Tag Archives: Life on Mars

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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Heroes Coming Back

According to TV Tonight, Heroes is set to return April 23 at 10.30pm on ch 7. Its been showing in the US since Feb (Click on TV Tonight to read the article there).

As a Heroes fan, I look forward to seeing the show again. Until recently, though, the 10.30 time slot meant you did not get to see it in HD while ch 7 had its breakaway HD programming. There were some Thursdays where it was “replayed” on 7HD an hour or two later, but for the most part, having the HD breakaway meant that you could not see a show after 10.30 on the main channel in HD. I think it is more important to show what is made in HD in HD rather than having a regular HD breakaway for the sake of it. Both 9 and 7 have been guilty of this.

I do hope 7 will leave Heroes on, untouched at the 10.30pm Thursday night timeslot until it catches up with the episodes shown in the US. We are now 2 months behind, but gaps in the US programming means over time we’ll catch up. I still, to this day, cannot understand why 7 did not finish the whole season when Heroes was last on. There were only a few more episodes to go. The show has not been treated fairly by ch 7, being left to summer last year rather than brought on earlier in ratings season, only to have the last episodes left in limbo when ratings started. For me, the Heroes and Prison Break combination, together with ER in 9, meant there was actually some free to air TV to watch over summer.

I look forward to Heroes. I hope they also play Prison Break within a reasonable time after its US airing. Yes, I know I could download if I wanted to, but Heroes to me needs to be seen in HD. Even if I knew where to download it in HD, one episode would send my monthly internet cap over the top. Besides – if the networks did not mess around with these sorts of shows, showed them at a reasonsable time frame, did not bump them ,etc, noone would even think of downloading, would they?

And now is the time to point out this: ER on 9 used to get about 800k in ratings (off the top of my head). Heroes on 7, gets about 400k. Life on Mars on 10 gets about 500k. 7 puts Heroes on. 10 keeps Life on Mars on. 9 – who’s ER rates better than those two shows, still does not put the show on at any time. Just goes to show which network cares more for viewers.

Some Shows I Watch

My own TV viewing is a mixture of shows from each of the free to air networks and Foxtel. Most shows I don’t watch live, preferring to record them to watch later, filtering out the ads. Most week nights I am working till 6 or 7, after which I watch the 6pm news from ch 7, followed by Jeopardy on W on Foxtel – Jeopardy is a 15 minute show once you cut out the ads and bypass the obligatory game show “get to know the contestants” segment appearing after the first ad break. If I have been watching 7 news at 6 live, then I’ll normally leave it on for Today Tonight, but never go out of my way to watch the show. Occasionally I may flick over to A Current Affair if I have seen a story advertised I am interested in, but usually am unaware of what is on due to the fact I watch little ch 9, and when I do, it is recorded. Of all the channels, 9 is the worst to watch live waiting for shows to start late, finish late, and putting up with ads for trash shows like Wipeout or 20-1.

Last week, unmissable television for me was seeing Obama on Jay Leno (Friday night here, Thursday in US). I am surprised that one of the free to airs did not do a deal with Comedy Channel for that show only as I believe it would have rated well. He explained alotof what is going on in terms the audience would understand.

Next on the list, and this is not really in order, is Life On Mars (Thur, ch 10, 9.30). It is different to all other cop shows no at the moment – it reminds me of old cop shows as it should being se tin 1973. With the over-supply of procedural type crime shows on TV at the moment, Life on Mars definitely is different. In a way, I am glad it only has one season, so it does not get tired and fades away, like so many shows do these days. I’m praying ch 10 will keep it on, regardless of poor ratings.

I really enjoy the Mentalist (ch 9, Wed, 8.30 – really 8.35, April 1: 9.30). It does really well in the US, and should do so here as well, but suspect the fact it is on ch 9 and starts late every time its on doesn’t help. Simon Baker helps provide for a show that has some humour, unlike the majority of the other crime procedural shows. For the record, I don’t watch CSI or Criminal Minds, Cold Case, Without a Trace or Bones as they are too similar (in my opinion, but have tried them all at some stage).

I saw on “On Demand” on my IQ2 one day a show called Threshold (SciFi Thur 8.30). Its about an agency called Threshold who deal with alien contact with humans.  Like all the crime shows, there is a group of people within the agency who deal with certain aspects of the investigation, each with their own quirks. Again, its very different and definitely entertaining.

Another one on cable is True Blood (Showcase, Tue 8.30). Interestingly, I noticed that this is on Free to Air in NZ! Story is about vampires, with a similar story line to Twilight. There’s a good review on TV Tonight from a while back (www.tvtonight.com, then search for “true blood”).

I also watch “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Comedy channel. (Comedy, Thur 9.30). Initially, I started watching it prior to the US election last year when they were discussion the issues of the election. While Bill Maher can be quite extreme in some of his views, the show is quite enjoyable and generates numerous topics of conversation at our place.

And yes, I am one of the 2.1 or so who watch Underbelly 2 (Mon, ch 9, 8.35). It’s nothing like it was last year, and there is more nudity than there needs to be, but still I find the story interesting. Again, maybe its the fact that it is set in the 70’s and early 80’s, but to me, it is different to most of what is on TV at the moment.

Which leads me to Packed to the Rafters (Tue, ch 7, 8.35). It stands out because it has nothing to do with crime. Its about a family. What else is on TV like it? It’s funny in parts, you can relate to alot of it, and its not hard to follow either. All reasons why it tops the ratings for ch 7.

Also on 7, City Homicide (Sun, ch 7, 8.30). The episodes have been getting better leading up to the season finale next week. Initially, I thought it felt out of place being on Sunday night instead of Monday. I am glad ch 7 stopped advertising new night for that and Border Patrol as every time I’d see the new night ad, I thought they would move them again. No reason to, they are doing OK at the moment, despite the higher publicity CSI gets.

And, as anyone who reads my stories will be able to tell, I am an ER fan. I am disappointed with 9 for not showing ER during ratings season. After hearing of their announcement of their 2nd SD channel launching later this year, I have some hope that they’ll put ER on that channel (not to mention countless others that have bumped or simply haven’t shown despite having the rights). I hope this channel is here sooner rather than later, but realistically, my prediction is the first week of non-ratings in summer so they can experiment prior to the 2010 ratings year. Currently, ER season 10 screens on 111-Hits, with season 11 about to start in April. I’ve also watched season 8 and 9 episodes on DVD recently.

I could go on for a while here on this subject, but will leave more for later – maybe after Easter when a few of these shows have finished and new ones fill my viewing habbits.