Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on...

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.

Miscabclogo 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.

Kevin Apgar
Concerned Viewer

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.

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What's a clip show? Is that where the family gets together and recalls what a crazy year it's been and they show little clips from the past season? Do they still do that? I haven't watched a lot of shows other than 24 (which doesn't do that THANKYOU VERY MUCH) and so I thought that died with the Facts Of Life.

Thanks for making me glad I don't watch TV and for the fact that I rent LOST on DVD instead of trying to keep up with ABC's annoying Lost Schedule.

Have a good day Kev.


I agree in the 70's ABC was the bomb. You also forgot "Kill the Hobbit, Kill the Hobbit" show.


I hate those stupid clips episodes with a burning passion. Every time they play those I feel like chunking my remote at the TV. Sure, there might not be anything else of value on but I still won't to know beforehand if there won't be a new episode on. Now you've gotten me all worked up!


Aww, Kevin -- they're torturing you!


Amen, brother, Amen!


I find them annoying too, but their real goal is not about you, it's coaxing in new viewers who feel too far out of the loop by this point in the season. Veronica Mars would probably really benefit from a recap clip show (if they promoted it enough) because it's even more serial than GA, Lost, and DH feel to me.


oh, and those autoplay music/video sites drive me crazy! It conflicts with my music too. They should get rid of that and make it an option to turn on if you want it.


No joke. My girlfriend and I seriously contemplated hurting our television when we realized Grey's was a stupid "re-cap" episode last week. But it's wrong to hurt innocent TV's, so we abstained.


Jacquie, not quite the same thing. But similar. Instead of the cast presenting favorite moments, the network throws together a show with pertinent moments from the season "thus far" and has some celebrity voiceover narrate the whole sordid affair. Annoying.

Mikey, there was a Kill the Hobbit show and I missed it?!?!

Elaine... breathe... in through nose, out through mouth.

Sandra, I know! And it's not nice because there's no payoff for me! If you're going to torture me, at least make it worthwhile.

Karl, I hear ya!

Claire, true. But do shows like DH, Lost, and GA really need more viewers? Like you said, this is perfect for shows like VM or other fringe shows that are still struggling in the ratings. But these others don't need it. It's just ABC's way of keeping the ratings high on nights when they don't have a new show by sucking you in. Bastages! I want to beat someone over the head everytime autoplay audio/video comes on a Web site.

Dustin, here I was worried that we had fallen behind in our TiVo recordings. Instead I was able to delete three hours worth immediately because of this. Make sure no innocent TVs or TiVos are injured. They just play what they're told.


I was so bummed with the recap of Lost last week. Damn that station!


Not only does it mess up people using TiVo, but it messes up people like me who live overseas and have to download using bittorrent. The numbering for GA is completely screwed up because there have been 2 "recap" shows so far this season. Which means the show that aired last night was chronologically episode 23, but could be listed as 23, 24, or 25. Which means a lot of partial downloads on my part and having to check the file to make sure I have the right one (which inevitably, I don’t so I have to keep searching). Which annoys me.

I think you should turn the above post into an online petition and see how many people you can get to sign it.


Jacynth, I feel the same way. Although I'm probably not as passionate about Lost as you are. Not anymore, at least.

Nicole, I never even thought about people who use bittorrent. Plus, you have the added threat of people misnumbering them anyway simply because this is a p2p service that just reads files however they are named on a person's computer. Waiting through all that d/l time only to find you have the wrong thing would suck.

Blundering American

Thought you might be interested in this clip from Entertainment Weekly's most recent issue about Lost:

"And perhaps the most promising tease of all for Lost fans will be a welcome change in ABC's erratic, repeat-heavy scheduling of the show, which the producers believe has hindered their serialized storytelling. McPherson doesn't disagree. ''The ideal schedule for this series would be to run for 22 consecutive weeks,'' he says. ''But we have a 35-week season. We are looking at a number of scenarios, like the possibility of three huge chunks.''"

Apparently, we aren't the only ones that hate the repeats.


Interesting. Wonder if they might consider airing it the way that FOX airs 24. That would be nice!

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