USA Network is feeling the burn. Although the fourth season of Burn Notice, the top-rated show on cable, has not yet finished production, President of Original Programming, Jeffrey Watchel, has re-upped the veteran series for seasons 5 and 6, each running at least 15 and 18 episodes, respectively. As Watchel told Variety, “Once Saturday Night Live makes fun of you, how can you not committ to extra seasons?” More after the jump:
The inclusion of Burn Notice in a SNL skit is proof perfect of how far original cable programming has come. Must See TV is no longer confined to broadcast networks or premium channels, instead FX, USA, TNT and AMC have all managed to develop award-winning shows that regularly lure in the ever-coveted 18-34 (or 18-49) demographic. Oftentimes this success is attributed to the laxer broadcast standards found on basic cable but the simple addition of more swearing and sex, while it does make life for interesting, cannot be the only reason. In all liklihood, the cablers have discovered what HBO has long known and what NBC, CBS, etc. still seem to miss: quality is always better than quantity. For 16 episodes, USA can guarantee a great season of Burn Notice but Fox cannot make that same promise with 24 episodes of 24.
According to Variety, “the Jeffrey Donovan starrer has been a ratings powerhouse since its inception in June 2007. Including live-plus 7 data, “Burn Notice” closed out season averaging 7.1 million viewers and 3.3 million in the 18-49 demo. The final episode was a whopper with 6.1 million tuning in.”
Burn Notice also stars Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell and Sharon Gless.