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A television show (often simply TV show) is any content produced for broadcast via over-the-air, satellite, cable, or internet and typically viewed on a television set, excluding breaking news, advertisements, or trailers that are typically placed between shows. Television shows are most often scheduled well ahead of time and appear on electronic guides or other TV listings.
A television show might also be called a television program (British English: programme), especially if it lacks a narrative structure. A television series is usually released in episodes that follow a narrative, and are usually divided into seasons (US and Canada) or series (UK) – yearly or semiannual sets of new episodes. A show with a limited number of episodes may be called a miniseries, serial, or limited series. A one-time show may be called a “special”. A television film (“made-for-TV movie” or “television movie”) is a film that is initially broadcast on television rather than released in theaters or direct-to-video.
Television shows can be viewed as they are broadcast in real time (live), be recorded on home video or a digital video recorder for later viewing, or be viewed on demand via a set-top box or streamed over the internet.
In the United States, dramas produced for hour-long time slots typically are 39 to 42 minutes in length (excluding advertisements), while sitcoms produced for 30-minute time slots typically are 18 to 21 minutes long. There are exceptions as subscription-based TV channels (such as HBO, Starz, Cinemax, and Showtime) have episodes with 45 to 48 minutes of program, similar to Britain.
In Britain dramas typically run from 46 to 48 minutes on commercial channels, and 57 to 59 minutes on the BBC. Half-hour programmes are around 22 minutes on commercial channels, and around 28 minutes on the BBC. The longer duration on the BBC is due to the lack of advertising breaks.
In France most television shows (whether dramas, game shows or documentaries) have a duration of 52 minutes. This is the same on nearly all French networks (TF1, France 2, France 5, M6, Canal+, etc.)