Sweeping You Off Your Feet

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November: a time for Thanksgiving, football and – television?

You heard me right. The traditional “November Sweeps” period has officially left the station and is surging full steam ahead.

“Sweeps,” a term coined by the Nielsen ratings system, is the time when ratings are looked at more closely than normal. “Sweeps” occur in November, February, May and July.

In order to keep viewers happy, network shows usually write big, flashy storylines or bring in entertaining guest stars to peak viewers’ interest at such a volatile time. “Sweeps” sometimes help determine the fate of  “bubble” shows – series the network is on the fence about continuing with or not.

This season, two of ABC’s dramas are really pushing for viewership amidst hefty competition. Grey’s Anatomy aired its fall finale Nov. 10, leaving a few nail-biter cliffhangers for both the characters on the show and the audience at home. Nov. 17, ABC’s other medical drama, Private Practice, will air a two-hour intervention special unlike its usual medical procedural/relationship format.

Will these moves really manage to attract more viewers? How will audiences react to this year’s surprises? Only time will tell, but Grey’s Anatomy fall finale already proved itself: it increased by significantly since its previous episode. Oh, the magic of “Sweeps.”

Here’s a look at what to expect happening on some of your favorite shows:

Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. – Jessy Schram goes from rags to riches as Cinderella on ABC’s Once Upon a Time.

Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. – Justin Long makes an appearance on Fox’s New Girl.

Nov. 27 at 9 p.m.The Walking Dead will air its midseason finale on AMC.

Nov. 29 at 10 p.m.Sons of Anarchy concludes for the year with its season finale on FX.

Nov. 30 at 9:30 p.m.I Hate My Teenage Daughter premieres on Fox.

Sophomore > Journalism> University of Maryland

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