Yet again, NBC has determined that golf is more important than news. Last Sunday, east coast viewers did not see Nightly News because golf was on. But here's the catch: the golf tournament actually ended before 6:00 PM. At that time, NBC decided to air an extra half-hour of gratuitous golf interviews and highlights. At 6:30, New York's local NBC affiliate naturally opted to air their local news (because they keep most of the ad revenue from that broadcast), so Nightly News got squeezed out. The reason for NBC's decision is obvious: The golf audience is larger and younger than the news audience, so for NBC this was a no-brainer. They earn more ad revenue from a half-hour of golf than they do from a half-hour of Nightly News. I'm sure the NBC execs had already decided beforehand that even if the tournament ended on time, they would add on 30 extra minutes of gratuitous golf programming. Although local news was scheduled to air at 6:00 and Nightly News was scheduled to air at 6:30, NBC had no intention of sticking to their schedule. For NBC, it's all about the greens. And the green.
I wonder why NBC even bothers to air a weekend newscast, anyway. Their weekend broadcasts are comprised largely of re-run stories and additional footage taken from interviews that already aired the previous week. Look--there's Diane Swonk again. And Dana Telsey. And they're always wearing the same clothes as they were on Thursday or Friday. Maybe these women need to do laundry more often, but it's more likely that Nightly News is recycling their interviews. (I guess recycling interviews is part of NBC's mandate to go green.) This past Saturday, Nightly News recycled almost all of Anne Thompson's Friday story about the upcoming Presidential vacation on Martha's Vineyard. On Friday, Thompson said, "Even the Island's famous black dog knows there's a new dog in town." (Cut to a picture of Bo.) On Saturday, she said, "Though the black dog rules this island, even Bo has his own t-shirt." (Cut to a Bo t-shirt.) Interviews with Sam Bungey of the Vineyard Gazette and Phil McAndrews of the Offshore Ale Company were used on both days. But amid all the repetition, Thompson nevertheless managed to fulfill one of NBC's primary mandates--major name dropping. "And the streets are rife with rumors about celebrities who may join the first family. Will Oprah show up? How about Tiger?" On both nights, we saw plenty of videos and photos of Oprah, Tiger, James Taylor, Spike Lee, Bill & Hillary, Carly Simon, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. (Too bad the producers couldn't figure out a way to start a rumor that Sarah Palin was going to visit the Obamas--she's a hot property right now.) This was a story that didn't deserve to air once, but Nightly News stretched it to five minutes over two nights. And I'll bet that if Nightly News had actually aired on Sunday, we would have seen a third night of "Anne Thompson's Martha's Vineyard's Name Dropping Celebrity Obamathon" (also known as "The Vineyard's Got Talent"). Well done, NBC. They just keep making Nightly News more and more indistinguishable from Extra and Access Hollywood, the shows that follow Nightly News in New York. Maybe those three shows should just combine for one big 90-minute celebrity lovefest. I only hope that Miley and Britney and Lindsay bring a change of clothes to their Nightly News interviews so that they don't appear to be wearing the same outfit on two consecutive nights.