Would you like to hear the end of that sentence above? Well, too bad. We’ve programmed it to overrun the allotted space so that the end would get cut off. Why would we do that? No reason, really. We knew that it wouldn’t fit and you wouldn’t be able to see the end, but we just don’t care. We’re spiteful like that sometimes. What, you think that’s ridiculous? Don’t just complain to us. Complain to the broadcast networks that do this crap to DVR viewers All. The. Damn. Time.
I watch a lot of TV. A lot. Even if you’ve read my TV recaps here in the blog, that doesn’t account for all the other shows I watch but don’t have time to write about. Like most people who watch a lot of TV, I have to DVR most of it to watch later. Even when I fully intend to watch a show on the same night it airs, I still need to record it because I have a bunch of series competing against each other in the same time slots. With that in mind, it really pisses me off when I record a show only to consistently find that the last few seconds get cut off when the network programs it to overrun the scheduled time slot.
The NBC Thursday night comedy block does this every single week. You know how ‘Community’ always has a little gag (usually with Troy and Abed) during the end credits? Just as it gets to the punchline… BAM!… Cut off. Even though I also record ’30 Rock’ immediately afterwards, there’s always a gap of 10 seconds or so between the end of one show and the beginning of the next – just enough for that punchline to get lost. Then the same thing happens again at the end of ’30 Rock’, and again at the end of ‘The Office’.
Lately, Fox has been doing this too with its Tuesday night lineup from ‘Glee’ to ‘Raising Hope’ (a really funny show that you should give a shot if you haven’t already) to ‘Running Wilde’ (a very disappointing show that doesn’t live up to all the talent behind it). This week, ‘Glee’ ran short while ‘Raising Hope’ after it ran long. So ‘Hope’ actually stretched across three different recording time slots. The beginning was tacked onto the end of ‘Glee’, the bulk of the episode was in its proper slot, and then the end ran over into the time for ‘Running Wilde’. How absurd!
This isn’t an accident. The networks know full well that they’re doing it. Why would they mis-time the programming of their shows on purpose? It’s an asinine ploy to annoy DVR viewers into watching the shows live without recording. They believe that if the end of one show runs over into the next time slot, you’re less likely to change the channel (since you’ve just missed the beginning of some other show) and will just stay on their network for the rest of the evening. The theory is of course complete nonsense. People will watch what they want to watch, especially in the DVR age.
Now, you’re probably asking why I don’t just set my DVR to tack an extra minute onto the end of each recording. Wouldn’t that solve this problem? No, because that only works if I’m only recording the one network. Like most people, I have a two-tuner DVR. It can record two shows at once, but no more.
So, let’s look at Thursday night. I record all of the comedies on NBC and ‘Fringe’ on Fox. If I set the NBC shows to run an extra minute each, then from 9:30 to 9:31 I will be trying to record three shows at the same time: the end of ‘The Office’, the beginning of ‘Outsourced’, and ‘Fringe’. This causes a conflict and my DVR will cancel one of the three recordings. It’s a no-win situation.
What’s the easiest solution for this one? Well, I can let the recording for ‘The Office’ run the extra minute and just stop watching ‘Outsourced’ entirely. It isn’t that funny anyway. Then I’ll only have two recordings during that hour.
Did you hear that, NBC? You’re effectively driving me away from watching one of your new shows. Great job! If it weren’t for this problem, I’d be inclined to give ‘Outsourced’ more time to see if it improves. But now… screw it. I don’t need the aggravation.
I beg all networks to stop playing these games. Program your shows to play during their scheduled time slots where they belong. As it is, you’re only driving away viewers and hurting yourselves. That means lower ratings and less of that precious ad revenue that keeps you on the air. This is no way to run a successful bu…