>My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who experienced a loss of any kind from the storms that swept through Tennessee last night.
We had storms both Friday and Sunday evening and as I tuned into local stations for updates on what watches were in effect and what path the storms were taking, I noticed something. There seemed to be an odd pattern to how the local affiliates would break into network programming to give us severe weather updates. Several times throughout the weekend, I heard the phrase “Well, we don’t want to keep you from your regular programming so we’re only coming in during commercials.”
But it was interesting as to which shows got pre-empted. Grey’s Anatomy did not get broken in to locally. Nor did the competition on NBC. I did notice our local CBS affiliate eventually did break into programming to report the progress of the storms. The local FOX affiliate felt that we needed that umpteenth repeat of Seinfeld and kept going with it. Of the four, that was the one I could see creating the least uproar among the fan base should the show get taken off for something so minor as deadly storms with possible tornadoes. (That last sentence brought to you by sarcasm).
Now, I don’t work for any of these local affiliates, but I do have to wonder–at what point is it a big enough emergency or developing situation to break into regular programming? Oh sure there might be an uproar among the fan base for missing a new episode of a hot show like Grey’s Anatomy, but you know, you can repeat it later. And I know that the local affiliates have to walk a fine line between informing the local viewers and their obligation to the community they serve and honoring the contracts they have with the network. But a deep down cynical part of me wonders had it been a repeat of a show or one that wasn’t going to win the time slot anyway, would the affiliates have broken in with coverage of the storms?