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: http://boards.nbc.com/nbc/index.php?showtopic=834394
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.