Monday, October 25, 2010

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.

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