based on workplace notions of when vacations would be taken prior to the air conditioning era. In short, just as with schools, you vacationed when it was hot and came back to work when it wasn't unbearable in the office. It's also related to the old contract/sponsor system, in which a season matched the duration of a sponsor contract, usually less than a full year. Even the summer replacement and short new launches that we see in the off-season now are similar to what radio used to do in its heyday of the 1920s-40s: a lot of new radio content was tried in the summer months, and, if it could get a draw, might go on to become permanent — sometimes replacing the very show whose slot it was holding. How Stuff Works has more about it.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:46 PM on September 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

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