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Dramatic Half-Hour

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A series or radio program belonging to the drama genre that lasts about 30 minutes. It originated on radio, with several Radio Drama following the format.

This format was fairly common in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly for Soap Operas and Sunday Evening Drama Series, but has fallen out of use in favor of the Dramatic Hour Long. In The '70s, most soaps in the United States switched to an hour-long format. The format was more common in the United Kingdom, and still is to a degree, probably because that half-hour doesn't get quite as severely whittled down by commercial breaks. This is now becoming something of a dead trope.

Latterly, however, British sitcoms are deliberately trimmed to the 21-minute mark which is standard for North America, with one eye on lucrative American sales. Pre-producing them so American-length commercial breaks can be inserted without the need for obtrusive edits now appears to be standard. For domestic broadcast, this fits in with the BBC's obsessive need to broadcast trailers —effectively internal advertising— which bite into the half-hour slot as deeply as adverts do in the USA.

The format saw a resurgence happen in the late 2010s (known among TV observers as Peak TV) thanks to the less rigid format allowed by the absence of ads on streaming services and some cable channels.

Contrast Sitcom, which often last half an hour too but belong to the comedy genre.


Live-Action TV


Western Animation