Within the context of journalism and broadcasting, evergreen content is content that is not time-sensitive. Evergreen content does not rely on current events; thus, an evergreen story can be prepared, then mothballed until it is needed to fill time on a slower news day or on a holiday when fewer journalists are on duty. The term is derived from the evergreen trees.
An evergreen news magazine has more flexibility in production, not having to be produced on a set time frame; instead of producing a new newscast every day or week, a show consisting of evergreen content can produce several episodes at once and release them in sequence. In contrast, such content is not as responsive to breaking developments. Feature stories and human interest stories are usually evergreen. The term is also used for long-lasting content in marketing materials and advertising.
Evergreen television shows are ideal for reruns. Seinfeld, for example, has been one of the most successful sitcoms in off-network syndication for over two decades, as its observational comedy did not rely on pop culture references that could become dated. Garry Marshall often set his shows in the near-past, such examples including Happy Days and its spinoff Laverne & Shirley, on the suggestion of one of his producers, Thomas L. Miller, who noted that shows that are somewhat old or retro to begin with and become popular hits do not lose their popularity or freshness as years pass. Both shows went on to have a long afterlife in syndication; That '70s Show, a Carsey-Werner sitcom, followed a similar conceit and lasted several years in reruns. In contrast, Murphy Brown, a show of similar longevity and popularity from the same era as Seinfeld, was a syndication failure in part because of its frequent reliance upon current events of the 1990s. A show's evergreen status can also be grounds for cancellation once a show has built up enough of a backlog of episodes that can be rerun without the viewer realizing the show has ended production; The Jerry Springer Show is one such example.
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- Garry Marshall discusses creating Happy Days with EmmyTvLegends.org (posted to YouTube on July 13, 2012)
- Hochman, David (2006-02-12). "Even Those 70's Kids Should Have Seen It Coming". The New York Times.
Like 'Happy Days', 'That 70's Show' blends smart comedy with light social commentary.
- Pergament, Alan (January 25, 2018). "English is back with 'Murphy Brown' revival that fits political climate". The Buffalo News. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
The attention to current events – which became old – is one of the reasons that "Murphy Brown" was never as big in syndication as expected.
- Rice, Lynette (20 June 2018). "Jerry Springer Has Stopped Making His Talk Show". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 21 June 2018.