Sunday, October 31, 2010

WMYD: Trying to Make Actual Shows Into Infomercials Edition

Welcome to a very special Halloween edition of Detroit Television Sucks.

Wolfman Mac's Chiller Drive In/Nightmare Sinema found its way to channel 20 in March 2008, and it was good. And by good, I don't mean "well acted" or "well made", but I do mean it was fun.

Then it stopped being fun:

"From Wolfman Mac's Facebook - February 7th, 2010 : Were just leaving ch 20 but staying on retro television. I got a call from ch 20 this week. They wanna charge me $1,000 per week to stay on the air. I said no way will I pay to be on. I'm not an infomercial. At the moment we only have RTV but I'm working on another local broadcast..."
(sourced from )

That's right; channel 20 wanted to treat real content like an infomercial. They don't appear to have replaced it with an infomercial tho. Which makes me wonder if Punk'd pays to put itself on the air.

You can still see the show on channel 7's secondary digital channel, RTN7, Saturday nights at 10, no thanks to channel 7 itself (other than to the extent they're responsible for keeping a contract with RTN, which is a good thing).

Friday, October 29, 2010

WDIV: Zombies Will Rise From the Grave To Destroy You Edition

The following advertisers (and NBC promos) were betrayed by WDIV and Marla Drutz by dumping their ads with Community to 1:36 AM in favor of "All 4 Halloween" last night:

Olive Garden, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, T-Mobile G2, L'Oreal Visible Lift, HP web connected ePrint printers, Old Navy, SNL, Leno, AT&T/Blackberry, JC Penny, Energizer, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Sunday Night Football, Virg Bernero, Oral-B Power Brushes, Due Date (movie), L'Oreal Revitalift Deep Set Wrinkle Repair, Ram 150.

Hope they're good and pissed.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

WDIV: You Won't Fall 4 It Edition

Remember, if you hate Marla Drutz and WDIV pre-empting real shows with their own badly produced crap, let their sponsors know you and others will avoid using those sponsors because of their sponsorship.

WDIV pre-empted Community tonight with "All 4 Halloween". This was primarily sponsored by Meijer and Oakwood, who specializes in you, whatever that means.

Others: Mazda, Gardner-White, the Dodge Journey, Chrysler Town and Country, Art Van, Family Heating, Cooling and Electrical (West and Downriver 734-422-8080, East 248 548 9565). Set decorations by Ray Wiegand's Nursery.

So buy a Ford, get your candy at Kroger, get your table at Ikea, and give birth at Beaumont.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WDIV: Daytime Gameshow Preemption Edition

Even viewers of daytime repeats of syndicated gameshows feel betrayed by WDIV's interruptions for infomercials.

Recent schedules were similarly bad: 10/26/10 infomercial, 10/27/10 Jeopardy, 10/28/10 i, 10/29/10 J, 11/2-3/10 J, 11-4 i, 11-5 i.

Monday, October 25, 2010

WDIV: The Current State of Primetime Preemptions (Halloween II Edition)

So, what is WDIV under the direction of Marla Drutz up to currently? Well, as it happens, they seem to have a special place in their hearts for crushing the holiday dreams of their comedy viewers. Last year, Parks and Rec's Halloween episode fell to the rusty scalpel of Minds of Medicine; this year, Community's Halloween episode (zombie based) is getting the bullet in the undead brain from something called "All 4 Halloween".

Google shows a page on WDIV's horribly busy and hard to navigate web site with the name "All 4 Halloween"; however, it is no longer available. Quite the proud piece, when its web presence has been removed. Here's something interesting;
I wonder if the new All 4 Halloween is just the one from last year? Wouldn't that just be great? It would be so in keeping with the spirit of WDIV's pre-emption; that little extra bit of pointlessness to it that really drives home the contempt WDIV seems to have for the people who actually watch shows from the network. I guess they learned it from watching NBC and the Conan fiasco.

But hey, Community will still be on. At 1:36AM. I guess poor WDIV is still stuck with only Thursdays to jam their half hours of crap into (if you ignore 7-7:30 and 7:30-8 every weeknight, which is apparently something WDIV always chooses to ignore). Oh wait, no they're not; this Saturday, the night before Halloween, they seem to have a repeat of Scared Shrekless (which is premiering Thursday from 8-8:30) followed by a repeat of last year's Monsters Vs. Aliens Halloween special, followed by Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. How fortuitous; perhaps there is time to point out this oversight to them and they can rectify their idiotic schedule.

Stations are pretty well insulated from being contacted by the people who watch their shows, but some of the contact numbers channel 4 puts out there are 313-962-WDIV and 313-222-0500. Or you can call the "Defenders" at 313-223-CALL-4; maybe they can shove some cameras into their own studio and get something done.

Maybe you often see Chuck Gaidica at the gas station. Perhaps you know people who work at WDIV. Perhaps you are friends with people in the programming department. Perhaps you have leverage with Marla Drutz. Maybe you can talk sense to them. Maybe you are one of those people at WDIV, and you're reading this, and you are coming to your senses.

No? Well, perhaps you can be sure to contact any local business sponsoring All 4 Halloween and assure them that their sponsorship of such idiotic programming means you will not be using their services or buying their products. Perhaps you can contact any sponsors WDIV bothers to leave in Community at its 1:36 AM slot and inform them that WDIV is throwing their sponsorship away to be skipped on a DVR or entirely circumvented by being watched online. I'll do my best to provide a list of them.

WDIV: A Recent Primetime Programming History (Summer 2010 Drama Edition)

In summer 2010, WDIV preempted the thirteen episode action drama Persons Unknown three times in the eleven nights the show aired. The first pre-emption was for whatever it is they're calling the Freedom Festival fireworks now. Irritiating in such a story arc heavy show, but the fireworks are an annual tradition, and they were happening live when Persons Unknown was on.

WDIV was not alone in treating Persons Unknown like crap; NBC itself didn't show episode 11 of 13, showing gymnastics instead. Various affiliates pre-empted some or all of the last four episodes for NFL preseason games.

The last two preemptions in Detroit, however, did not have a live gunpowder or football excuse. Those last two WDIV pre-emptions? They were, in each case, in favor of an episode of Wheel of Fortune and an infomercial. That's right; a gameshow which is entirely self contained in any given episode and the lowest form of television programming (sure, "the lowest form of television programming and an infomercial" would have been funnier, but that's not the point), were chosen to interrupt a very short seasoned show (and the only interesting drama on NBC since the first season of Heroes) where every episode builds on what happens in the previous episode.

The final WDIV preemption was espeically insane, as it was a pre-emption of the first half of the series finale, and didn't come up until the week before air. Keep in mind that the last two episodes were being shown back-to-back; while viewers could go online to see the missed episodes (presumably WDIV thinks everyone has broadband and a new enough computer for it), if they wanted to watch the series finale on WDIV, they had to go into the final hour of the series in the dark about the critical plot points revealed in episode 12. Because WDIV aired an infomercial and a gameshow. It's like Marla Drutz walked up to me and whispered in my ear: "Stop watching us; you'd be insane to trust us with something like The Event".

Stations are pretty well insulated from being contacted by the people who watch their shows, but some of the contact numbers channel 4 puts out there are 313-962-WDIV and 313-222-0500. Or you can call the "Defenders" at 313-223-CALL-4; maybe they can shove some cameras into their own studio and get something done.

WDIV: A Recent Primetime Programming History (2009 comedy edition)

WDIV, channel 4 Detroit, NBC affiliate, began a notceable (to me, at least) trend in the 2009-2010 season; they began to preempt prime time network programming with increasing frequency.

This came to my attention because they began interrupting the Thursday night comedy block, which I enjoyed three quarters of last season. Naturally, WDIV seems to find the show I can't stand on Thursday (the Office) to be uninterruptable. Specifically, the Thursday night comedy block was being interrupted last year by a non-comedy hospital based feature story (or stories; I certainly had no interest in watching the pile). I was not the only person to notice that Commuity and Parks and Rec were being interrupted.
Initiated regarding the November 19, 2009 pre-emption, mentioning the pre-emption a few weeks earlier of the Halloween episode of Parks and Rec, and updated for the December 3 Parks and Rec pre-emption:

In point of fact, it turns out that this non-comedy hospital based feature story was not even from WDIV's news department. If it can be said to be from anyone at WDIV, it would be said to come from its ad department.

Crain's (I think that post is by Bill Shea, but the layout is ambiguous; I'm going to proceed as if it is Shea who wrote it) looked into it and found the Minds of Medicine programming is an infomercial from the Henry Ford Medical Group. He felt that type of thing doesn't belong in a prime time programming block. But Shea also found the following "WDIV General Manager Marla Drutz disagrees with me and points out that there isn’t a big ratings drop-off in the Minds of Medicine slot compared to the prime time show it replaces." The blog post later goes on to say: "And the station is a victim of NBC’s lineup, which this fall provides the affiliate with 30-minute prime-time blocks only on Thursdays, Drutz said. 'Is that the right place to preempt? In a perfect world, probably not,' she said, adding that she’d prefer to have it next to a medical drama. 'We try to be real strategic about it and not hit the same show twice. I know if you’re a viewer of the show, it doesn’t matter.'
Drutz also pointed out that the Henry Ford content isn’t some run-of-the-mill informerical: 'We’re proud to air it. It’s produced like a network-quality program,' she said. "

Phenomenal work there, Marla. Way to support the people who want to watch the actual shows you have instead of the easily confused who think an infomercial from a private company is instead the journalism it's trying to pass itself off as.

Stations are pretty well insulated from being contacted by the people who watch their shows, but some of the contact numbers channel 4 puts out there are 313-962-WDIV and 313-222-0500. Or you can call the "Defenders" at 313-223-CALL-4; maybe they can shove some cameras into their own studio and get something done.

Detroit Television Sucks

Do you live in the Detroit television market? Have you noticed that the Detroit affiliates seem to have the programming acumen of a rotten potato? Congratulations! You too have been screwed over by Detroit television! From the idiocy of "problem solver" style non-news to interrupting programming for infomercials, Detroit television truly sucks. Feel free to mention how it specifically sucks in a comment to any given post on this blog, because you too can point out just how badly any given local station is making the local airwaves reek.