One of the hazards of living in this strange part of the country is the constant conflict of interests. This curious region is inhabited by both the very rich and the very poor. Despite their best efforts, the rich cannot seem to eradicate the working class from the county. This plays havoc on the local television stations who want to appeal to all of the people locally. While one might be sympathetic with their situation — trying to serve such a diverse crowd –it is unfortunately impossible when they constantly make such bad decisions.

The current trend seems to be to break into any show for “news” about any celebrity event, even when the station has no information at all, and much better information has been available for an hour online. They don’t just say the message and return to programming, but they keep the camera on their vapid talking head who makes a mess of trying to sound dramatic while repeating the same dull non-information over and over.

For instance, it evidently merited an hour of breaking coverage to inform the breathless world about the genetic ancestry of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby. The anti-climatic end to a national game of “Mystery Date” in which all of the possibilities were “the Loser”. Does it really spike your channel’s ratings to be one of a hundred information outlets? Are there really that many nail salons and hairdressers all watching right now? Does anyone else care?

Television out here is delayed 3 hours from the time everyone else gets to see it. It makes the new push for having a show “web community” less effective here, since the forums and blogs all fire up talking about the latest episode hours before it even airs here. The added irony that makes me laugh is that the shows are mostly filmed out here, and the actually community of people who contribute to the show are kept from contributing to the “web community” by that wicked trick of the Earth’s rotation.

This can lead to utter disasters, such as the one that struck the Angry Fiancee. It has, much to her disappointment, been announced that this is the final season of The Gilmore Girls. This was announced with only a few episodes left, and watching those became a big priority for her. If the show were broadcast at the same time across the country, the episode would have aired here normally. However, since it was delayed three hours, the coverage was broken into by coverage of a local brush fire. She hoped that the break would take two minutes, then return to show, but they kept circling their helicopter over the fire for hours. The only news they had to say was “Griffith Park is on fire. If you live in Los Feliz and the fireman haven’t pulled you from your house already, please run away from the flames.” I’m sure the residents of that neighborhood appreciated this channel repeating that in a dull uninventive way all night, especially since their power had already been lost three hours previously.

I think the key for modern TV directors is to look in their book and read the whole “interruption” script. There are two lines:

1) “We interrupt this program to bring you this important announcement.”
This should now quickly mention things like ‘The President has died, the country has been attacked, or the Germans have unconditionally surrendered’. Short of that, any message should be run as a crawl on the bottom of the screen.
2) (This is the most important part) “We now return you to your regularly schedule program already in progress
Return me to my regularly scheduled program! I cannot understate how important this is! I don’t watch your channel to see a fire in Griffith Park. If I wanted to see that, I would walk outside and look at it myself. It’s on a big hill, and clearly visible to everyone.

This is why your channel gets zero ratings around here, and you have to beg Warner Bros to let you run the only decent show you schedule (which has now finished it’s run). This is why your channel couldn’t even sustain a tele-novella — the single most popular television format in the Western Hemisphere! Return me to my regularly scheduled program!

And so now I’m forced to deal with the other channels in town that, while not making quite the novice mistake of that particular channel, mix and match their programming in a way that guarantees that no single person watches their channel all day. For instance, they scheduled NHL hockey just before the Preakness. The current fad of cross-promoting your shows means that during the intermission breaks from top-level hockey — that most genteel of hobbies — they cut away to the rough and tumble blue-collar beer-chugging world of million dollar horse racing. Not so much the racing itself, but the discussion of the current crop of fashions that are on display around the track.

Since this particular hockey game ended in overtime, and there is no greater joy to a hockey fan than overtime hockey in the playoffs, one would expect the program manager to stay with hockey and switch to the Preakness once the sudden death goal was scored. Especially since the horseracing coverage consists of two hours of stalling before the actual two minute race. They couldn’t spare 10 minutes from their “tributes to past horses” and “interviews with a horse hair French-braid specialist” to let the viewers who have already invested two hours into the game watch the actual finish of it? Nope. On to the boring horse manure.

Of course, as I finish writing this, the channel did cut into the middle of an interview with “breaking news” showing the final 5 seconds of the hockey game. As if any hockey fans were still watching this channel, and hadn’t thrown a chair through their TV in frustration already anyway.

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