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The Decision To Re-Air Preempted Shows

by Ken Foote

Lately, we have had a number of local and network news special reports that have aired and depending on how long they air depends on whether we can reschedule them or not.

As we know, news events occur when they occur, but typically have a higher percentage of occurrences during weekdays. News department refer to them happening during either the morning news cycle or the afternoon cycle. When they happen during a weekday, the shows most likely to be affected are Jeopardy, Young & The Restless, and The Bold & The Beautiful. And when they are not aired in full or not at all, we hear about it!

The way we determine if we can reschedule and reair one of these shows is based on several factors: how much of the show has already aired, whether we have the rights to reair, and can it reair in a time period not authorized by our contracts. In addition, the residual compensation, or royalties, paid to the actors, writers, directors, and others covered by collective bargaining agreements with such labor organizations as the Screen Actors Guild, play a major role in determining our decision.

During the morning news cycle, interrupting Jeopardy and/or CBS Daytime Drama lights up our phone like a Christmas Tree! The reason is that these shows are carefully produced and require the viewer watch each day to keep up with either the contestants on Jeopardy or the dramatic storylines on CBS Daytime Drama. So if an episode is missed completely or airs only partially, people tend to get a little irritated!

If we are granted a waiver by CBS to reair Young & The Restless or The Bold & The Beautiful, it usually airs overnight. However, viewers can always watch these episodes online at http://www.cbs.com in full without commercial interruptions once they have aired on the West Coast. The grant of this waiver ensures us that we won’t trigger unnecessary residual payments for performers covered under SAG/AFTRA rules.

In the case of Jeopardy, like with other syndicated shows such as Wheel Of Fortune or Dr. Phil, if an episode is completely missed, we can reair it that same day in most cases. If a portion has already aired or is about to air, then that gets to be a sticky wicket! When in doubt, we won’t reair a show just to be on the side of caution.

When CBS prime shows are interrupted for severe weather, we can only air that portion of the show that did not air. We cannot go back to the start and reair. These are generally done overnight after Craig Ferguson.

Over the past 30 years, I have talked to thousands of irate viewers when their favorite show is pre-empted for breaking news. I definitely feel their pain but even being an avid TV watcher myself, I remind myself that “it’s just TV!”

Keep those calls and emails coming in, folks! See you next time.

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