Comments: Fast Friends

NBC has done this kind of timing shift before in an effort to prevent people from flipping channels. Force people to switch away from their 8-9pm program to watch the beginning of "Friends" (so that people miss whatever ads or previews are on the other station from 8:58-9pm) -- keep them stuck on NBC until 10:03, after the start of whatever 10pm program they want to watch. Not that this should matter, since if you're a good little NBC-watching drone anyway, you would never even consider that there are other channels.

And for the record, I have never found "Friends" funny. Its appeal is a complete mystery to me.

Posted by debby at May 8, 2004 10:28 AM

It's also to foil TiVos and DVRs. Most people who used TiVo to watch the show missed the final scene of the show.

Posted by Doug at May 8, 2004 11:49 AM

But see, that's the thing -- what benefit is there in trying to screw people who want to watch the show via TiVo? Isn't the goal for as many people to watch the show as possible? I mean, if you're trying to insure that people watch the commercials, then they should have warned people that recording the show with TiVo wouldn't work due to its long running time, in an effort to convince people to watch it live.

Of course, not caring a teensy bit about Friends, I didn't watch any promos for it, so maybe they did do that...but I kind of doubt it. Did they?

Posted by Francis at May 8, 2004 02:03 PM

One of the reasons they do this is to squeeze an extra four minutes of commercials into some extremely valuable real estate. A related outcome that I haven't seen anyone commenting on is the increasing frequency of one-hour finales (and season finales) of typically half-hour shows. At the time when the commercial space is the most valuable, sticking two half-hours together allows you to eliminate an end credits and an opening credits while still preserving the content.

Posted by Scott at May 8, 2004 04:25 PM

They didn't warn anyone, but it would seem to me that such a tactic can only work for so long before most people catch wise and, say, program their TiVos to record a buffer around each show they really want to see just in case the networks pull anything screwy.

You see where this is all headed, of course: full-on product placement in shows. One need only watch an episode of American Idol for evidence of that.

Posted by Doug at May 9, 2004 12:31 AM

Not if I can help it!

Posted by Francis at May 9, 2004 12:32 AM