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Writing for the Screen by Anna Weinstein

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Deciding what to Write

▶ By Kira-Anne Pelican

Researchers at Bournemouth University, in conjunction with BT TV, recently claimed to have cracked the code for the perfect television show. Analyzing fifty of the most popular series from the last decade, they found that episodes containing 65 percent drama, 12 percent shock and surprise, 9 percent comedy, 8 percent action, and 6 percent romance made for the most compelling viewing.2 Closest to matching this formula was the Downton Abbey episode featuring Sybil’s death (Season 3, Episode 5). Whether we’d soon tire of every episode of our favorite television shows conforming to this dramatic mix isn’t known, but what is clear is that audiences across the world have clear preferences for certain kinds ...

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