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When Fox (TV) Deviates From Their Schedule

I enjoy watching the Super Bowl. I like the commercials, the excitement, and I like seeing the final outcome of the football season. I don't usually watch many (or any) other football games besides that. From time to time, Fox airs football games. Fine. I enjoy some of the programming on Fox, especially if it's on Sunday from 8-10pm. I like seeing the newer "Simpsons," "Family Guy," "King of the Hill," and "American Dad" episodes. What I don't enjoy is when a game runs over the allotted time, and it and its after-game report spill over into the timeslot that was supposed to be occupied by other shows. This happened a few weeks ago.

Before the new season of "Simpsons" et al began, I faithfully anticipated some newer episodes (not brand new, but fairly recent) between 8 and 10 Sunday night. Two weeks in a row, I was disappointed to see that although the "Simpsons" block had been scheduled, what actually aired was sports-related. There was no mention of the fact that they were running over, obscuring what I really wanted to watch with programming I wasn't as interested in. The first week it happened, I kept turning the TV back on to check to see if the sports stuff was over. At that point, that was all I could do. I couldn't rely on the schedule, a TV Guide, or the internet. The true programming information could only be gleaned from the television itself, checking what was on and when, as Fox decided to make things up as they went along. Finally, there was a blurb at the bottom of the screen at 9:45 or so, saying "Fox News" would air immediately following the sports program. So they skipped the entire Sunday block. Next week, once I saw they were doing it again, I didn't bother to come back and check. I knew there was no hope.

Sure, TV isn't the end-all-be-all of the world. Sure, some missed programs aren't that big a deal. They weren't even new, right? So why do I care? Because Fox had told its viewers through the programming information that they would do one thing (broadcast the "Simpsons" block) and then did another (let the sports programming run over). This has happened before. And I will not accept that there's no solution. "But if the game runs long, what else can they do?" Move to a different channel.

Fox could have a backup channel for just such "emergencies." Either default to the backup whenever a program overlap occurs, or create a new Fox Sports channel that is explicitly for sporting events that tend to run long. Or broadcast the sporting events earlier, or later. That way, the sports viewers get to watch what they want, and whoever enjoys Fox's "regular" programming is also happy. There's always a solution to a problem. And the best first step toward such a solution is to visibly document in the programming area just how long a game "might" run. An up-front message about how "In the event of such and such, blah blah blah." At least then you'd know to expect such a scenario beforehand, and not end up blindsided with disappointment.

Bottom line: As a faithful consumer, I absolutely despise bait-and-switch.

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