Coming up: 60 Minutes (except on the West Coast)
October 16, 2005 5:13 PM   Subscribe

So what's coming up next on the West Coast?

I've just been watching the Chargers - Raiders game. Here in Denmark we get the pictures from CBS dubbed with Danish commentary.

Around the end of the game a graphic on screen read "Coming up: 60 Minutes (except on the West Coast)".

I've noticed this before and it strikes me as odd, especially since the game was between Oakland and San Diego and I would imagine there were more viewers on the West Coast than on the East Coast.

Why do they do this? What's coming up on the West Coast?
posted by sveskemus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
Best answer: 60 Minutes airs at 7 PM on the east coast and on the west coast. The football game ends after 7 pm EDT but before 7 PM PDT, so in the Pacific Time Zone they will go to local news or other filler until 60 Minutes airs at its regular time.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:18 PM on October 16, 2005

The West Coast usually gets a bum deal on scheduling, since most TV scheduled are devised for Eastern. As a non-native who lived in LA for a while, most of this confused me to the extreme.
posted by wackybrit at 5:18 PM on October 16, 2005

Part of the reason for this is that scheduling is not only focused on the East coast, the time differences can cause issues. Mountain and Central time zones are far less populous, and relatively close in time difference. However, three hours is enough to completely skew what is "Prime Time", so West coast TV is scheduled to be at the same relative time as East coast TV, not simultaneous broadcast.

Some things, such as sports, are aired live regardless of timing. So, oddities like this can pop up, which is confusing for pretty much anyone outside of the US, and often anyone outside of the Pacific time zone.
posted by Saydur at 5:40 PM on October 16, 2005

Best answer: Generally after the afternoon football game, the station will air infomercials, some other syndicated show, and eventually the local news followed by the standard primetime network programming. Sometimes the station carrying the game will also have a post-game show, shot live at a local bar or restaurant with the local TV news sports guy and someone who used to play for the team as a color guy.

Speaking subjectively, the period between the end of the football game and the beginning of the primetime schedule is a hellish no-man's land on the channel that carried the game, so we usually flip over to ESPN to watch NFL Primetime (obviously inappropriately named for us West Coasters, coming on at 4:30pm), followed by the Sunday night game.
posted by LionIndex at 5:46 PM on October 16, 2005

I should also mention that in the case of football, there are only two starting times for all games, not counting the night game or Monday night. So, on the East Coast, a bunch of games start at 1pm ET (generally those played in the eastern part of the country) with more games at 4pm ET (generally the western games). On the West Coast, it's just shifted earlier 3 hours, but it seems that local games are pretty universally scheduled for around 1pm. At least for the coasts.
posted by LionIndex at 5:53 PM on October 16, 2005

Also, prime time on the east coast is 8-11, in the central time zone, it's 7-10, so actually prime time is at the SAME time in those two zones.

So, if a game ends just before prime time in the east and central, west coasters have to wait 3 hours for prime time.

(I don't know what happens in the mountain zone - do people even live there? ;)
posted by clh at 7:38 PM on October 16, 2005

"Late Night with Conan O'Brien" each year broadcasts Happy New Year for the Central Time Zone, sent out an hour after the ball drops in Times Square. The farmer, the cowboy, the tap-dancing cob of corn...last year they had a guy dressed up like Prince to represent Minnesota thrown in too.
posted by gimonca at 9:31 PM on October 16, 2005

Here's the Straight Dope's take on the US time zone/ delayed broadcast issue.

They do the same thing for the Emmys and the Oscars - even though the show is broadcast from LA, because about half the country's population live in the Eastern time zone, they get it live, and we West Coasters have to live with the tape delay.
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:59 PM on October 16, 2005

Response by poster: Wow. That's really confusing. But I guess it's pretty hard to schedule tv for people in different time zones in a way that makes 100 % sense to everybody.

Thanks for some great answers, all.
posted by sveskemus at 3:45 AM on October 17, 2005

Wow. That's really confusing.

They make it worse (IMO) by broadcasting New Years Eve "live" from Times Square on a tape delay, in the Pacific Time Zone. How're people ever supposed to learn about time zones when they keep jerking stuff around this way?
posted by Rash at 9:00 AM on October 17, 2005

By the way, here's the percentage of population in each time zone:

Eastern 47%
Central 33%
Mountain 5%
Pacific 14%
Alaska/Hawaii 1%

posted by calwatch at 10:20 PM on December 5, 2005

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