To my dearest executives in charge of primetime scheduling at ABC television,
First, I would like to congratulate you on your resurgence in ratings over the course of the last two seasons.
On your part, there have been some shrewd decisions made regarding original programming. You have taken some risks, signed on some interesting new shows, and had a bit of luck. Okay, well, most of it has been luck. But you've done it. You've taken a network whose only real "hit show" of the last several years was a trivia contest emcee'd by an annoying little simp of a talk show host (and summarily run that into the ground as well by airing it five nights a week), and returned it to the glory that has eluded it for more than a decade.
However, this message is not all about praising you. Please allow me a moment to express my utmost disdain with an alarming trend that your network has taken part in over the course of the last season and a half.
This trend to which I refer would be the horribly annoying recap/clip shows that you seem to like to air about twice a season for some of your most popular shows. Off the top of my head, I can recall recap shows for Grey's Anatomy, Lost, and Desperate Housewives. Perhaps there are others, but those are the only ones I know about offhand.
I don't understand the rationale that is involved in the decision to play such a waste of airspace. Last week, alone, each of those shows was replaced by a clip show. Is it because you were too lazy to play a repeat episode? Some of us would have liked a repeat. Pick a highly rated episode and re-air it.
I realize that last week was the final week before May Sweeps and you don't want to air all the good final episodes in a month that doesn't count toward calculating potential advertiser revenue for the next season. But it does not grant you the right to play this cheap sort of "out" and count it as programming.
Would you like to know what I think is the worst part of this clip show fascination you guys and gals seem to have? It's the fact that because it has never aired before, you are able to list it in programming guides as "new" and not a s a "repeat." This screws up those of us who rely on TiVos and other digital video recorders to catch our shows because we're not around to watch them ourselves. Our DVRs interface with our local cable providers' programming schedules to find out what's new and what's not. When our systems see that Grey's Anatomy is "new," they will record it. We wind up happy because we see a "new" episode of the show in our Now Playing list only to discover it's a damn clip show!
I'm sure you're not worried about it. The recording of a clip show to a DVR still results in ratings for you (I'm assuming that if they can count downloads of shows from iTMS in ratings, which they do in a roundabout way, then they have probably found a way to figure in DVR-recorded episodes as well; correct me if I'm wrong). But don't think this means we actually "like" your damn recaps. WE DON'T. This would be artificial inflation of ratings. It's cheap. You probably don't care, but, for once, think about us and not your "bottom line."
Care to know why this is such an annoyance? Because some of us are big fans of shows like G.A. and we raise them to the tops of our DVR priority lists so their recordings will trump anything else that may come on that night. I'm not exactly sure what shows may have otherwise been on that I would have wanted to record; but, rest assured, that I would have rather recorded something like FOX News than see a recap show (well, that may be pushing it, but you get my point). I'm willing to bet a high number of viewers just automatically deleted the show from their DVRs the second they realized they had been suckered in.
With this season winding to a close, I realize there is little you can or would be willing to do about this phenomenon in the immediate future. But, for the upcoming television season, would you please, please, please reconsider this course of action? Eliminate your clip/recap shows entirely. Air a repeat episode. Please. We beseech you. Take a step back and consider this as though you are one of us... just a normal, everyday viewer who wants to watch their favorite shows.
I'm begging. I don't do that often.
P.S. - I would also like to kindly request that you not embed autorunning audio/video content on ANY of your Web pages. Some of us prefer silence or our own music that we tend to already have playing on our computers as we're surfing. There's no quicker way to make us leave a Web site than by hearing your autorunning crap over top of what we have playing already. Before you say, "well, you can pause the video," allow me to inform you that the "pause" button does jack. I clicked the damn thing a half dozen times with no results. You may want to talk to your Web developers about this one. Make those asshats earn their keep.
P.S. #2 - When the hell are you going to air another episode of In Justice? My wife and I miss it.