"But now, all of cable TV seems to operate in blocks and I have no freaking idea why. If you're giving me eight straight hours of King of the Hill, aren't you forcing every single non-King of the Hill fan to abandon your channel for the rest of the day to go watch something else?"
So you're curling up on the armchair to watch your favorite show — but the schedule has been changed and yet another airing of the network's most popular (or just favored by execs) show is airing in its place. Your blood boils, but there's nothing you can do — it's the network's pet program.
This is Adored by the Network in a nutshell. An over-promoted, over-aired program that either dominates the entire schedule or gets promoted over every other show on the network or some combination of the two. Whenever networks stumble upon a massive hit show, this show usually gets the most attention and most promotion. Marathons are run, special programming events occur often surrounding the show, and the show is given multiple airings daily.
This usually comes at the expense all the other shows on the channel, particularly the shows on the verge of being canceled. At the very least, they will just be ignored. At the very worst, they can be canceled or re-tooled to make it more in line with the adored show. And at very, very, worst — it could signal the first signs of Network Decay, as the network may add more shows similar to the network darling to the lineup.
Despite the network's fixation on this show, it doesn't fit the nature of being the Creator's Pet because, well, if it's a hit, then many people like it. It may be a critical darling that's loved by all. You yourself may like the show. But you also like other shows on the channel and the overbearing presence of the program just may be too much. Naturally, if a single series is on all the time, it may lead to Hype Backlash through overexposure, since even the people who genuinely enjoy the show may get sick of it. Enough of this can ironically result into the show being considered Screwed by the Network, as it can lead to the show's downfall and cancellation.
Before you add an example, keep in mind this isn't Complaining About Shows You Don't Like. Also, the simple act of airing the show a lot of times doesn't alone qualify it for this trope. The network has to go above and beyond to prop this show up constantly.
See also Marathon Running (where whole marathons can be dedicated to a single show), Cash Cow Franchise, Hollywood Hype Machine (when this happens to actors), Creator's Pet (when this happens to characters and the fans are annoyed), Wolverine Publicity, and Network Decay. Network to the Rescue is a sure sign of this. Contrast Screwed by the Network; also sometimes the result of this trope. See also Network Red Headed Stepchild.
Throughout its past life, Toonami had plenty of shows that it adored. The first of these was Sailor Moon, one of its first anime shows. Then came Dragon Ball Z and Gundam Wing, with the latter getting both censored airings during the daytime and uncensored airings during the Midnight Run, and the former lasting until 2003, and then getting uncut reruns until 2005. Finally, there was Naruto, as pictured above, which stuck around until the block's cancellation.
For the revived Toonami block on [adult swim], Cowboy Bebop was one of the shows that was already airing when Toonami came back, and while it was briefly taken off to make room for Samurai 7 and Eureka Seven, it has since returned and is still currently airing, to the point where people actually want the crew to give the show a break.
Ironically, Bebop finallyy took a break from the schedule, and was replaced in its timeslot by a rerun of IGPX Immortal Grand Prix, but that's only because they're losing the rights to it. Yep, the only thing that will stop them from playing Bebop is not having it anymore. They will get the HD remasters from FUNimation, however, and you know it, because it's one of their most famous series (and favorite series), and the only anime (other than The Big O, but that's largely because Season 2 was produced by them) that has a spot on the mural in their Atlanta offices.
Toonami also has a soft spot for InuYasha. Otherwise, it would not have screwed overGhost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complexnote To be fair, though, in the same schedule change that affected Bebop that also affected "O"'s Season 2, as it was taken off the air to avoid running it more than once, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was moved up an hour, and GiTS was placed back in the rotation at 4:00 AM. and have an hour dedicated to it (though it's shoved down at the far back of the block, airing at both 5:00 AM and 5:30 AM).
Adult Swim explicitly stated on multiple occasions that FLCL was their favorite anime, and they sure showed it for a while. The high amount of airings was especially notable given the fact that the series had only 6 episodes, which resulted in much replay of each episode. That being said, it is exactly this very short length that allows FLCL to easily fit into the schedule if there is a small gap to fill.
Digimon was this for the ailing Fox Kids around the time of Digimon Adventure; the love sort of petered off by the end of Digimon Adventure 02. It was picked up by the network in order to compete with Pokémon on Kids' WB! and capitalize on the anime boom. Some Saturday mornings, Digimon would air three times. It supplanted Power Rangers (circa Power Rangers Lost Galaxy) as the most popular show on the block and booted the show from its long-time schedule spots (9am EST Saturdays and 4pm EST weekdays). This still rankles long time Power Rangers fans, as it would retroactively prove to be a foreshadowing for that series sinking even lower under Disney...
The CW4kids themed block "Toonzai" aired between two to three hours of Yu-Gi-Oh! content within its six hour time slot on Saturday mornings, plus Yu-Gi-Oh! advertisements for new cards and episodes intermittent between the other shows. They also air Dinosaur King, a series with a similar format to Yu-Gi-Oh!, and advertise Bakugan, which is a competitor complete with card game centric anime itself. Any impressionable mind watching the current Saturday morning block on the CW is GOING to be convinced that people dramatically waving trading cards around is the coolest thing ever. Justified in that Yu-Gi-Oh has recently secured itself in the Guinness Book of World Records (in 2009) as most successful trading card game worldwide, and that there was a theatrical film out recently.
Yu-Gi-Oh! is this no matter whatThe CW is calling its kids' block these days, and it was also true when The CW was The WB. Even as other shows get moved around, screwed around, and don't get get to complete their runs even when they're far from Long Runners, the original Yu-Gi-Oh! and at least one of its sequels never fail to air multiple episodes every Saturday ever. Even a new or new-to-CW show being treated half as well as YGO reruns would be a sign of the apocalypse. (Unless that new show is a YGO sequel.)
Dragon Ball Z Kai has become this for Nicktoons Network, with anywhere from three to six hours worth being shown on any given day in total. This has gotten to such a point that Nicktoons began airing the original Dragon Ball Z movies in an almost completely uncut format, with the only real edit so far being a Hitler scene in Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn getting excised. All blood, violence, and profanity is kept, at aTV-Y7-FVrating no less.
Spanish network Antena 3 's sister channel Neox might as well be called The Crayon Shin Chan Network, with around over 3 hours of it every day on morning, with weekends tacking in a Shinchan movie after all of that. There aren't that many movies, so after a month they just loop. Eventually they just ditched the movies and had five hours of Shin-chan on weekends. Sure, Spaniards love Shin-chan, but is that overkill really needed? Then again, Antena 3 itself has been showing two Simpson episodes a day.... for well over a decade. The situation eventually calmed down; now they "only" show two hours.
Spanish kids channel Boing loves Doraemon so much that broadcasts eight episodes every day. It's very strange to put the channel and find that they are not broadcasting Doraemon or Adventure Time.
For a time, Jetix would show 24 hour marathons of Pucca at the drop of a hat.
Pokémon for Kids' WB!. Sometimes they would show nothing but the show to promote a special or new movie, and they'd sometimes show it for three hours at a time. Cartoon Network, the show's current channel, doesn't do this nearly as often.
Kids WB's adoration for all things Pokemon even spilled into their promotional attempts for other shows in their lineup. During a Batman Beyond-themed Y2K event, viewers were encouraged to send in their predictions of the future to be read on the air. One of the more notable entries: "In the future, Pokemon will be on every channel all day long." The daydreams of someone truly obsessed with the series, or an early example of epic trolling?
Italian television channel Italia 1 is very, very fond of Dragon Ball. They aired the three series (Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT) continuously since 1998: after GT's ending, they start over again with the first episode of Dragon Ball, then Z, then GT... As of July 2012, we're reaching the end of the sixth rerun of Z (if this number doesn't impress you, be wary that Italia 1 is a general-purpose channel, not an anime-only, and they air one episode per day... This means that for almost twelve years there wasn't a day without Dragon Ball!).
It's hard not to turn on the Japanese version of Animax and see a show that's not named Chibi Maruko-chan or GeGeGe no Kitaro. Whenever a show gets cancelled, they replace it with one of these shows.
ABC Family must always play Aladdin every three months or so. The network is owned by Disney, and they don't play their animated classics as often as this.
ABC Family also airs The Lion King often since its 2011 re-release. This happens nearly once every month, save November and December due to all the Christmas movies taking up those slots. On May 5, 2012 they aired the movie 2 times in a row, one airing after another.
You can ALWAYS expect that ABC Family, Disney Channel, and Disney XD will air Despicable Meevery single month, 2 times in a row. For instance, ABC Family mostly does the double-feature presentations, Disney Channel does the limited commercial interruption (like most movies that air on the channel), and Disney XD sometimes airs it at 5:00pm or 8:00pm. Although it is a Universal film, so hopefully it won't be only on the Disney-based channels.
ABC, Teletoon, HBO, Cinemax, and Telemundo aired this movie also.
ABC Familyreally likes using whatever excuse they can to air their Harry Potter marathons. Upcoming movies, Christmas, Memorial Day, whatever. Between the length of the films and frequent commercial breaks, "Harry Potter Weekends" now last up to five days long.
Or they'll pull out some Disney and/or Pixar movies, or teen chick flicks. Since they count as both, The Princess Diaries and its sequel are played quite often.
Local Atlanta station Peachtree TV (WPCH, formerly WTBS), appears to have a particular fetish for certain films which are played over and over and over on a regular basis, and this has been going on for years. Examples include The Hunt for Red October, A Few Good Men, and the Lethal Weapon movies.
For a couple of years one could watch The Breakfast Club every weekend by tuning in to this channel, if one were so inclined.
Spike seems to have a Star Wars marathon, showing all six films, roughly every third weekend.
Whichever network currently holds the rerun rights to the James Bond films goes crazy rerunning them as often as possible before the tide changes. In The Nineties, TBS and TNT cornered the market on marathon runs of Bond movies (to the point that there was a joke about it in American Beauty), followed by AMC for a little while at the Turn of the Millennium. Since then, the status of "James Bond Network" has rotated between Spike, the Encore movie networks (in 2012 and again in 2013, the main channel showed a different one every night in prime time for a month, while sister channels Action, Suspense, etc. got in on the fun by sprinkling the films throughout their schedules), and G4. Note that it isn't the same few films being run over and over; the package generally covers the first 20 films plus the unofficial entry Never Say Never Again.
Daniel Craig-era Bond movies seem to have been handed over to USA Network after it decided to retire its longstanding status as The Mummy Network.
In the UK, ITV had them from 1975 through 2012, when they were acquired by the premium channel Sky Movies. They then took Adored by the Network to its obvious conclusion in October 2012 by turning one of its channels into Sky Movies 007, dedicated exclusively to airing the films (and other documentaries/behind the scenes features) in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Bond movie franchise. The channel was temporarily taken down in November 2012 to make way for its annual all-Christmas movies channel, but came back off and on throughout 2013.
The summer of 2012 saw the Encore movie networks become addicted to the Christopher Reeve Superman films. It tapered off as the year saw itself out, but well into early 2013, one of them could still be guaranteed to run Superman IV: The Quest for Peace several times each month. That film is extremely short, so it was probably easy to slot into schedules.
In April 2013, the Encore networks (particularly Encore Family) became devoted to the original nine-film run of The Pink Panther series.
There also existed a channel that played the film Rudy for 24 hours straight in some areas.
Die Hard: The films (especially the original) get this nearly every year. Heck, even Spike aired the original couple years back with a 24-hour marathon.
Since the late 1990s, TBS has aired an annual 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story, Christmas Eve night to Christmas Day night. Granted, it's a beloved holiday classic that was Vindicated by Cable in the first place. It's also used to give most of their employees Christmas off. When that's all you're showing, all you need is a bare bones staff to make sure the building doesn't burn down.
Speaking of Men In Black, nearly every channel adores to air the movie, especially the NBC Universal Channels (USA, Syfy, E!, Bravo, and Oxygen).
For years, Telemundo would often use any major holiday as an excuse to play back-to-back Cantinflas movies. Though this is akin to a Robert De Niro marathon, in that it's not the repeat of the same movie, or the same series of movies, but a bunch of movies with similar flavors.
Until about 2002 it was shocking if a week went by without them airing the 1986 bomb Stewardess School.
Another movie that Comedy Central adored back then was the 1988 film Glitch.
FOX constantly shows Independence Day whenever a big event is happening on another network: Super Bowl, Oscars, etc... In fact, Independence Day airs often on every station that gets the rights to it. Even MTV, A&E, CMT, BET, Syfy, E!, AMC, Spike, Bravo, and VH-1 have been in on the act. There was one time, around 2009-ish, when it popped up every other weekend. TBS, TNT & WGN America played it constantly, so did myNetworkTV as a Sunday Night Movie & Saturday Afternoon and the CW.
Every time a Star Wars prequel was released, Australia's Fox-affiliated Channel 10 showed the original trilogy over three weekends and promoted the crap out of it, often bookending commercial breaks with two promos for the same film. It's an older example, but it checks out.
After AMC stopped emphasizing classic movies but before they had original series such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead, the network went through different phases where they played the same movie practically every day for months until they found a new movie to obsess over and the cycle began anew. Examples included (but were not limited to):
The Christmas programming for 2013 consisted entirely of the Home Alone movies, White Christmas, and Jack Frost (1998). Culkin & Friends apparently took up the overexposure slack from last year's endless Miracle on 34th Street lovefest.
As of June 2014, AMC replays The Green Mile almost as frequently as the movies they played on the network 10 years ago.
TNT and USA are both very bad about going through phases where they'll show the same movie over and over and over again, whether it's The Dark Knight on TNT or National Treasure on USA - if either of them shows the movie once, you know you'll be seeing it again within the week.
Have a day off from school or work? Chances are Vantage Point is playing this morning on FX.
Iron Man has started to become a staple movie on FX.
Practically every movie based on Marvel Comics are FX staples.
ION Television lovesClint Eastwood movies, playing them practically every other weekend.
Surprisingly, for a Canadian niche channel, Space subverted this in its early years. Someone must have dug through the dusty trash archives of Hollywood to come up with the weird, obscure, "new" movies they played every weekend. The height of this was a month-long event where every weekend they would play three rat-themed horror movies. Most people would be hard pressed to think of one, and someone paid out the rights for twelve of the damn things.
From late-2011 until early-2013, the programming director at Turner Classic Movies was obsessed with Nicholas Ray movies, and played the near-forgotten 1963 epic 55 Days at Peking at least once every other month. This was odd, since it's rare that TCM plays a movie more than a few times a year (owing to its enormous library).
There are also phases when TCM can't get enough of My Fair Lady. It played almost monthly in 2010, and again since October 2012 (with as many as two airings per month).
VH-1 showed Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II on a frequent basis for years after they started broadcasting more programs that were not dedicated to music. They usually showed the movies in cropped formats, meaning their pictures were not shown in their entirety (the second movie was usually shown in the 16:9 aspect ratio unlike the first movie, which was usually shown in the 4:3 aspect ratio, even after VH-1 started showing the second movie on a frequent basis).
WCW itself was adored not so much by the network, but by Ted Turner himself. It was his baby/vanity project, as he credited WCW's predecessor, Georgia Championship Wrestling, with helping get SuperStation WTBS noticed in its early days (along with Atlanta Braves baseball). The fact that it lost money for most of its existence was of no concern to him since, for someone like Ted, the amount of money that WCW lost was never more than pocket change. However, WCW was most definitely not adored by an AOL exec named Jamie Kellner, who within a few weeks on the job cancelled all professional wrestling related programming.
TNA on Challenge in the UK certainly seemed to be this at one point- they couldn't stop talking about it over the end credits of every programme (usually re-runs of game shows, some of which might not necessarily share the same audience as that TNA wrestling would appeal to).
Professional sports. Immensely popular, sure, but try to imagine what it's like for people who don't like sports to have a program you have no interest in that can preempt the shows you DO want to watch seemingly at any time, rarely ends at the scheduled time (sometimes causing the next show to begin "in progress" or be skipped entirely), and when it does end and you think your show is about to start... here comes the post game show. And then the other networks only run reruns against it because they don't want to have to compete with the show "everyone" is watching. For that, you can blame Heidi.
This was actually lampshaded by on the Series 16 premiere of Top Gear in January 2011:
Jeremy Clarkson: Can I just say how nice it is to be back where we belong? BBC2, 8:00, Sunday night. Unless of course somebody's organized a snooker tournament, in which case, happy Easter!
Football in the United States. If it's autumn and your network carries the NFL, expect a pop-up ad or commercial every five minutes reminding you when the next game is and who's playing. Even when it's a sports station like ESPN, the NFL will be promoted far more than anything else it carries. Those above problems with preemption? Baseball fans have the same problem when they're waiting for the World Series and Fox won't cut away from James Brown and Terry Bradshaw yukking it up...
When it comes to college football, ESPN practically runs the show; they have lucrative broadcast deals with all the major conferences (particularly the SEC, Big Ten, and ACC, among the most powerful conferences in Division I FBS) which is a practically a license to print and give their schools money by default, ESPN chooses start times for its games, and they even coded software used by the majority of the teams to help build their game schedules. During the post-season, they have broadcast rights to almost every bowl game (including the all-important College Football Playoff; which stole Fox's sole bowl game away from them, as if losing the BCS to ESPN was bad enough), and even run nine of their own.
Due to the MLB post-season, there was a stretch of time starting around the turn of the century when Fox delayed the season premiere of many of its shows until after the World Series to accommodate its coverage. This meant fans of The Simpsons and The X-Files had to wait until November to see new episodes. Starting in 2005, the show returned to launching shows like Simpsons in September — but the Series still kept the annual Halloween Episode from airing until after the holiday came and went. In The New Tens, Fox usually airs the Halloween show weeks before the holiday instead. Changes to MLB broadcast contracts in 2006 meant that the Division Series rounds (previously split with ESPN) and one set of LCS rounds (alternating yearly, the latter on Fox) would be exclusive to TBS, and as of 2014, the other LCS not on TBS would be on Fox Sports 1, meaning that Fox now only airs the World Series
Tennis on Eurosport. Go to any forum of a particular sport that isn't Association Football (or Tennis obviously) and you are guaranteed to find that most European fans there absolutely despise Tennis for the sole reason that they've spent large chunks of the last 20 years wanting to watch their favorite sport but not able to, as Eurosport was preempting it with an overtimed Tennis match, usually from the lower rounds of some unimportant tournament. Cycling and Basketball fans are especially prone to fly into a rage from this.
Spanish public channel Teledeporte is even worse than Eurosport. Not only they broadcast lots and lots of tennis matches but, when tournament day is over, they rerun the same matches you have previously seen. In occcasions, they even have show delayed official matches of spanish national teams (Handball, Hockey, Waterpolo...) to broadcast a live first-round tennis match between two unknown non-spaniard players. So, it's not strange that many people give the channel the nickname Tele Tenis.
For Canadian sport networks, hockey is the most aired sport on Sportsnet, TSN (The Expy of ESPN) and CBC. This really shouldn't be much surprise in Canada. There are network favourites. Before Hockey Night in Canada switched to a early and late game broadcast in 1995, if you wanted to see any Canadian team aside from the Maple Leafs or the Canadiens, you either had to hope it they were playing in Toronto or Montreal, or that they made the playoffs and Toronto or Montreal weren't playing that night. The absurdity of this is indicated that in the mid-1980s, when Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers were the best team in the league, it was almost impossible for someone in Eastern Canada to ever seen them on TV.
Cricket in Australia, especially Test cricket. For those who don't know, Test cricket matches can last for five days straight. They'll always be there on Channel Nine and Fox Sports, every summer, and the breaks will usually be filled with highlights/recaps/analyses.
Valve's obsession with continually updating Team Fortress 2 and expanding the Left 4 Dead franchise has been viewed as taking precedence over making new games, Half-Life 2: Episode 3 in particular, even though separate groups work on each series of games.
Blizzard Entertainment was seen to suffer from this as well, as they worked on various Warcraft games and expansions for almost a decade straight before StarCraft II and Diablo III were announced. (The one StarCraft product in the making, Ghost, became Vapor Ware.) Lately, they've completely flipped this trope on the head, and seem to be just gushing new games - Reaper of Souls, Hearthstone, Warlords of Draenor, and Heroes of the Storm all within a year of each other.
In the late 90s, this seemed to be the reverse case for Blizzard, with all their efforts directed towards Starcraft + Expansions, and Diablo 2 + Expansions. Other than an upgraded re-release of Warcraft II that allowed you to play on Battle.net, Warcraft wasn't getting much love until Warcraft III was finally released. It's like the company as a whole has tunnel vision on whatever they're developing next.
There is also the fact that Final Fantasy I and II are the most simple games of the saga. They include little to no plot (which means there is no translation), few enemies (for a final fantasy game), few classes (6 in FFInote Fighter, Thief, Black Belt, and the White, Red, and Black Magi, none in FFII) and the game mechanics in general are simple. The fact that they have so many ports is most likely due to how cheap making said port actually is. More complex games (except for FFIV/FFVII) hardly ever see the light, most likely since they are not as easy to make as FFI/FFII but not as popular as FFIV/FFVII. This would explain why FFIII is the game with less ports in all the saga.
Understandably, Final Fantasy is a Cash Cow Franchise for Square, and justly widely enjoyed. However, true to this effect, it has a habit of overshadowing other efforts that the company occasionally puts forth. The game Xenogears was hit particularly hard by this, when its budget and production schedule slashed in favor of the soon-to-be-released Final Fantasy VIII, resulting in a sharp decrease in quality and quantity of gameplay in the second half of the game.
Tales of Phantasia for the Super Famicom has gotten four remakes: first for the PlayStation, second for the Gameboy Advance, third for the PlayStation Portable, and fourth again for the PlayStation Portable with updated battle graphics as part of Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X. Unfortunately, only the Gameboy Advance version, widely considered the weakest version, is the only one that has seen an official English version.
Runescape has the Squeal of Fortune note a simple wheel spin that gives prizes and Solomon's General Store note a store where you can buy cosmetic items and emotes. Most players hate them, but Jagex is in love with them (for obvious reasons) and updates them once or twice a week, giving each update huge amounts of fanfare.
Most games from AeriaGames tend to get this treatment when they first get it...and then goes in the opposite direction once it leaves open, or even closed beta. There are a large number of games with game breaking bugs that don't seem to be fixed for months, driving people away from the game, eventually getting it tossed completely. Very few games escape this fate, and these tend to have a somewhat more permanent spot for this trope. So much, they advertise them and their new games in their dying games forums.
Nintendo really loves all its big franchises, probably because it can make them under the company's family-friendly guidelines without complaints from the publishers - but it really seems to love Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Kirby, and Pokémon. Especially Mario, being that he's the mascot and all.
EarthBound is especially notable. After performing below expectations in its original 1995 release (due in large part to a... misguided marketing campaign), it was treated like the company's red-headed stepchild for many years, outside of Super Smash Bros.Mother 1+2 and Mother 3 both had their English releases canned, its Virtual Console demo was removed from Brawl, and even its spot in a trailer for the Wii U Virtual Console was replaced by Punch-Out!!. This lasted until it was announced to be officially rereleased in English. From then on, it's been treated very respectably all things considered.
Towards the end of the Atari 800 era, English Software milked popular games by including them on several "Atari Smash Hits" compilations- "Jet Boot Jack" on volumes 1, 2 and 3, "Chop Suey" on 4 and 5 and "Elektra Glide" on 5, 6 and 7.
Atlus and Megaten, but especially Persona 3 and Persona 4. Persona 4 was a Breakthrough Hit (So much that Atlus USA dropped the Shin Megami Tensei brand from "Arena" and "Golden"!) Atlus has given much more love to Personas 3 and 4 than they have the first two, which only got PSP remakes (the last of which never left Japan) and didn't share even half the popularity of 3 and 4.