Does a Hiatus Hurt?

NBC's hit show Revolution returned after a four-month hiatus. It was at the top of its momentum when it took a break, and even though it still earned a first place victory for the network upon its return to the TV schedule, it suffered a ratings drop. Other shows in the past crashed from their peak after a long delay in new episodes -- Heroes is one of the most infamous. Does too long a break spell doom for a television series as viewers forget plotlines and lose interest in characters?

While that may be true in some cases, there have been success stories that might prove that theory wrong. Lost managed to maintain strong viewership after lengthy breaks thanks to riveting cliffhangers and strategic recap episodes to refresh the memories of faithful viewers and entice new ones to jump into the complex story.  The remake of V had a terrible start, but was saved (for a few seasons at least) due to a creative makeover during a much needed hiatus.

Television series in general have a natural hiatus in-between seasons, and if the program is any good, it manages to draw its audience back. The key is a combination of strong marketing, good word of mouth, and a whole lot of luck. The quality of the show might seem to be an important factor, but we all know that some terrible series still manage to gain viewers through some incomprehensible good fortune.

Will Revolution continue to be a hit?  Will other shows suffer ratings dips after lengthy interruptions to their programming schedules?