How do networks decide when to interrupt?

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by danderson400, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. danderson400

    danderson400 Member

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    I wonder how the networks decide when to interrupt regular programming for a special report? Does it depend on the story being covered, etc?
     
  2. realityboy

    realityboy Well-Known Member

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    Lots of times, the network will decide to do a special report and leave it up to the local stations to decide if they want to interrupt for it or not. It really depends on the story.
     
  3. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

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    Ellicott...
    I'd be surprised if the local stations have the option not to air a special report during prime time since the networks are supplying their programming. If the networks deem it necessary to inject a special report during prime time I would assume that the locals are under contract to follow suit. However, local stations are free to inject their own special reports at any time without approval from the networks.
     
  4. realityboy

    realityboy Well-Known Member

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    Prime time would likely not be optional. Daytime special reports, interrupting syndicated programs, are usually optional from the network.
     
  5. AntiPC

    AntiPC Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    According to my wife, ABC will look to see if General Hospital is being broadcast. If so, they'll go ahead and interrupt for a trade deal announcement with East Timor.
     
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  6. longrider

    longrider Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    Prime time you wont have a choice as they interrupt the program with the special report. This is real enjoyable in the Mountain time zone as we see it live and then again during the hour delayed programming that was interrrupted
     
  7. Fixer

    Fixer Fixin' it!!

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    It's funny you mention ABC. One day last month, I just so happened to have it tuned to "Live with Kelly & Ryan". Suddenly, the "ABC Special Report" graphic splashed across the screen. I was expecting something serious, like a terror attack, school shooting, or that we started bombing Iran or North Korea. Well, it was none of the above! ABC broke into regular programming for freaking British Royal baby announcement!! Seriously???? Curiously, I started checking other networks, including cable news channels, to see if anyone else declared this a World emergency that the public needed to be made aware of. Turns out, ABC was the ONLY network to break into regular programming. Why did they think Americans would care? I certainly didn't, and all of my friends and family didn't give one rat's patootie either. So, who was the target audience? It's because of nonsense like this that I make sure my TV isn't tuned to ABC in the morning.
     
  8. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time

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    I think the local affiliates interrupt more often than the networks. Usually it weather related
     
  9. Jul 8, 2020 #9 of 30
    danderson400

    danderson400 Member

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    I'm sure that it depends on the story. I remember one night, when a plane(can't remember which one) went down, during the Sunday night movie on ABC. At first they preempted, but later on they did something i had never seen before-they announced that they were resuming the movie at the point of where ABC News had interrupted. Maybe(and correct me if i'm wrong) they could do this because that movie was already scheduled to run longer than 2 hours, and thus Eastern and Central (& Mountain?) time zone stations had already planned on a delayed start to their local news(much like we see during the football season). Now that i think of it, it was USAir Flight 405 which could not gain lift due to icing.
     
  10. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

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    Ellicott...
    I'm pretty sure the networks send out the program ahead of time and the local stations record it to air later. They can just hit the pause button and resume it where they left off, but most of the time they won't in order to keep the program schedule intact to avoid any spillover into other time slots. When they record the show the log tells them where to insert commercials and how long the break is. My brother-in-law used to work for AT&T Long Lines ages ago and when he worked the night shift they would just sit and watch the network feeds all night. I assume they still do it the same way today, but it's just an educated guess on my part.

    Lots of times there are special local events that pre-empt a network broadcast and the local station will air it on another night, usually on the weekend. I've seen that happen with local sporting events like high school regional finals and such. It can also happen if there's a special news bulletin that airs live. It may pre-empt a show in prime time on the east coast but the west coast schedule is uninterrupted for any network shows. In order to keep the weekly schedule in sync on both coasts the east coast stations will air the show on another night
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  11. MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know, the major broadcast networks rarely send out programs ahead of time. The stations air the programs as they are being fed or they delay due to local needs. As with most other things, there are exceptions to the rules.

    Interupting the network feed at the network level is something not taken lightly. When important news breaks, calls are made up the corporate chain, from the news producers on duty, to the head of the news division (or person on duty for that) to the head of the network. At the same time, calls are made by the news technical people to the network operations technical people that a "flash on" is about to happen and to enable that facility. It's a balancing act of how quickly can verified news be gotten on the air vs making sure accidental interruptions don't happen. And yes, over the years, accidents have happened.
     
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  12. trainman

    trainman Nice to see you

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    If a new episode of a scripted series gets preempted on the Eastern/Central network feed, it's much more common that they'll air a rerun on the Pacific feed and save the new episode for next week. Airing the episode at a different day/time would generally be confusing and frustrating for viewers (and would mean that the network would be dealing with a second show getting preempted by this special broadcast of the first show).

    (I can also confirm, from my days interning in TV station master control suites, and working in closed-captioning, MScottC's statement that affiliates don't get broadcasts of network programming in advance, except under special circumstances.)
     
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  13. That Don Guy

    That Don Guy Now with more GB

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    This happened quite a bit with The Price is Right this season because of the impeachment-based hearings; when an episode ended up being pre-empted in the east, CBS quickly put up a repeat to air in the west.

    The one time I remember when a network did do this: back when ABC had Monday Night Football, the show that would air before the game in the east aired after the game in the west, so ABC would make it available to the western affiliates in advance. (At one point, what was then San Jose's ABC affiliate would air the show at 4 PM on the day before the game.)
     
  14. danderson400

    danderson400 Member

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    Fox did this once, with a Cardinals-Raiders NFL game(called by Kenny Albert and Tim Green); the game lasted so long, that Fox had to preempt "King of The Hill" that night, so they aired a repeat in the west. Maybe that one or the 49ers-Cardinals game in 2004, that caused Fox to rethink it's strategy on the 7pm hour and use that as buffer. So it's not just special reports that cause this issue.
     
  15. danderson400

    danderson400 Member

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    A network doesn't want to interrupt in prime time, because it costs them money. So they are very careful about it in prime time.
     
  16. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    Now that we have CNN, etc... and since I record basically everything I watch(*), I wish networks would stop interrupting programming unless WWIII was hitting _where the show was being broadcast_.

    (*) Ironically, CNN is the one thing I regularly use the Tivo buffer for/leave it playing live with volume way way down overnight.. (sometimes CSPANs also, but CNN is the first choice)
     
  17. MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

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    Not everyone has cable, and it is part of the local stations' mandate to serve the public interest, and news (breaking news and all) is there to serve the public interest.
     
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  18. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

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    Ellicott...
    Gotcha. I was just going by what my brother-in-law related to me back when he worked for AT&T, but that was probably about 50 years ago. I'm sure the way they do things now have changed considerably over the years.
     
  19. That Don Guy

    That Don Guy Now with more GB

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    "Once"? I remember the KOTH episode scheduled for the Sunday before Thanksgiving in 2001 being pre-empted in the east because football coverage ran long (Cardinals-Lions, I think), so a repeat aired in the west, although they forgot to remove the "And now, an all-new King of the Hill" tag that aired right before it - and since it was a Thanksgiving episode, Fox shelved it for an entire year. In fact, Fox would have had to shelve it again in 2002 had KOTH not been moved to 8:30.

    Not only that, but the 2001 Christmas episode was nearly pre-empted as well; NFL coverage ended around 7:45, so Fox aired the opening credits to KOTH, then a commercial, then the last five minutes of the episode, and aired the entire episode as planned in the west - and then announced that it was not going to air it again that year, until so many people complained that they aired it in place of another Christmas special a few days before Christmas.
     
  20. danderson400

    danderson400 Member

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    With ABC, i don't think they've ever canceled America's Funniest Home Videos for any of their sports telecasts, and before then, Life Goes On either. The closest they ever came was the 1990 Skins Game, but it ended shortly before 7. Maybe i'm forgetting NASCAR, but maybe not. Most of the time, they shifted the sports event to ESPN.
     

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