Tuesday, December 13, 2005

ESPN Jumps the Gun

I just experienced a minor annoyance. I ignore most of the talking heads on ESPN, but I enjoy watching Pardon the Interruption. So I turn on the TV at exactly 5:30 today, only to find Kornheiser and Wilbon in the throes of an Artest-related debate. Now hang on just a second. I watch the show almost every day; I know it comes on at exactly 5:30 every day. Thankfully, my TV was already on ESPN, so through the magic of DVR, I was able to rewind and find the beginning of the program. It started at 5:27 and 24 seconds. So one of two things is true: either it was a one-time slip-up by someone who miscalculated how many commercials to air during "Around the Horn," or ESPN is trying to not-so-subty lure viewers into turning on ESPN before 5:30, just as they try to keep viewers on after 6:00 by pushing PTI's "Big Finish" into a Sportscenter segment. Broadcast networks started airing shows two or three minutes past their alotted slots last year as a "TiVo buster," i.e. to teach people recording a 60-minute episode a lesson, namely, to set their DVR's to record 5 minutes into the next show as well. But I've never heard of a show coming on early.

Of course, it's also possible that "Around the Horn" had either not enough content or not enough ads (or both) to fill 30 minutes, and this is a sign that points to the show's imminent demise. If this is the case, all is forgiven.


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