NBC Thursday Pardons the Interruption

There were no new episodes this Thursday, instead NBC aired a six-episode marathon of The Office. Even though I had nothing new to look forward to, I was ready to see some of the marathon episodes, particularly ‘The Sting,’ and I was thinking of blogging about the highs and lows of Office quality over the past. However, when 9 o’clock rolled around, instead of another cold open, it cut from scheduled programming to the studio of our NBC local affiliate, WXII.

Now, for those of you who are not in my viewing area, let me explain what’s been going on lately at WXII. They’ve been trying to up the number of their morning show viewers, so they created a new position, called ‘Girl Talk,’ and made it into a competition to create buzz. Women (and some men) from all over the viewing area (and some from outside the area) auditioned for the role, and they narrowed it down to ten, then five. Then, at 9 p.m. March 3, 2011, WXII interrupted NBC’s highest-rated comedy to air the results of the ‘Girl Talk’ competition. And no, it wasn’t just a ten minute review of the candidates and the announcing of the winner, it was an HOUR LONG awards show. ONE WHOLE HOUR devoted to a local morning talk show. They created short  videos for every candidate, they joked about male-female relations and getting up early, and they held awkward interviews with the various nieces, sons, daughters, nephews, etc. of the candidates.

…and I thought the Oscars ran long! (Ba-dum ching!) But in all seriousness, it was the strangest thing I’d ever seen. Something that should have been revealed to the only audience interested (the middle-aged women who watch the morning news) was moved to a different time slot and a different, rather uninterested audience (people who watch The Office). It also brought forth a bunch of haters, as evidenced by the comments on the WXII website, and things I heard ’round town the next day. It was interesting to witness a locally-broadcast “awards” show, but it was not the best placement by WXII. Even though I’m happy that Mary Beth won, the ‘Girl Talk’ ceremony alienated members of their viewing audience who were only trying to find a little entertainment on a Thursday night. I just hope it doesn’t backfire for them…’cause ‘Girl Talk’ itself is a neat idea.

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