Thursday, August 04, 2005

Less Peacocky

If they mated

An anonymous tipster (we'll call him "Andy S.") sent in this link about NBC suspending its dreaded timeshifting practice, hoping The Dish could squeeze a blog post out of it. Here you go, "Andy", and thanks for writing!

At first I was pleased by this news, as timeshifting has long been a bane in my carefully orchestrated television recording regiment. Then I realized, this is less a gesture of good will meant to bring back the millions of viewers who've disobeyed their "Must See" edict than a concession to their limited drawing power. In the world of timeshifting, might makes right.

This was first made apparent last fall when, after years of bottom-dwelling, success went straight to ABC's head of scheduling. Suddenly, they were in the time-shifting business that NBC had engineered back in the days when people used to watch it. They extended the running times of Desperate Housewives and Lost because they could.

But now NBC realizes that C.S.I. ranks higher on most TiVo-users' Season Pass priority lists than E.R., so that even if E.R. is more desired than its on-the-rise, direct timeslot competitor Without a Trace, it won't be recorded because its 9:59 start time overlaps with C.S.I. for one minute. Look who's getting screwed by timeshifting now.

Still, worse than timeshifting are all the networks (mostly cable) that regularly overrun their scheduled times without alerting the good people at TiVo. FX, MTV and Comedy Central are the worst offenders as I've repeatedly missed the last minute or two of The Shield, Rescue Me, The Real World, Reno 911!, Stella and The Daily Show (don't cry for me, I've figured out how to extend their recording times, but it's still a nuisance). In May, The WB angered Gilmore Girls fans when that show's season finale ran 30 seconds long, thus preventing DVR addicts from seeing the proposal that the network had been hyping all week (for once I was happy to be on vacation from my TiVo).

So thanks, NBC, but it's too little, too late. The damage has already been done. But give me back the 59 minutes you stole from me on May 19 and then you might earn a little good will.


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