The question probably never occurred to viewers in the 1970s and 1980s, but suddenly it is highly relevant: exactly how much worthwhile entertainment content was there in shows like “Charlie’s Angels,” “T. J. Hooker,” and “Starsky and Hutch”?
The Sony Corporation and its production studio, Sony Pictures Television, which controls the rights to those and many other relics of a distant era of television, have come up with an answer to that question: three and a half to five minutes.
That’s the length Sony has shrunk episodes down to in order to create what the company hopes is an appealing new business in retooling old shows for a new era of entertainment. Sony even has a name for these shrunken slices of television nostalgia: minisodes. - NYTimes, "Coming Online Soon"
Cross-reference with my post Television Not So Dumb As Television Tells Us To Think It Is:
Much prime time television has become phenomenally complicated, to its great benefit. My wife and I both enjoy Alias and CSI (only the original, not the spinoffs), and we are frequently asking each other what something means, because if you so much as get up to get a drink, you'll miss something, something that might change the course of the entire episode.
I recently watched a MacGyver episode straight through. Wow, was that boring. It's hard to put your finger on it while the episode is on, but not much really happens.
It's tempting to get nostalgic and believe that we've lost something by not sitting through such programs. However, I'm inclined to the interpretation that I value my time more than I used to, and if I am going to sit through a TV program, it ought to have more substance to it than a standard show from the 1970s or 1980s did. Some things really have gotten better with time.
(That said, I would say that if you were trying to cut an episode from that era down to size, it's probably more like ten minutes than five.)