WTF is the Point of a "Clipshow"?

I’m not talking about shows like bloopers shows that air clips from other programs. I’m talking about shows where in the middle of the season, they’ll have the regular cast sitting around “reminiscing” about the good times they had. From what I understand, the cast gets paid for a fullshow, even though they’re only working for a couple of minutes, the rest of the crew presumbably get paid the same as well. So the only benefit I can see is that everybody gets a short work week for a full check, thus you’d think that the networks would be opposed to such things, but as the folks at the Simpsons will testify, they’re forced to make them periodically. So what’s the dealio?

Full stop.

Not to mention time, insofar as animation is concerned, and animators cost as well. Or set design, effort…

It’s a cheap way of making a show - the clips are already in the can; the dialogue needn’t be all that thoroughly rehearsed. Fans will watch it - if the ratings work, that’s all the network cares about.

Except most TV shows are shot on videotape any more, and that’s not nearly expensive as film.

Yeah, them South Korean animators with their $10 million/yr salaries are bastards. As far as set design goes, lots of shows have done entire runs with hardly using more than a handful of sets, so it’s not like that folks need to see the characters in different locations every week or they’ll go nuts. IIRC, the entire run of Barney Miller took place within the dectective room.

Not the kind of shows that have clip shows. Traditional sitcoms and nearly all dramas are shot on film. Game shows, news, “reality” shows, daytime soaps and talk shows are shot on video.

The script writers don’t have to put much effort into doing the show.

IIRC, sitcoms have been primarily shot on videotape since the 80s. Dramas are still shot on film, but I think that is changing with the advent of high quality digital cameras. We’ve got a couple of Dopers who’ve worked in the industry who could say for certain.

AngelicGemma, that’s true, and as I noted in my OP, the actors get paid for a new show (i.e. their full rate) and I’d be surprised if the writers didn’t, but in a case like The Simpsons where everyone associated with the show would like to produce an original episode rather than a clip show, Fox tells 'em they have to do a clip show.

Haven’t any of you people noticed the magazines for sale at supermarket checkstands? The public is more interested in gossip about the lives of the actors than in the characters they play. Stupid and pathetic? Maybe. Fact.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a “short work week.” First off, the actors, writers and everryone else have personal obligations which may require them to be away for a short time (say, 1-2 days). If they know that week X will be a short week, they can schedule their appointments, guest gigs on other shows, etc.

Secondly, (this is far more important) every series has a budget, and it’s not at all unusual for episodes to go over budget. Sooner or later, the idea of paying for 1 hour of crew time and one day of video editor time compared to the normal package is going to look mighty appealing.

Most dramas are shot on Betacam or Digital Beta. Film processing by and large is not a consideration in TV production any more.

I find myself wondering if clip shows are a mandated part of whatever syndication deals the network has built for the show. Maybe they’re introduced to “sweeten” the syndication deal, perhaps being sold at a slightly reduced rate compared to “real” episodes? I’m totally guessing here.

I recall that when Mystery Science Theater 3000 did a “clip show” (actually just recycled some host segments), it was done because most of the writing staff needed to be away on business and they thought a clip show would save them some time. It ended up being just as much work as writing all-new host segments would’ve been.

Well, even discounting the rare “location” shot (including one episode where the characters were on stakeout and some early episodes that had scenes in Barney’s apartment) every episode (or very nearly every) had scenes in Barney’s office.

Yeah, but that was the same set, and it’s not like dramas where they’ll have a new location in every episode, plus lots of externals, etc., etc.

From [rul=]

“When Fox demanded the production of 25 episodes per season, from 1994 to 1996, the arrangement was 24 new shows and 1 clip show.”

Clip shows are always about saving or making money. Note that some shows, when they reach a milestone like 100th episode, will do a clipshow more as a “special” to rake in viewers than to save money.

I think the question we’re trying to get to is, “What is the incentive for a network to order a clip show that still contains original production elements?”. The penultimate Seinfeld clip show was truly a clip show, with no new bumper footage (except that intro Jerry did in the living room, which they probably did in five minutes at the end of the day sometime) and which probably really did save them some cash. When you start talking about Simpsons clip episodes that feature new animation and gags, it becomes a little harder to figure out.

And you know, now that TV shows are showing up on DVD, it becomes even more puzzling. A. You’re paying twice for the same crap. B. That’s just one more episode that somebody’s got to do commentary for (and in the case of The Simpsons I can just imagine that they’re all sitting around going, “We’re sorry. We hate clipshows too, but Fox makes us do them. We’re really sorry.”)

For X-Files fans, the point of a clipshow is, apparently, to end the series w/o having to untangle the morass of bullshit we were fed for 6+ years.


I think the savings in crew costs are not insignificant.

Close. There were some episodes using other sets, such as Barney’s home.

Sitcoms are shot on video. They have been for a long time. You can just look at them and see that it’s video and not film.