it's possible Comedy Central just has a team of monkeys that choose both air times and late-night comedians completely at random
September 14, 2011 6:34 PM   Subscribe

Why does the Daily Show always start ~5 minutes early?

For some reason the Daily Show always starts 5 minutes early. (We only watch the rerun episodes, so I don't know if this is the case with the ones that air at night.) We're on Comcast in Albuquerque, NM. Why is this?

It's not that our clocks are off; it starts early relative to other TV channels.(So Maddow overlaps with the Daily Show's opening monologue, for example.) Looking around online it seems there are other people who have noticed this but no one seems to know why.

It's the same deal with the Colbert Report (which airs directly after).
posted by NoraReed to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've never seen this happen in NY. Maybe it's an attempt by your cable provider to circumvent DVR.
posted by dfriedman at 6:36 PM on September 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: But why would Comcast only do it on Comedy Central and not any other channel? (At least not that we've noticed; I guess we mostly just end up watching network TV + Food, HGTV, Lifetime, Discovery, Turner Classic Movies and AMC.)
posted by NoraReed at 6:39 PM on September 14, 2011

I've noticed on my Tivo that Comedy Central will sometimes have odd start times, 9:56, 12:33, etc. My old cableco-provided DVR would show this as well.

You can also see this on some online TV Guide sites. Here's screen grab of my cable system (Cox, San Diego)

So it is Comedy Central doing this on purpose. They may think starting early will keep people from flipping. Or something. TBS used to always start its shows at five minutes after for some reason.
posted by birdherder at 6:45 PM on September 14, 2011

TBS used to always start its shows at five minutes after for some reason.

That was back when TV Guide was big. It meant that TBS's listings were all alone under a separate time entry, and not lost in the sea of other channels at the hour and half hour. That made them stand out.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:12 PM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

I see this with Comedy Central and Comcast in New England and I've always assumed it's to circumvent DVR-ing. I had to figure out how to rejigger the thing so that all the shows I recorded didn't end before the final punchline, or the moment of Zen.
posted by jessamyn at 7:21 PM on September 14, 2011

I've never seen this happen in NY.

I've been seeing it happen lately in New York. And always only Comedy Central.

Maybe it's Comedy Central -- circumventing DVR-ing sounds like a good motive.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 PM on September 14, 2011

Another possibility could be the network trying to time the start so they're running content when other shows are ending, just starting, or airing commercials.
posted by 6550 at 2:37 AM on September 15, 2011

Comcast in central VA here, and this is NOT happening to us.

Although I've noticed that HBO is now 2 minutes behind on everything now.

*runs to get tinfoil hat*
posted by kuanes at 4:30 AM on September 15, 2011

I've noticed the same thing for A&E in Missouri as well, using DirecTV. The A&E shows frequently started at one minute past the hour. (I think Comedy Central did something similar, but I'm not sure.)

I'm not sure how effective it would be at preventing people from using the DVR to record the show, because my parents' DVR (provided by DirecTV) can record from the start of the show, not the start of the hour. It only would be a problem if you were DVR'ing more than one show during that overlapping minute.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:59 AM on September 15, 2011

FWIW, odd start times have been an on-again/off-again thing in the cable industry for ages. I recall TBS starting all their programming at 5 minutes past the hour for years. The theory being that viewers will rather stay on the channel, rather than switch and get into a competing show late.

I think this sort of thing resurrects itself in marketing departments from time-to-time. Kind of like making the commercials louder than the shows.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:48 AM on September 15, 2011

I have this issue in NJ with CC on FiOS and TiVo. I always get the last 60 seconds of the previous show, and miss out on the ending punchline of the show I just watched.

Comedy Blue Balls! It's a real problem.
posted by bfu at 7:12 AM on September 15, 2011

Two pieces of anecdotal evidence:

-I've noticed for a few years now that Comedy Central seems to run a minute over. I'd DVR South Park and always miss just the very end, so I learned to set the DVR to record a minute later.
-I'm also noticing lately on Comedy Central (Comcast, Philly burbs) that their programming is at odd times, and it shows this in on screen cable guide, so Comcast is aware of it, so it's not like they're doing it to trick the DVR, more like trying to get people to not flip over. But it winds up being annoying because I'll miss the first few minutes of a show on CC because I was watching the end of another program on another channel.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:58 PM on September 15, 2011

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