I had/still have an interest in getting into television writing, and over spring break, I did a lot of reading on what makes a successful TV show. Shows on the air are really restricted to a very specific format. I read in one TV writing book that every show of a series has to be basically the same. Yes, new content, but the same template. For example, the episode has to start with an introduction, the main character X has to get into a pickle with main character Y, and then resolve the conflict in some way. In the LeBlanc reading, it says that "tension...[is] our level of emotional investment in the story's conflict: the sense of concern, apprehension, and urgency with which we await the story's outcome" (p. 443). In a series, every show has to be the same, because the networks depend on viewers for money. The viewers tune into a show because they expect a certain style, certain tensions. They don't want a Simpsons episode to be a Raymond or a Just Shoot me. They want new stories within a predictable frame. Another part of it is commercial breaks. Writing for TV incorporates writing so that the audience is left hanging before a commercial break so it'll want to tune back in to see what happened after the ads. Without these constraints, TV shows would be a lot different. They'd probably be more random and venture from their templates a lot more. Once a show's template is set, it's set. Deviating from the format is #1 expensive (have to be creative, think of new ideas instead of just plugging in another story into the stencil) and #2 risky, because you don't know how the audience will react to the change. In the industry, if it's making money, stick with what works.