Friday, February 3, 2012

Group boycotting KKTV over Jeopardy!

Posted By on Fri, Feb 3, 2012 at 1:48 PM

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When not running a business building high-performance racing engines, Carl Hansen likes to kick back in front of the TV. And it's not news he wants — it's the syndicated game show Jeopardy!. But recently KKTV (channels 11.1 and 11.2 over the air) changed the times on its schedule. The new evening showing was bumped up to 4 p.m. to make room for a later news broadcast. To help, the station started airing older reruns of Alex Trebek's lovely face at 6:30 on 11.2.

But it doesn't help, says Hansen.

"While there are plenty of other places for people to obtain news at 6:30pm, there is no alternative for fans of Jeopardy," writes the entrepreneur in a Facebook e-mail to the Indy. "Most people are still working at 4:00, so KKTV's new schedule has effectively eliminated the program for a large portion of the population."

To counterbalance this, Hansen and his wife "took five minutes and set up the Facebook boycott page" called Boycott KKTV News until Jeopardy returns, a small but passionate group of seven, so far.

"They attempted to pull a fast one ... but they're showing old reruns there,'" writes Hansen. "Personally, I don't need more 'news.' And I'm willing to bet there are a lot of people like me who would rather have an intellectually stimulating program to unwind with when they get home instead of over-sensationalized hysteria about the weather, etc."

The station, of course, is not without sympathy for those whose viewing schedule was changed. But "at the end of the day, I'm in the news business more than I'm in the Jeopardy! business. You know what I mean?" says KKTV general manager Nick Matesi when reached by phone. "That's really our bread and butter.

"And again, I'm not discounting the fact that it was disruptive to people who have watched that for a long time," says Matesi. "We are airing it at 4 (and in the days of DVRs they have that option). The other thing is we are airing a version of Jeopardy! at 6:30.

"Now, at least in the short term, those are what they call 'classic Jeopardy!' because we did this in the middle of the contract year — and this gets really technical with programming contracts and AFTRA and licensing issues, and all that — they won't let me just air the same episode. But once the new season starts in September, it'll be that day's episode, it'll air at 6:30. So we just got to get through, basically, until September."

Matesi continues: "And, again, the reason for a newscast at 6:30 is 'cause times have changed and commute times are longer, and there is an incredible demand for news between 5 and 7 and previously we had one option for that, and that was at 5:30. Well, now we've got two options for it."

Not mollified, Hansen says he's still moving forward with his protest plans.

"For the moment, we're going to see if we can build a social media base of like minded people," he writes. "Phase two will be to extend the boycott to advertisers of KKTV news."

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