How One Minute is Destroying Television
How One Minute is Destroying Television
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Imagine it's a Tuesday night and you're a fan of V, The Good Wife and Parenthood. Like any rabid TV fan, you have a DVR with the ability to record two shows at the same time. V airs at 9pm while The Good Wife and Parenthood come on at 10pm, so recording all three shows is easy, right?


This scenario is one I live through every Tuesday and the result is tragic. ABC, like many networks, has decided to go beyond the borders of traditional hours, so V runs from 9pm until 10:01pm. And that extra minute makes all the difference.

It means I can't record both Parenthood and The Good Wife because there's that single minute where all three are on simultaneously, thus causing me and my DVR to weep. I'm sure I'm not alone, because every network is doing it. The Bachelor, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and Modern Family on ABC, The Big Bang Theory on CBS and Glee on FOX all typically run one minute longer than they should, thus causing chaos for anyone who watches as much TV as I do when trying to plan out a DVR schedule.

It might seem petty to complain about one minute, but it's the dirty little secret that networks have slowly been using over the past few years. When I first got a DVR, I never had this problem. Half-hour comedies ran for 30 minutes, and hour-long dramas ran for 60 minutes. TV shows weren't 61 minutes long, and if they were, the network told the producers to edit out 60 seconds of material.

I understand why the networks play this little trick. It's done on purpose to penalize people like me who enjoy watching shows across all networks. They want you to stay tuned to their channel, so by running one extra minute, a network can keep viewers from turning the channel because they've already missed the opening of a show on a rival network. Sadly, it seems to be working, because there's no other plausible explanation for why the show that follows The Big Bang Theory, $#*! My Dad Says, is so popular.

It would make a lot more sense if they would give the extra minute to shows that actually need it and not just to shows with subpar shows following them. Maybe if 60 Minutes was called 61 Minutes, Andy Rooney might have enough time to reach a point.

The problem is easily solved. A show could run two fewer commercials, or better yet, two fewer promos for another show on the network. They don't need them, especially since the networks decided to start throwing up promos for other shows on the bottom of the screen during your show. And if that's too much, I'm sure most producers could find 60 measly seconds of their episodes to cut in order to make them fit properly into their time slots instead of spilling over into the next spot like a fat guy on a plane.

These extra minutes need to stop and TV needs to get back to fitting into neatly packaged 30- and 60-minute increments. Otherwise, TV viewers like me will be forced to make hard decisions about what to watch and what to skip.

As an opening form of protest, I've figured out what to do on Tuesday nights. I'm watching the two shows at 10pm that fit in their hour and leaving V behind. If ABC wants me back, all they need to do is cut one minute.

(Image courtesy of ABC)