TV networks, cut it out!

by , under advertising, personal

If you own a DVR, I’m sure you’ve run into this problem. You schedule out your shows, recording a couple shows in one hour- and you pull up your DVR screen later that night (or the next day) to discover that one of your shows didn’t record because one of the shows wasn’t just an hour long. It was an hour and a few minutes… screwing up anything you recorded after.

Back when I first had my DVR, I used to see it all the time with Grey’s Anatomy. It was one of ABC’s highest rated shows, so they would have it run a teeny bit long.

Last night, because Mad Men was scheduled to run four minutes over, my DVR didn’t record Once Upon a Time.

So why do networks do this? Advertising is the most important part of television. Television ratings aren’t to show how popular a show is, it’s to tell advertising agencies what shows attract the demographics they want- including the prized 18-35 male demo.

So networks try to boost their figures any way that they can. That includes taking a popular show and have it run a little long. Ratings report how many people watched the beginning of the show, which reports at the half hour and hour, not when the show actually starts airing. So if Mad Men is 1 hour and 4 minutes long instead of an hour, those four minutes go a long way to making whatever aired after it look positively stellar.

But it screws up DVR schedules- and I live for my DVR. It’s the only way that I can relatively keep up with my favorite TV shows and write.

Honestly, TV networks, I’m on to you. I expect that shows like American Idol will run over now and then- they’re live. But when I see networks regularly try to inflate their ratings… it makes me less likely to watch the show live and to watch other shows on their networks.

Am I the only one bothered by this? Or are there others with this First World Problem?

  • Jillian Hanes

    It may be a first world problem, but it is quite annoying.  I hate it too.

  • I’m totally with you on this one. Also a problem in many cases (like mine) where our cable companies have dumb DVRs, is that those extra minutes get cut off. This happens frequently at our house with Nick shows. They insert a promo for some terrible show like Bucket & Skinner in the last commercial break of a popular show like iCarly or Victorious which causes the popular show to go over and then get cut off. 

    Even if you know this is happening and set your DVR to “extend record time 3 minutes,” you run the risk of missing the first 3 minutes of another show.

    My personal pet peeve with my cable company’s dumb DVR is when I have a conflict of of multiple shows so I manually choose the ones I want to record and the ones to skip only to have it revert back to the original schedule and record the wrong shows. I realize there’s a page I can go to where I can “set priority” but that only makes a difference both show are part of a “series recording.”

    “We can put a man on the moon, but …”

  • Of all the first world problems… this is probably the one that annoys me the most.

  • Oh wow- that’s extremely frustrating!

  • Oh man, I totally hear ya on this. My problem is what Shemp describes above. Our shows are cut off at the hour since that is what they are scheduled for, so we do not see the minute or two over on DVR if the show does last more like 1h2m. This is really annoying when we watch Psych on DVR, for example, and I don’t get to see all the funny out-takes at the end. Boo. Psych is one thing, but if that happened while watching a show like Breaking Bad, and I missed the last minute, I would be really pissed. It worries me that you say Mad Men went 4 minutes over since Breaking Bad is on the same channel!

  • Jessica Ingles

    Totally agree! What’s up with that?!?!?!?!?

  • You’d think that for technologies sake the networks would stop messing with us!