Are TV Shows Filmed Weekly?

TV shows are a widely adopted means of entertainment and storytelling. They may be aired on an episodic basis or released as complete seasons on streaming platforms. But how are they produced? Are TV shows filmed weekly?

The answer to this varies based on the specific type of TV show in question. Some TV shows, such as those that release episodes on a weekly basis, may film weekly. However, others may follow a different filming approach. In any case, the filming process and the schedule will be made as efficient as possible.

This article talks in more depth about the filming process involved in creating TV shows.

Are TV Shows Filmed Weekly?

Common 44-minute length episodics like NCIS and CSI are shot serially, with as many as three episodes in various stages of production overlapping at any one time. 

The production of each episode typically takes place over the course of a single week or so, and the various members of the cast and crew turn in on a daily basis, just like they would for any other profession. This occurs throughout the entire season, with the exception of certain periods, such as holidays and or the Olympics, among other things.

However, it is important to keep in mind that on every level, from development to broadcast, efforts will be made to combine processes into a more efficient schedule. Nevertheless, it’s also possible that certain tasks that should be handled efficiently might be overlooked or simply integrated into the schedule as necessary. 

For instance, during the production of one episode, an actor might be working on set, but they might receive a request to perform some ADR that the producers have determined is necessary for an episode that was shot a week or two earlier.

How Far In Advance Do TV Shows Film Their Episodes?

The answer to this varies considerably based on the show, the network, the region, and other factors, but in general, if the show is brand new, the pilot episode will be filmed (in the United States, this can take place anywhere between November and April), and then they wait for confirmation of whether or not they are picked up for a season. This often takes place in May. 

A show will initially be picked up for approximately thirteen episodes (sometimes for an entire season of twenty-two episodes, but this is extremely rare). The season starts being filmed in July, and it begins airing around the sixth or seventh episode. 

Even if that many episodes have been produced, it does not necessarily mean that they will be aired. The networks closely monitor the ratings, taking into account not only the total number of viewers but also the breakdown by age group, the show’s consistency throughout the hour, and any performance relative to its predecessor (for example, if a new show airs after “American Idol,” the network would prefer it to retain an acceptable percentage of the show’s ratings).

If a show’s ratings aren’t high enough, it might get canceled immediately. However, if the show can keep its ratings up for at least three weeks, it should be picked up for an entire season. After that, they will continue to be approximately five or six episodes ahead of the schedule for airing.

Can Some TV Shows Be Filmed All at Once?

Yes, it is possible for some shows to be filmed all at once, but it mainly depends on the type of show. For example, live audience shows typically film all of their episodes in one day while a live audience watches.

For a scripted drama or comedy that is not shot in front of a live audience, the entire season is usually shot one episode at a time, but the series will begin broadcasting before the season is finished. 

The production of a full season consisting of 22–24 episodes typically takes approximately nine months. The filming of each episode takes anywhere from five to eight days, after which it is put through the editing process.

For reality shows, the entire season is typically filmed before the show begins airing. That way, they can edit everything from the entire season at once before the show starts broadcasting.

Are TV Shows Filmed in Sequence?

In general, TV shows are not filmed in sequence; however, there may be exceptions. The vast majority of filming for both feature films and television programs does not occur in sequence.

This is done to save both time and money since the time required to move the camera and lighting around for a different image can easily exceed one hour. 

Therefore, it is common practice to record all of the shots from the same viewpoint on a set at once, with the only things that separate them being the starts and stops of the camera and the clapping of the “cereal box” (a slate with a clapper on top used to synchronize the sound). 

Then, the camera and lighting are shifted for each picture from a different angle. After that, the individual components are arranged in the appropriate sequence throughout the editing process.

The same rule generally applies while filming a series. The actors may perform bits and pieces from different scenes in one or more episodes, then take an hour-long pause while the camera and lighting are repositioned, and then repeat the process for another hour or so. The editing process ensures that everything is in its proper place once again.

When it comes to “episodic” series without a main plot, the network gets to determine which episodes air first. However, the episodes must be numbered in order to ensure that the television station broadcasts them in the appropriate sequence.


So, there is no universal standard or approach when it comes to filming TV shows. Some TV shows may prefer to film multiple episodes simultaneously, whereas others may film them weekly. It all depends on which schedule is the most efficient for the production members, set, and the cast.

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