Time Team is the only example I'm aware of where proper scholarly research was created as a by product of popular television on a regular basis.
As the article states, "It is to the Channel’s credit that it did this [pump £4M into British archaeology]] despite much of that outlay being channelled into post-excavation work that never appeared onscreen."
As well as the 225 scholarly reports, plus additional articles, on the dig sites. They exceeded almost all universities and archaeology units in the UK on an individual institution basis for output and quality of work. It may have been a TV series, but the folks doing the work were serious archaeologists who did real work, making a real contribution.
The technical advances used in archaeology illustrated over the past twenty years of this program have been phenomenal. While a trowel is still mandatory, the use of geophysics technology has advanced and assisted in fieldwork in so many ways. Highlighted by Time Team, its a shame to see that this won't be as public anymore to such a wide audience.
To me it feels like a case of a network sabotaging its own show. Step 1: be incredibly inconsistent with air times and play around with dates, step 2: dumb the program to capture a larger audience by making sweeping changes, introducing younger presenters and disturbing a well-oiled team that people have come to love, step 3: ax show when ratings fail to climb because bogus strategy didn't work.
A terrible loss for archeology, not just in the UK. Twenty seasons is a massive achievement though.