A Little Lost

Anyone watching Lost in the DC TV market last night got a quick lesson in how to confuse news and alienate viewers.

We’re in the midst of some severe weather, and the ABC affiliate needed to let people know where the flood/tornado watches and warnings were. But instead of dumping some ad revenue and using breaks for substance, they decided to run a crawl, a map too small to see, and a huge STORM TRACKER promo banner – all of which swallowed up 70% of the screen.

Lost isn’t the easiest show to follow in the best of circumstances and being immersed in the hour is paramount to catching all the subtle details. Having to watch the drama unfold in the bottom righthand corner of the TV as letters, numbers, and colors whiz by is near impossible. And if you’re trying – which Lost devotees most certainly are – you’re definitely not catching the emergency info as it flies by.

I’m not saying a fictional show is more important than emergency weather information. However, I am saying WJLA execs might want to have a conversation this morning about updating their graphics package.

I suspect they figured it out once the complaint calls started flooding in because about halfway through the hour, the monster display transformed into a standard news crawl across the bottom of the screen, and about ten minutes before the end of the hour, meteorologist Doug Hill – finally – used a commercial break to give the lastest storm coordinates. He even promised viewers they wouldn’t miss a moment of programming which says to me the interns on the desk were getting an earful.

Sometimes I wonder if TV execs ever actually watch TV.

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