Tag Archives: Ellen

Scheduling Frustrations

It’s great to see that channel 9 is now offering late night news at 11.30pm. For many of us, that is a better time to catch up on the news than 10.30 is on channel 10. Last night, I flicked over to 9 to watch the news at 11.30, only to find I had missed the start of it and therefore the first of the main stories which are usually the most important.

This is an ongoing problem for both channel 7 and 9 where programs after 11pm start early, while programs after 7pm start late. If you want to see all of the news on 9 scheduled for 11.30pm, I suggest you tune over at around 11.20 to make sure you don’t miss any. If you plan to record it to watch later in the night, then be sure to set your recorder to take into account those extra minutes before.

Channel 7 has been doing this with 30 Rock for months, which has started as early as 11.20 while still showing on both printed guides and EPGs as 11.30. On the flip side of the equation, channel 9 on Monday night, the last episode of Underbelly did not start until 8.39 and Eleventh Hour that followed Underbelly did not start until 9.45 – it was shown on the schedule as 9.30. That’s 15 minutes late. On that particular night, it was mae worse by having 3 minute HomeMade “Sneak Peaks” both before and after Underbelly, not to mention countless pop-up ads as well as extra ads during the ad breaks.

Last night, whilst working late, I left on 7HD in the background. At 12.53am, I heard the start of Deal or No Deal. After checking the 7HD TV guide on yahoo, I saw that Deal is scheduled to start at 1am. And, the show after it on 7HD – A Country Practice (and being on HD, you can see the rather low quality of the 80’s video compared to now) started at 1.17am – 13 minutes ealier than the program guide and EPG suggests.

The networks have to realise that an EPG is as good as useless if their programs do not match the time on the EPG. Most viewers rely on EPG times to either remind them of when a show starts or to record it to watch later. At least channel 10 keep their EPG times up to date most of the time. What is the problem with ch 7 and 9 – why can’t they keep their EPGs up to date? Surely the one that does stands to benefit the most from viewer satisfaction.

Both ch 7 and 9 need to be called to account for this archaic practise of running programs late or early. It is nothing more than blatant disrespect for their viewers, and such a strategy would only work if viewers watched the same channel all night. They don’t. They all have remotes. They all change channels many times during the night, and they all get frustrated at shows starting late or starting early.

Having said all that, here is my guide of what time you can expect a show to really start based on its advertised time.

Scheduled Time channel 7 channel 9 channel 10
5.00pm 4.57pm 4.57pm 5.00pm
5.30pm 5.27pm 5.27pm n/a
6.00pm 6.00pm 6.00pm 6.01pm
6.30pm 6.30pm 6.30pm 6.30pm
7.00pm 7.05pm 7.05pm 7.00pm
7.30pm 7.35pm 7.35pm 7.32pm
8.00pm 8.05pm 8.06pm 8.02pm
8.30pm 8.35pm 8.37pm 8.33pm
9.30pm 9.34pm 9.38pm 9.32pm
10.30pm 10.31pm 10.33pm 10.31pm
11.30pm 11.25pm 11.25pm n/a
12.00am 11.55pm 11.57pm 12.02am
12.30am 12.25am 12.25am  
1.00am 12.53am 12.55am  
1.30am 1.18am    

A bit of fine print:

These times are based on my own TV watching experience based mostly on
Monday to Thursday nights, although I have noticed late schedules
running on weekends as well, but not as bad as the weekdays. Times are
a rough average, off the top of my head. I have not sat down and
recorded all scheduled times for example, but have commented about many
of them on TV forums like
www.tvtonight.com.au or www.throng.com.au. Obviously these times
may vary from night to night, but for the uninitiated, can act as a
simple guide. Examples considered here include: ch 9 Mondays with
Underbelly and the show after it as much as 15 minutes late, The
Mentalist on Wednesday nights usually 7 or 8 mins late, Ellen at
11.30pm and now 12am starting early, 11.30 news starting at 11.25, 30
Rock on 7 starting as early as 11.20pm, Deal on 7HD starting at 12.53am
instead of 1am, Heroes from 10.30 – 11.25, always missing the start of
Beauty and the Geek which was on 11.30 Thursdays, and seeing it finish
around 12.20, missing the first stories on 11.30 news on 9, missing the
start of Hot Seat on 1st night and subsequent nights, seeing Antiques
and Mash start 4.57 after 4.30 news finishes, Life on Mars on 10
starting at 9.33 Thurs (now 10.30 Fri) on the dot according to the EPG,
Masterchef starting exactly on time in accordnace to the EPG, same with
Talkin’ Bout my Generation, Rove despite being after reality shows
normally starting as per EPG at say 9.06pm (although printed as a 9pm
start), not above here due to odd time, but Letterman on 10 at 11.15pm
is always on time as well, as is the show following. Yet 7 and 9 are
running early by 5 or more minutes. Obviously it has to do with the
lower volume of ads after 10.30, but the networks would know that
already and their guides should reflect it. Running late from 7 to
10.30pm though is a deliberate action as both A Current Affair and
Today Tonight finish 5 minutes late. Additional lateness, especially by
channel 9, can be attributed to extra self promotion ads thoughout the
night, especially when they through in sneak peaks like they currently
are for HomeMade.

Note that in the case of ch 10, their EPG times actually reflect the times above whereas ch 7 and ch9’s do not and only show 8.30, 9.30, etc.

I have not included ABC, SBS or Foxtel here as they usually run on time with up to date EPGs and therefore saw no point to include them on the table.

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Go 99 Preview Update

In yet another example of just how hopeless the Channel 9 programming department when it comes to keeping viewers informed, as of this morning (Thursday April 30), there is no information in the yahoo TV guide online as to any of the planned 9HD day time break away next week. According to the advanced guide for 9HD posted on TV Tonight, extra 9HD beak away day time programming starts from this Sunday May 3.

It is not uncommon for the 9HD channel program guide not to be up to date in yahoo (perhaps this is because yahoo is tied up with channel 7), but you’d think channel 9 might go to a little extra effort to ensure there was adequate advertising and programming information out there in relation to this new programming. Otherwise, noone will know about it and day time viewers will most likely stumble upon the alternative shows when they try to watch Ellen and the View in HD only to see a movie on instead.

A quick check of the TV Guide that 9 MSN links to reveals the same – no alternative 9HD programming during the day. The only place I can find (admitedly I have not looked everywhere, but yahoo and ninemsn are two very high trffic locations so I would have assumed they keep there information up to date) this information in relation to 9HD is in TV Tonights’ advanced guides section – where you can see free to air TV guides as far as two weeks ahead. Usually, there is little point to look that far ahead into what channel 9 plan to show due to frequent programming changes, but this new 9HD programming is a big deal and a big step in the lead up to the new Go 99 channel later this year.

I might add, that I have not seen advertising for the programming either – not on the ninemsn web site or channel 9 itself. Maybe they are keeping it low key for now while they make sure there are no bugs, but surely, for the sake of their advertisers, they would want to attract viewers? Unless the ads will be free or endless 9 self promos (which would make the channel close to unbearable to watch).

At least there will be a day time alternative to talk, soapies, cooking and kids shows for now. If only they started the break away at 9am to provide an alternative to the morning shows. We don’t really need Kerry Ann and the mindless infomercials and content in HD – do we? 9am – 11 am are the worst 2 hours on commercial free to air TV, other than 2-4am of course. Before we had Foxtel, we would not even turn the TV on at our house until 11am for the news.

Hot Seat Update

I have written enough about this show, so I do not see the need to write another 500 words about it now!

My wife and I watch Hot Seat for the questions only. As we have IQ2, we record it rather than watching live. We were fast forwarding through the obligatory chat with each contestant, and the painful questioning of what the contestant will be locking in.

Now, we leave the whole show on fast forward, giving us about 3 seconds to answer each question – a similar time you get on faster paced quiz shows. We speed up the fast forward during the ads. The show now takes about 5 minutes to watch, and fits perfectly into the first ad break of Jeopardy, finishing in time for questions to resume after their 3 minutes of speaking to contestants.

Pretty sad when you can condense a full 33 minute show into 5 minutes (yes, it always starts at 5.27 – don’t know why the EPG can’t reflect that).

And on the subject of Hot Seat, what is th epoint of putting iton at 11.30pm as well? What a waste, especially since that the printed TV guides will not reflect these changes. And those who watch Ellen late night will be very annoyed.

Go 99 Preview

It seems that channel 9 is experimenting or possibly testing what they may be doing with their new channel Go 99 set to launch in August.

From next Sunday, there will be many more hours of break away 9HD programming during the day. The break away programming starts at 11am and concludes at 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. There will also be break away hours on Sunday, as well as the usual small offering after 10.30pm Monday to Wednesday. on Thursday nights, the HD channel is used to broadcast the opposite football show to the one shown on the main channel (in Sydney, NRL is on the main channel, AFL on 9HD for example).

Programs include: 11am Just Shoot Me, 11.30 Seinfeld. 12pm Movies. 2pm previous nights’ 7.30 prime time show or similar, 3pm Bewitched, 3.30 I Dream of Jeannie double – till 4.30.

Unfortunately, though, this means that you will not, for the short term, be able to see Ellen, The View and ET in HD. I do believe, though, that if a show is available in HD, it should be shown on the HD channel in HD. I can understand why they might be testing the ground using 9HD, but hopefully this is not a sign of things to come. Hopefully. GO 99 will be the home of all these entertainment shows, and 9HD will be left to simulcast 9’s shows that are in HD. Only when a show on 9 main is not in HD should they ever consider breaking away – which, once Go 99 is up, an HD break away would mean three ch 9’s.

With channel 9’s very poor programming reptuation in recent times, the launch of Go 99 could be their saviour giving the network the chance to air many shows that they don’t feel comfortable to air simply because they are not instant million plus ratings hits. Let’s hope they don’t treat programming on Go 99 the same way they do on their main channel.

Let’s also hope, that the launch of Go 99 will be carried in regional markets as well. So far, NBN has not offered any of 9HD’s break away programming. I some areas, WIN has.

When will 9 show ER?

The final episode ever of ER screens in the US on April 2. In Australia, the last episode we saw was episode 1 of season 14 back in late January which puts us something like 40 episodes behind. In mid 2008, ER was taken out of 9’s primetime line up as it was not performing well. The remainder of season 13 was played out during summer after 10.30pm on Wednesdays but failed to crack top 20 on those nights.

While the show is not to everyones’ taste, it definitely has a following and a fan base who fell let down by what is happening at ch 9 with the show. Furthermore, the quality of the show has been fairly consistent over the years. A show would not last 15 seasons if it was not any good.

Channel 9 should show ER. Its not going to rate like Underbelly or CSI, but it will do better then some of the shows currently on 9. And as they own the rights to it, does that not mean they have already paid for it? Therefore no expense to show? Not sure on that point, I don’t know how that side of things works.

They could play it out 10.30pm on a weeknight, perhaps with a few double episodes or have it on twice per week so the finale could be on TV before the end of this year. I would put it to you that, if it was played at the same time each week and promoted from time to time, ER could attract enough audience to justify the move. There’s alot of hype at the moment about the series ending, with George Clooney (he was in the original episodes) and other big names returning in last episodes. All the US talk shows including Ellen and the View – both seen on ch 9 – have been talking about ER.

Surely quality drama like ER would do better for 9 than the likes of Bridezillas – which has already been scene on Foxtel? And its not just ER – what about Survivor fans waiting for the new series which is doing very well in the US. And I think 9 have the rights to the Bachelor as well – also doing well in US (and just finished with controversy).

In my opinion, if a TV network – free to air, cable or otherwise – have the rights to air a programme, they should have a reasonable time to air the show or they lose the rights, and either another network can take it on or the DVD release can be allowed. I think it should be within 12 months at the most of the date the show airs in its country of origin.

Maybe 9’s 2nd SD channel may help these shows get an airing, but then again, they’ve been doing breakaway 9HD programming for a while showing repeats and other obscure shows.

Please, channel 9, tell us when you’ll be showing ER. Tell me the remainder of episodes won’t be spread out over the next 3 or 4 summers. If you don’t want to air it, sell the rights to 111-Hits on Foxtel who are currently showing episodes from season 11 5 days a week, and at that rate, if they had the rights to the rest of the seasons, could finish the series within the next 5 months. That would keep the fans happy and pave the way for the release of the 15 season box set in time for Christmas this year.