TV Networks Shift Times, Run Longer Shows


Television networks are lending new meaning to time-shifting: TV shows don’t necessarily start or end right on the hour or half-hour anymore, screwing up some viewers’ video recordings.

More programs are running an extra minute or two longer to keep viewers from switching channels. Shows recently padded include CBS’s “Without a Trace,” Fox’s “Renovate My Family,” ABC’s “The Bachelor” and NBC’s “ER,” according to Nielsen Media Research.

The tactic has been used on and off for a few years but has grown more popular as competition in network television stiffens.

As a result of the overruns, people who use VCRs and digital video recorders like TiVos end up clipping the beginning or ending of a show. For some, the time conflict could also prevent a later show from being recorded.

TiVo Inc. officials say they have fielded a small number of complaints about the network time-shifting. This season, the company began advising its 2 million subscribers to watch out for such time conflicts and to adjust their recording settings manually.

I’ve been noticing this occuring a lot lately. My TiVo ended up not recording the West Wing a couple of weeks back, since Lost didn’t end until 9:01. Of course, this brings up one of my bigger gripes with TiVO. Namely, it’s inablility to allow you to start recording a program late. Sure you can start recording early, or stop late, but unless you do it completely manually, it is not possible to start late and or end early.


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