Revival (television)

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A television revival is an attempt to revive a defunct series by producing new episodes created for broadcast. Network executives may decide to attempt to revive a television program when they feel that a market once again exists for it.

Revival is one of several programming strategies television networks employ to capitalize further on successful programs; among the other methods are spin-offs, cast reunions, and television movies based on the original program.

Unlike spin-offs—in which a television network creates a new program around one or more familiar, popular characters from a different program—a revival involves the reintroduction of most, or at least many of the original program's storyline, characters, and locales. Revivals should also be differentiated from remakes and continuity reboots where the characters and/or central concepts are retained, but the story starts over from the beginning again. Revivals differ in that they pick up either from where the older show left off, or at some time after that point.


Some examples of successful revivals in the United States are: Dragnet, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Perry Mason, Arrested Development, Beavis and Butt-head, American Dad!, Columbo, Ed, Edd n Eddy, The Fairly OddParents, Futurama, Family Guy, Battlestar Galactica, Doug, SpongeBob SquarePants, Degrassi: The Next Generation, The Shapies and Invader Zim. Most of these were revived at least several years after the original broadcast, often with a different cast.

An example of a successful revival outside of the US is the 2005 British science fiction series Doctor Who.[1][2][3] Other examples of successful revivals outside the United States are the Mexican comedy series Operacion Ja Ja and Que Nos Pasa.


A notable example of an unsuccessful US revival is the 1968 CBS series Blondie (a remake of the 1957 NBC series), which only lasted for half of a season (13 episodes), despite being based on an extremely popular and durable comic strip, and a marketing tie-in with a series of paperback reprints of Blondie strips starting with the 1930s originals.[4] The 1957 series only lasted one complete season (26 episodes), despite the fact that it was essentially an extension of a popular 1938-1950 series of movies, casting the same actor as Dagwood Bumstead.

According to the television researchers Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, a revival television program in the United States has a lesser chance of succeeding than an entirely new program.[citation needed]

Another example is the British soap opera Crossroads, which returned to ITV1 in 2001 after a 13-year hiatus. However, storylines became puzzling for fans and caused a rapid decrease in viewing figures. After a complete revamp, it was eventually axed in May 2003.

Historically, few television revivals have been popular.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Doctor Who is BAFTA award winner". BBC News (BBC). 6 May 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  2. ^ "Dr Who scores TV awards hat-trick". BBC News (BBC). 31 October 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  3. ^ "Doctor Who takes three TV awards". BBC News (BBC). 25 October 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  4. ^ Young, Chic (1968). Blondie #1. Signet. 

See also[edit]