Ronald Held wrote:
Does it need to be economic ally successful in its initial run or after years of syndication?
Initial run. The magic number for syndication used to be 100 episodes. It seems to have dropped to closer to 80 recently, but if a show is not economically successful in its first season it will never make it to 80 episodes.
Temis is right that HBO/Showtime/Netflix may not care about ratings as much as CBS/TNT, but if they don't feel the show is attracting enough subscribers to justify its cost, then the show will still be canceled long before it reaches syndication. It seems like the production companies have been willing to take a one year hit in revenue to get over the syndication hump, but asking a studio/network to lose money for 4+ years for the hope of future syndication revenue is not going to fly.