Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ABC Again...

Once again, I'm pissed at ABC.

As I'm sure some will remember that back in August I wrote a blog post about how incredibly angry I was at ABC for making a decision to take off their regular daily programming in order to run old reruns of General Hospital just because an actress who played a character named "Brenda" years ago was returning to the show.  (

As bad as that decision was, today's was far worse. For absolutely no understandable reason whatsoever, ABC decided yet again to take off all their popular, regular daytime programming in order to run old reruns...this time under the guise of showing "fan favorite" couples.

I tried to call ABC in New York to complain about this absolutely horrendous decision, but of course was unable to get through to a human being. After making my way through a catacomb of various automated messages, I first got through to a line that simply rang for over 10 minutes without anyone picking it up. Next I went through the maze of various machine voices to be taken to yet another machine that told me how much ABC valued my comments, but then disconnected me before I had an opportunity to leave any. Next I worked my way through a different path of machine voices and instructions and finally found my way to a receptionist to whom I explained my issue. She said she would put me through to programming, but instead she just switched me to that same automated line from before that "values the comments" that it won't record.

Now even more angry and frustrated, I called back yet again, I followed the same machine path that had gotten me to a receptionist before. First, I explained to her that I did NOT want to just be put through to that same recorded comment line that doesn't take comments. I told her that I wanted to actually SPEAK to a PERSON who could explain the rationale behind this horrible programming decision. I further explained to the girl that I had worked in television and although I understand the decision of the network to occasionally air reruns on various holidays when they feel that people would either not be home, or would not want to watch television (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, July 4th...hell, I'd even possibly accept it on Groundhog Day) it makes no sense for today. I wanted someone to explain to me the significance of the 27th of October that makes it "couples day" on ABC, necessitating the running of six year old episodes.

Ari's Wedding - 10/27/84
Now, on a purely personal level, the date of October 27th has some "couples" significance to ME, as it just so happens that today would have been my 26th wedding anniversary, but I highly doubt that commemoration of my long-ago wedding had anything to do with this horrible programming choice. Besides, if they really wanted to do some sort of couples commemoration, they should have had their editors go through their old episodes and put together an actual historical montage that traces that couple's background…then perhaps broadcast it on a day that has some sort of accepted couples-related significance. Valentine's Day? Sweetest Day, perhaps? Instead, for reasons beyond any rational understanding, they chose to simply air old reruns at the end of October, containing characters that are long-gone and in some cases even DEAD, on the pretense of doing some sort of fan-pleasing favor? It makes no sense whatsoever.

What are they thinking at that network? Don't they even think to have anyone read the fan message boards for their shows? If they had, they would know that the fans absolutely do NOT want to see episodes that are years old and no longer have any significance. And frankly, if ABC does NOT have someone reading those boards, the question then becomes why not? Why would a programming executive not want to know the opinions of their show's most devoted fans when making these kinds of decisions? The only conclusion I can draw is that they really couldn't care less what the fans think...and that's a sad statement.  Another sad statment is that in the end, that receptionist too ended up putting me back to that same 'won't-take-your-valued-comments' line.

Once I realized that there would be no getting through to the network, I decided to call the local affiliate, even though I logically knew that this was completely a network decision and not something the affiliate stations would have any say about.  But I thought that perhaps they could at least give me the reasoning and as the
network wouldn't let me vent to them, I decided I'd vent locally. When I got someone on the phone from WISN, I was finally able to talk to actual people.

At first this receptionist started to blow me off too, and simply read me the announcement that they had received from the network explaining WHAT they would be doing, but not why. But then when she actually heard what I had to say, she said got very pleasant and said that she agreed with me...and then she connected me to someone in programming.

The programming guy also was somewhat non-receptive to what I was saying initially, but by the end of the conversation, he was completely agreeing with me and we had a very nice conversation. He said that he agreed that it was a terrible decision, but that unfortunately the affiliate had no choice but to do what the network directed. He then said that personally he thought that all programming decisions should be made the in the Midwest instead of in New York City...

Personally, I couldn't agree more.

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