My Tivo has about had it with NBC

And so have I.

Rant Alert

I have really grown to hate NBC. Used to be my favorite network. The steady deterioration of ER (I quit last season around the time of the second Ramano-helicopter incident) is part of it, I suppose, but the biggest thing that drives me absolutely nuts about them is their stupid-ass time shifting games.

I’m sure the other networks do it, and I know some of the cable networks do it, but NBC doing it has about driven me mad. It’s like they’re programming for the dark ages over there, or something. What they do is mess with the start and end times of a lot of their shows. Specifically their Thursday night shows; I don’t know how much they fuck around with start and end times on other nights because the only other NBC show I care about now is West Wing. I know about Thursday because I used to have to record just about the entire evening. Back when I was using a VCR, them messing around with times wasn’t as big a deal. It was annoying, sure, never knowing exactly how much you had to pad Friends to be sure you got the final joke. Would you need five extra minutes? Three? Ten? Who knows? All to fool you into watching whatever piece of crap followed it.

Now that I have a Tivo to do most of my recording dirty work, NBC’s stunt programming has migrated from annoying to royal pain in the ass, so much so that I pray every morning that ER will be cancelled already so that I don’t have to keep recording it for my wife. The way Tivo works, it reads the programming information and schedules its To Do tasks accordingly. If two programs you have on a Season’s Pass overlap, it looks at how you’ve prioritized the programs and chooses accordingly, hopefully picking up the lower priority program in reruns. Because NBC insists on doing things like making ER start one minute before ten, Tivo sees a conflict and won’t record another show I have as a Season’s Pass that comes on in the preceding hour, CSI. Tivo will allow you to pad programs automatically, adding a set amount of time to the beginning or end of the show, but it will not (at least my model will not) allow you to shorten a Season’s Pass program. Therefore, every week I have to go in and manually record ER–missing the first minute or more–so I can get another program on another channel that doesn’t even technically conflict. Just because NBC wants to make it harder for me.

These stupid little games can’t actually work on people, can they? I just find this time shifting (or whatever the hell you call it) to be so fucking insulting to me as a viewer. “Maybe we can fool them into watching this crap show by pretending there’s no other channels out there.” Fuckers. Here’s an idea, instead of goofing around with when your programs start and stop, how about coming up with some interesting content? Last week, for example, Tivo was slated to record Joey until 8:40, because that was what the NBC programming information was for the show. The show actually ended a couple minutes after eight thirty, so I had several minutes of stupid Will and Grace or something just hanging onto the end of the show. No big deal, sure, except that I DON’T WANT IT THERE!

I realize it’s a little thing to go into my Tivo and manually record ER, or whatever, I just can’t stand that I have to do it because some stooge at NBC thinks this is a good way to get ratings. I almost never watch live television anymore now that I have a Tivo. I should imagine more and more people will be altering their viewing habits in this way (with whatever PVR technology they have). It would be nice if companies like NBC would realize that this is what we are doing, that we’re going to do it no matter how they feel about it, and so the least they can do is not make it more of a hassle for us to do so. Because this little issue, this stupid little issue, has made me leery of trying out new NBC shows, for no other reason that I’ve come to loathe NBC for acting like I’m a moron.

I can’t wait for ER to go off the air.


Yeah, it’s an annoying and insulting practice. I’ve got a ReplayTV and there’s the same issue here, where you can pad a scheduled recording but not shorten it. It’s less of a problem for me because the only show I watch on Thursdays is ER, but because of it, NBC would be the first network to go if there was a conflict.

The first couple of minutes of Scrubs always gets missed thanks to their complete lack of time consistancy.


Other than that, I can’t think of another NBC show I actually bother to catch.


NBC is still trying to party like it’s 1999.

Lucky for me I watch both Father of the Pride (which starts on time) and scrubs (which starts a few minutes before the end of Father of the Pride slot) so I don’t miss anything and those are the only two nbc programs I TIVO.

I don’t understand. You can TIVO multiple shows at the same time. Is it that you are trying to watch a third show on another channel? Or does your TIVO only have one channel? If so, upgrade to the two channel one. That won’t solve your problem, but it will keep you from missing other shows as you serve NBCs needs.

You can only Tivo two channels at once if you have a DirecTV Tivo. The standard units will record only one channel at a time, Robert.

Or if you have broadband you could find those shows you miss on the net and download them…

Yeah, I’m real happy I have the dual tuners that DirecTivo offers. Haven’t missed any shows with it.

thanks. Usually my directv stuff is worse than other services when it comes to recording multiple channels. I just assumed if I could Tivo two shows, so could anyone else!

Has there been any explanation for this?

I don’t really take issue with it, only because I watch Survivor then The Apprentice (which never starts before 8). I just find it ass backwards that they modify times seemingly ever week.

A few weeks ago, I assumed they started late because they wanted to fill out a 2 hour timeslot (8-10pm Central) with The Apprentice premiere, but didn’t have the footage to allocate the entire 2 hours so they had Will & Grace on for 15min after 8. I don’t remember if that was the case or if The Apprentice’s premiere was only 45min.

I’m surprised no one’s mentioned this before… you actually want Joey, but not Will and Grace?

The problem I have is that I have to pad the time by one minute in both directions on anything I record off of Sci-Fi. We record new episodes Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis which are back to back on Friday nights. That one minute of overlap due to the padding keeps the TIVO from being able to record anything else during that time block, unless I do it manually. This sucks, because I also like to record Jeremiah on Showtime on Friday’s as well…

Can’t you set it up to pad just 1 minute prior to SG-1 and 1 minutes after Atlantis? I think its the overlap between shows that’s the problem. Worst case the recording may end on SG-1 and you have to switch over to Atlantis to see the ending.

Or, can’t you just manually set up Tivo to record a straight two hour block on Friday nights? You lose the the nifty season pass but it would solve your problem too.

The other other option is to record Stargate SG1 and Atlantis when they repeat later in the night, which just happens to be right after when Atlantis ends.

As a former Friends watcher, I wanted to give Joey a chance. I abandoned Will and Grace a couple of years ago, happily. The show was rapidly deteriorating, with Jack in particular just getting worse and worse–not being funny, stealing other people’s bits on the show and not being reigned in at all…horrible. I think the straw was an episode with Will and Grace in a psychotherapist’s office talking about having a baby or something and complaining and crying for the entire episode. It was awful. At the end I said, “This is a sitcom?” And turned it off for good.

This is why, for my money, Seinfeld was always the perfect sitcom. I never, EVER, had to worry about running into “tonight, on a very special Seinfeld…”

The regular Tivo with a satellite receiver can only record one channel at a time.


I’d like to say a big fuck you to whoever decided to run over time slots for Law & Order shows at the end, because the final verdict isn’t at all important if you just wasted 40 minutes of your life watching the entire rest of the episode… </sarcasm> Thank god Tivo has a setting to record several minutes after the shows, and thank god the episode in question was the season premiere where they did two eps back to back and I caught the ending on the beginning of the following episode.

Only if you have a non-Tivo DVR from your cable company… =/