Sweeps

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In the US, sweeps are periods used by the network to determine advertising rates for the quarter, based on ratings. The four sweeps periods are currently February, May, July, and November. Networks typically air more first-run programming during these periods, as well as an increased slate of miniseries, TV movies, and specials. Regular programming also tends to include more frequent guest stars and plot twists in an attempt to drive up ratings. News programs often save sensational stories for sweeps. Furthermore, most season finales conveniently are placed at the end of May Sweeps.

Although February, May, July, and November are normally looked at as the primary sweeps months, large markets are technically in an eternal sweeps period which tabulates results from a lesser amount of markets.

Sweeps Stunts

During a sweeps period, many television networks undergo huge ploys for ratings in their shows. Examples include the uttering of the word "shit" on network television on ER, NYPD Blue, and Chicago Hope.

Current Sweeps Periods

  • July 2005 — June 30 to July 27, 2005
  • August 2005 — July 28 to August 24, 2005
  • September 2005 — August 25 to September 21, 2005
  • October 2005 — September 29 to October 26, 2005
  • November 2005 — November 3 to November 30, 2005
  • December 2005 — December 1 to December 28, 2005
  • January 2006 — January 5 to February 1, 2006
  • February 2006 — February 2 to March 1, 2006
  • March 2006 — March 2 to March 29, 2006
  • April 2006 — April 6 to April 26, 2006
  • May 2006 — April 27 to May 24, 2006
  • June 2006 — June 1 to June 28, 2006