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1->''"Friday nights. That's when Fox advertises its 13-episode DVD sets."''˛-->--'''Creator/TimMinear'''˛˛Nowadays, network TV shows in the United States (with the exception of news programs and daytime {{soap opera}}s) usually have about 22 episodes per season, give or take one or two. But networks rarely have enough confidence in a new show to order all 22 at once. Typically, the first 13 episodes will be ordered, followed by the remaining 9 if ratings are high enough. These sets of episodes are referred to as the "Front 13" and "Back 9", with the latter term being more commonly used. The front 13 are often produced before any episodes are aired and before there can be any public feedback. If the creators are doubtful about the back 9 being ordered, the 13th episode often contains some kind of resolution so the audience isn't left hanging. ShortRunners often have 12 or 13 episodes produced, even if not all of them were aired.˛˛For clarification, there are two elements to this Production Trope:˛# It has to air at or near the start of the Channel's standard broadcast season, which automatically disqualifies the premiere season of a MidseasonReplacement.˛# Though the series started "on time", the Executives' original order did not cover the full season and/or the first half of the Season is self-contained compared to the second half (the halves need not be equal).˛˛The length of the "season" does not matter; theoretically a cable channel whose seasons are 13-16 episodes can still have a show suffer this if the initial order was for only 8 episodes.[[note]]Conversely, a show in the Black-and-White era had seasons of up to 36 episodes; this Trope could apply if the production order would only get the series to the February Sweeps, i.e. 15-20 episodes.[[/note]] Also, this does not necessarily apply to only the ''first'' season; a show that is OnlyBarelyRenewed can also qualify, provided that the two halves of the season were separate orders or the production crew had reason to believe that they would be told to WrapItUp before May.˛˛The most obvious signs of this Trope in a series ''that gets to/past (e.g.) the February UsefulNotes/{{Sweeps}}'' (apart from WordOfGod) are the additions or alterations of important elements or a change in show atmosphere midway through the first Season (as opposed to between the first and second seasons) or a SeriesFauxnale in the middle of ''any'' season. ˛˛Compare TwelveEpisodeAnime and BritishBrevity, the latter of which denotes a country with a short broadcast season. Contrast CutShort, where a series doesn't even make the full Front 13 or only makes 13 when it had been promised more.˛˛The term is derived from the Golf terms "front-" and "back-nine", likely because [[OfficeGolf the golf course]] is the common [[ExecutiveMeddling executive foraging grounds]].˛˛!!Examples:˛* In ''Series/{{Community}}'', there is a very clear shift in tone and characterization after the first half of the first season that persisted for the rest of the show's run, making the first half come off as particularly rough.˛* There's an urban legend that Creator/FoxKids purchased an alternate ending to the 13th episode of the ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' dub, just in case the show didn't do well on their air. That would explain a lot of its EarlyInstallmentWeirdness quite handily, though it has never been proven to have actually happened.˛* ''Series/TwentyFour'' has Bauer's wife and daughter rescued and the first assassin killed in the 13th episode, providing some resolution if the back 11[[note]]per its name, ''24'' has twenty-four episodes in each season[[/note]] was not ordered. The scene where the ''second'' assassin was dispatched could have been cut in that case.˛* ''Series/{{Glee}}'' had a crucial competition win, resolution for several story arcs, and even a traditional kiss in the final scene in its 13th episode, and could easily be considered a satisfying series finale. All of the front 13 were produced before airing and have fewer songs. They're also generally considered the show's best episodes by the majority of the fandom˛* The ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'' season 5 episode, "Leslie and Ben" was the 13th episode produced (but the 14th episode shown due to "Women in Garbage", one of the back 9, being aired OutOfOrder), and as such, was written as a [[SeriesFauxnale respectable]] finale for the show, which has always had low ratings and shaky renewals.˛* Though its first half was as a MidseasonReplacement, ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'s'' ''second'' season qualifies. Creator/{{FOX}} made the 13-episode order primarily due to fan response; the execs , in turn, excluded the series from the November Sweeps, though at least they ran the complete half-order this time.˛* Inverted in the case of ''Series/{{Vanished}}'': an initial 22 episode order was [[WrapItUp cut to 13]] after 6 episodes had aired.˛* ''Series/TheMobDoctor'' is an example from the 2012 Fall Lineup: 13 Episodes ordered for September, Cut at the end of its initial run in January. ˛* The 13th episode of ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' draws a number of its initial plot arcs to a close, including the LoveTriangle between Michael, Marta, and Gob, as well as Tobias' anxiety over going nude. ˛* A visitor to the Best Brains offices during the production of the last few episodes of ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' reported seeing a note that said something like "Wish List: Season 11. Season 10, back nine. A job." The first two entries were crossed out.˛* The final season of ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' was only 13 episodes long. The production crew knew they weren't going to get approval for the back nine, so they wrapped up all the remaining major plot threads in those 13 episodes.˛* {{Anime}} example: David Production's adaptation of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' has an inverted case in its first season. The "Phantom Blood" story ends precisely and cleanly at the end of its 9th episode, leaving the rest of its first season to adapt the next part, "Battle Tendency."˛* Season 1 of ''WesternAnimation/{{Chowder}}'' was originally 13 half hours before being expanded to 20, resulting in the redesigns planned for season 2 to be implemented within season 1.˛* The 2nd season of ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'' follows this format with the first 13 half hours (My New Wand! to Bon Bon the Birthday Clown) ending on a WhamEpisode, the following 8 half hours (Raid the Cave to Starcrushed) following the consequences of said episode, and a half hour of standalone episodes that fall in between in production order ([[HalloweenEpisode Hungry Larry]] and [[LowerDeckEpisode Spider with a Top Hat]]) being deliberately written to be able to premier [[OutOfOrder whenever in the season and still fit]] given the former's Holiday episode status.˛* The 13th episode of ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'' resolved most of its plot arcs at the time, giving us the result of the bet and the fallout of Boyle's heroic feat.˛* In ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' the 13th episode of the first season, "The Transformation", resolves the John Scott arc, and Creator/MarkValley never appears again. The next episode, "Ability", starts the examination of the Olivia's Cortexiphan-related talents.˛* The second season of ''Series/{{Lucifer|2016}}'' was greenlit with 13 episodes, then received an additional 9-episode order a month after the season started (though four of them ended up being moved to the third season). The 13th episode, "A Good Day to Die", has a very climactic season finale feel in it, representing a break between the first half of the season with the second. There is even a TimeSkip between the two.˛----

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