Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Show that Never Was

Unbelievable. There we were, everybody in place to do the 10 o'clock show. Anchors sitting at the desk, makeup on, microphones attached, producer, audio, camera ops, prompter operator, chyron operator, director and TD. We got into the final 2 minutes before the show starts ... then 1 minute ... 30 seconds ... 15 ... countdown from 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... ... ... wait a minute --

... the movie we were "supposed" to be following was still ... on. Those of us in the booth sat there and watched incredulously as Lethal Weapon 4 continued the fight scene we were watching.

10:01 -- "Crew's clear."

10:05 -- Email from one of the anchors: "Clean show?" jokingly.

10:26 -- Producer stops slapping her forehead.

In the 7 1/2 years I've been in this business I've never seen that happen before.

So what happened? A few months ago our station made an agreement with Comcast to do a half-hour news and weather show at 10pm, 7 nights a week. The agreement has since been terminated, effective May 25th (about one week from now). Recently our show has been pre-empted by movies. We had a list of those nights once upon a time, but the list we discovered tonight was outdated anyway. Since control runs remotely between Comcast and our building (and not within our building) we trigger the breaks from the control room. Otherwise we have no communication with Comcast.

And nobody knew. Nobody in our building knew we had no newscast. Unbelievable.

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