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Dramatic Half-Hour

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A format which has not been widely used for some time. See Dramatic Hour Long, except shorter.

This format was fairly common in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly for Soap Operas, but has fallen out of use in favor for the Dramatic Hour Long. In the 1970s, 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 2010's (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.