One of the more annoying trends in modern television is the fact that shows in prime time rarely start neatly on the hour or half-hour. The bad news? Australian TV networks have no plans to change that.
TV Tonight asked the chief programmers from almost every Australian free-to-air network about this very topic (Seven was apparently too busy making episodes of My Kitchen Rules overrun to take part). The universal consensus? No-one cares about “junctions” — the TV biz terminology for fixed programming slots like 830pm — anymore. The news on commercial TV is likely to start at 6pm, but after that all bets are off.
Every programmer interviewed suggests that it’s more important that the details provided to electronic program guides (EPGs) are correct, so that people recording shows to watch later don’t accidentally miss the beginning or the end. We agree entirely that this would be great, but the reality is it rarely happens. Adding 20 minutes or more to the recording time is still a necessary precaution — even though the vast majority of non-sports programming isn’t live. No wonder TV ratings continue to spiral downwards.