Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, January 02, 2021

priming the time
It could have been a disaster, but it turned out to be something of a ratings boon: The rain-threat rescheduling of the 2011 NHL Winter Classic from its original 1pm start time to 8pm later that same New Year’s Day resulted in a success, to the point where the league and the network are considering a permanent shift to primetime.

While that’s great for the National Hockey League, I have to ask: What does this last-minute shuffling say about the state of network television?

What was lost when the time change was announced is how little disruption it caused to NBC’s schedule. Essentially, the network admitted that its entire Saturday was wide open, with nothing else on its air that couldn’t be pushed out of the way in favor of this hockey showcase. That’s on a broadcast channel that’s available in pretty much every U.S. household — the most massive of mass media.

Such a situation would have been unimaginable even ten years ago. Primetime on network TV used to be rarefied territory, every day of the week. Some sort of original programming used to occupy those Saturday slots between 8pm and 11pm, and ad rates would reflect that. With that kind of investment in place, there’d be no way that any sporting event would easily be re-slotted that same day.

But the Winter Classic’s easy transition from afternoon to nighttime illustrates just how much things have changed. What did the hockey game supplant? Back-to-back-to-back reruns of “Law and Order”. In other words, no original programming at all. And NBC is far from alone in this Saturday dead zone: ABC and CBS also air junk fillers. Acknowledging that audiences don’t tune in on weekends — or, at best, just catch up on the week’s DVRed queue — the networks have abandoned any attempts at “must-see TV” on Fridays and Saturdays.

Like I said, this is great for hockey, which continues to gain ground in televised exposure. But it also calls into question the actual value of that televised coverage. If the airtime is so empty on a regular basis, is it really worth occupying? Maybe live events like sports or other entertainment options are ideal for network schedules during these times, but overall, it’s not a healthy indicator for the boob-tube business.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/02/2021 03:22pm
Category: Hockey, TV
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Let’s review a dictionary definition of the word “brunch”:

[noun] a meal eaten late in the morning, combining breakfast with lunch

Pretty straightforward, especially that “late in the morning” part. Heck, that in-between time, from about 10am until noon, is what underlies the portmanteau created from br(eakfast) and (l)unch.

So, to all you New York restaurants and patrons touting “brunch” well after 12pm, to as late as 3 or 4: Stop it. You’re not brunching by that preposterous hour of the day. I don’t care how many eggs benedict and mimosas you’re scarfing down — if the sun is starting to set, you’re either late-lunching or (God forbid) supping. And really need to get more of a move-on to your day, frankly, especially considering that brunch is already intended to be a leisurely ease-in to the day.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/02/2021 01:35pm
Category: Food, New Yorkin', Wordsmithing
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