I was cruising around Reddit the other day, just burning some screen time, when I stumbled on this little tidbit:
According to this post TBS airs reruns of Seinfeld faster than the shows were originally broadcast to gain extra ad-time to sell. This notion isn’t new, radio stations have been speeding up songs for years to help cut run times, but I haven’t ever heard of it for television. If it’s true (and in the link it does say that it was reported by CBS news on 2/20/2015) then I’m not surprised. The changing ecosystem for television has seen a drop in ad revenue as audiences have found new ways to consume the shows that they like. Since they can’t charge the same for the current air time they have it makes sense to try and create more of that air time.
The way networks used to do this is by cutting actual run time – the shows would actually have additional cuts made to remove a minute or so that could then be sold for commercials. This used to bother me a lot, especially when I was a kid. I’d specifically remember something in an episode and then in syndication it wouldn’t be there. When I finally did find out that the shows were getting trimmed it was relieving, but also still sucked because the shows was shorter.
An example of this is an episode of Diff’rent Strokes called “A Haunting We Will Go.” It was the Ghostbusters episode where Arnold and Sam think the house down the street is haunted. It looked like this:
At the end of the episode they find out that the ghost is fake and that the man who supposedly died in the house was an inventor who faked his death. More HERE including the whole episode. In the episode, when the ghostly things would begin, the doors to the parlor would slam shut. Once everything has been resolved at the end they all go for ice cream and walk out with the parlor doors doing one final “slam!” When I was a kid I was convinced that this meant that the house really was haunted and that the door was open for more spooky business. Problem was, when I watched the reruns that last slam was always cut out. I started to think that it was cut because it was too scary and then that I was imagining it completely. Many years later I got confirmation that I had remembered it correctly when I finally saw the complete episode again.
If TBS is only speeding up the episodes then it might not be that bad. You’ll see in the video below it’s hardly noticeable. But if they’re speeding up and trimming…? Well let’s hope there’s still enough episode to watch.
What do you think about this? Fair game in a declining market? Total greed from corporate overlords? Let me know in the comments.
See you next time.