Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Mouse Farts and Fox Orlando Is There

One of my guilty pleasures is watching the courtroom shows like Judge Judy and the People's Court. I've been a fan ever since the days of Judge Wapner, so when we moved to Florida and I discovered there is a solid block on from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. I was estatic. I work at home, so I can run my businesses with my favorite shows playing in the background.

Unfortunately the first half of the block, from 3 to 5 p.m., is on Fox Orlando. I say unfortunately because this is a channel that breaks into programming for extended tedious news coverage whenever a mouse farts anywhere in the state of Florida. I've never seen a station that will manufacture news out of the most innocuous happening just so they can break into their shows. The news woman must be desperate for airtime, but sadly the viewers are not desperate to see her. For God's sake, Lady, wait until the News at 5!

Better yet, often there will be a news story that is long over, but the intrepid news team will still break in to give totally unnecessary updates, presumably because they enjoy hearing the sound of their own voices and believe that all of Orlando shares that love.

The weatherman seems to be jealous as he takes any opportunity to grab his own extended break-in coverage. My favorite was when a tornado struck in Cocoa Beach recently. It was over quickly and only did minor damage, and no one was hurt. But Fox News broken in for over an hour, till I finally got disgusted with the weatherman's obvious love of his computer mouse. He endlessly toggled back and forth between Google Earth and the radar maps, intoning the same news over and over again, which boiled down to: Tornado touchdown. Minor damage. No one hurt. This takes more than an hour to report?

Sadly, today both the newswoman and the weatherman managed to break into my court shows for non-events. First it was Breaking News, even tho' it was well past 4 p.m. and the "news" had occurred somewhere around noon. A suspicious person with equally suspicious luggage was arrested at Orlando airport. Okay, it's long over. Nobody was hurt. But Fox still saw fit to break in, hours later, for some reason I still haven't figured out.

This obviously piqued the weatherman's jealousy, as less than an hour later he had to break in with this stunning information: A thunderstorm is over an unpopulated area. Ooooo, scary! Nothing special about the storm. Nothing special about the fact that the rest of Florida is probably going to get storms later. But the newswoman got extra coverage, so he had to grasp at straws to make sure he got his fair share. I can just imagine his glee when he spotted that red dot on the radar:

"A storm! A storm! This warrants a break into programming! Yeah, it's not threatening anybody, and yeah, storms are a commonplace part of Florida life, but I didn't get my extra-special camera time today so I'm going to run with it. Now let's see, can I fit in a reference to that tornado touchdown in Cocoa a couple months ago? If so, maybe I can leverage that into playing with the radar and Google Earth on air for an hour or two."

Happily, it's back to the court shows now, and in another few minutes I'll be switching to another block on a channel that doesn't share Fox Orlando's obsession with constant break-ins (although ironically I think it's actually owned by Fox too).

But in the meantime, if a leaf falls anywhere within 500 miles of Orlando, I can rest assured that when I'm tuned to "People's Court" I'll be the first to hear about it.

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