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Shoddy scheduling is a sign of incompetence and laziness.


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I've been noticing a sign of laziness amongst one (or more) of TCM's schedulers. Once again (The Dirty Dozen in this instance) the movie has run beyond it's allocated time block and consequently the last few minutes are running into the next scheduled movies time slot. My DVR is unaware of TCM's growing laziness and thusly cuts off at the scheduled end time. My DVR will not record overlapping programs so extending my record time an extra 5 minutes to catch those last few minutes will not work every time. The scheduler responsible for this shoddy scheduling should go back to scheduling movies at 'Starz' and 'HBO' and 'Cinemax' and 'Showtime' where this is a common practice. Remember, this is TCM where "uncut" means shown in it entirety. That should also mean it entirety within it's allocated time slot. Not its allocated time slot plus 5 minutes of the next scheduled programs time slot. This is a sure sign of laziness on someones part, and this person should be called and reprimanded for this.

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wise man once say something about honey, vinegar and flies...the word "incompetence" has a definite tang to it that's gonna turn people off to your (valid) concerns.

 

rather than incompetence, laziness could be a factor- or it could just be that the net is against the wall when it comes to manpower. Let's not forget TCM is something of a limited appeal, niche network without any advertising revenue and I imagine piecing together ye schedule is not easy.

 

 

the night before last they had a wonderful rare three-film tribute to Max Ophuls, they are constantly premeiring new titles from TCM-unfriendly companies ( Love is a Many Splendored Thing, The Razor's Edge ), I'm still stoked about The Constant Nymph from back in October, there have (I think) been more rare and unseen titles on of late.

 

 

Yes, From Here to Eternity was on yesterday morning- but lately the good has been running neck-and-beck with the "oh my God, are they playing THAT AGAIN?!" which is a definite improvement from the situation a year ago.

 

So, while I get your annoyance at the overlappery, p'raps ye could realize things could be much, much bleaker.

 

 

At least there's something worth DVRing on and not an encore encore of Fitzwilly.

 

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Jan 25, 2012 8:41 AM

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I am sorry you have to use a DVR that is so shoddy it will not allow proper time programming. It is a standard across all channels and stations that they use different clocks so start and stop times are always ambiguous. Proper technique is to set the timer to begin a few minutes early and end ten minutes late.

 

I would not call it poor scheduling. They are not allowed to have a start or stop time that is not in increments of a quarter of an hour. To accommodate movies that do not fit nicely they must fill the after-time with miscellany. I am sure that in this instance they opted to air a good movie starting a little late rather than fill eleven minutes with non-feature material and have it followed by a movie whose greatest asset is that it fit into the shorter time slot.

 

Are you aware of the TCM Programming Challenge? It is an opportunity for posters to show how they would schedule a week. It is great fun and it is quite educational on the compromises the real schedulers must make.

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It is amazing what people say on these boards out of their own anger or selfishness. Why not just express your frustration with a movie being cut off that you wanted to record for private use? Why all the negativity? I have a DirecTV DVR and if I am recording two shows back to back, I can't add additional time to the previous recording, I have to go and do a manual recording for Channel 256 (TCM). So if I know a movie is going to be cut off and I am recording the next film also, I do a manual record for a block of four hours and input the start and stop time. This is what YOU should have did.

 

YOUR DVR cutting off the last few minutes of the recording of a program has nothing to do with TCM's mission statement. The movie was still uncut, commercial free (and a great letterbox print by the way). Blame YOUR DVR for failing you.

 

So, instead of the programmers "going back to HBO" et al maybe you should go back to that DVR manual and learn how to record so that these incidents don't occur again?

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I can understand the viewer's frustration as it happens to me too sometimes (last week with Diary of a Chambermaid which went over. Surprised there wasnt a thread about that movie as it was a TCM premiere?) How are we to know when a movie runs over if its on overnight or not even watching the station? The ending was cut off. (I dont think I missed much) I was asleep at the time. Like I could've circumvented that???

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Oh well, this is a real shame, aimalac! Tell ya what, I'll give ya a hint about how *The Dirty Dozen* ends.

 

While in real life Jim Brown was very often able to outrun Ray Nitschke on the gridiron, unfortunately in this movie he wasn't able to do the same against german machine gun bullets.

 

But then again what did you expect, huh?! The black guy ALWAYS dies by the end of movies made before 1973!!!

 

(...just ask Woody Strode...well, if ya could anyway)

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Hibi, it has happened to me SEVERAL times. Even with films that are rarely aired, and not on DVD that I wanted to make a copy of. I just don't understand why someone can't state that frustration without all of the insults to the staff.

 

HBO and the other channels mentioned do this but that is because most of the time, there is only up to 5 minutes between two movies, sometimes only 30 seconds. I noticed many TV networks run 1-2 minutes over in all their shows. Bravo comes to mind.

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I'm sorry you missed the end of a movie. That's very frustrating. When I really want to tape something from TCM but am unable to monitor the recording, I check the film's running time in the program guide to see how close to the ending scheduled time it goes. If it's within a few minutes, I add a few extra minutes onto my timer (I still use a VCR). Perhaps you could manually program your DVR, instead of just selecting the title(s), so you can add a little extra time at the end of one program while still being able to record a later show (though that may cut off the beginning of the other program).

 

I have 2 DirecTv receivers. When I set a reminder on one, the receiver comes on at the appointed time but doesn't turn off until I manually do it. The other one, it stays on for the scheduled time only. So if I'm recording off that one, I make sure to check the run time and if I think it may run over, I set a reminder for the following program just in case.

 

It may be vexing but my dad always says you can either complain about something or do what you can to defeat it, lol. So I'm afraid the best advice I can offer is to figure out how you can defeat your DVR's timer since it's inevitable some program you want to record will run long at some point, whether it's due to so-called shoddy scheduling or a delayed start due to news or sports or whatever.

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>Shoddy scheduling is a sign of incompetence and laziness.

 

I don't think so.

 

I was in the TV business for many years, and I know what the problem is.

 

The problem is, not enough staff and over-worked staff. The budget doesn't allow for more staff.

 

To hire more and better staff means to either cut the budget somewhere else in the network, or find some new way to increase corporate income. And you know what that means.

 

Please try to be patient about any errors. We get many very good old movies, 24 hours a day, and without commercial breaks. You should be thankful for that.

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I tried replying to the comments left by others on this thread earlier, but my reply never posted so I'll try again. Let me start by saying, this is now not a one time occurance. It is happening a little to frequently of late. I have become somewhat lazy in the past when TCM always had more than enough filler at the beginning and ending of a programs allotted time slot. I never had to check the exact runtime of a movie to see if it would fit. In this case, not only did The Dirty Dozen overrun its allotted 2 hour 30 minute slot, but because it ran over it caused the following program (Private Screenings - Ernest Borgnine) to start late and that caused it to run past its scheduled end time. So it had a sort of domino effect. My DVR cannot record overlapping programs on the same channel. If I had known The Dirty Dozen was going to run over, I could have scheduled my DVR to record, lets say 5 extra minutes. But that means I wouldn't have been able to schedule Private Screenings to start on time. I would have had to schedule it to miss the 5 minutes I gave to The Dirty Dozen. I could handle this if I knew exactly what time a program was going to start. I could then calculate the runtime against the actual start time and then know what the exact end time would be. Or, TCM could go back to the way they've always scheduled programs with plenty of lead and lag time. HBO, Showtime, and Starz often overlaps their programs and I find it annoying, but when they do, I know I'll have at least 100 more chances to get it right within the next week. TCM often shows a movie only once and I might not be able to catch it again for a couple years. Plus HBO, Showtime, and Starz all have an On-Demand channel on my cable service where I could take advantage of their programming errors. TCM does have an On-Demand channel on my cable service, but they only have 4 or 5 movies listed. The point I'm trying to make is when TCM mismanages its time slot allotment it makes it difficult to adjust and it's something I just recently noticed occurying on a much to frequent basis.

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*This response was being composed while 'aimalac' posted the message below this post.* - kjk

 

Does *The Dirty Dozen* run longer than 150 minutes? (2 hours and 30 minutes.) That was the published runtime of the movie and the amount of time alloted for the film.

 

TCM has had runtime issues in the past with certain films. I think *The Great Ziegfeld* and *Suspicion* both "ran long" for years because the copies TCM had/has included "Overtures" and "Exit Music" that were not taken into account in the listed runtime. Is there a version of *The Dirty Dozen* that has such added materials at the beginning or end of the film making it noticably longer than 150 minutes?

 

I don't have a DVR and am unfamiliar with their workings. Do they have clocks that are or can be set manually? You might want to double check that the clock on the DVR is set exactly to the top of the hour. Or maybe even just a little "late" (30 seconds or so.) But if it is automatic, like a cable box, then it is out of your hands.

 

All TCM films do have "intro materials" attached to the beginning delaying the actual start of the film. ("Pop-up Books" and "Ratings Screens", etc.) And if TCM added the "Buy The DVD at TCM.com" bumper to the end, that added a few more seconds to the finish.

 

TCM probably does "fudge" the start of a film to begin sometime within that first minute of the listed start time. The film won't necessarily start the exact second the clock reaches 4:30pm even though the DVR recording may have begun exactly at that time.

 

All these things will have an affect on start and end times.

 

I am not trying to shift the blame or suggest that the film didn't run long or beyond its timeslot. It obviously did. But a 2 hour and 30 minute film on TCM will run slightly longer than 150 minutes. The total elapsed time, when looking at the clock, could extend 1-2 minutes beyond the scheduled end time. It's too bad that programming the DVR can't be adjusted when trying to record films shoehorned into such a tight timeslot.

 

That said, if the film is actually longer than 150 minutes (say 152 minutes), then TCM should be made aware of it and adjust their listed runtime for the film accordingly.

 

I am surprised to read that the "over-run" affected later programs. The "Private Screenings" that followed was listed as running 58 minutes in a one hour time slot that started at 7pm. And then it was *In Like Flint* with RO at 8pm. Was that late to start too?

 

Kyle In Hollywood

 

Edited by: hlywdkjk on Jan 25, 2012 12:24 PM

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To answer, The Dirty Dozen ran 150 minutes but it started about 2 minutes into it allotted time slot so the last 2 minutes or so ran into the time slot allocated for Private Screenings so that program was pushed back a couple minutes and it end credits were cut short and ran into the next allotted time slot. The next time slot had enough extra padding at the end to accomodate the entire runtime of that program. A DVR can be set to start early or late and also end early or late, but you would need to know the amount of time that is going to occupy those extra minutes to accurately figure the exact start and end times.

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> {quote:title=aimalac wrote:}{quote}Once again (The Dirty Dozen in this instance) the movie has run beyond it's allocated time block and consequently the last few minutes are running into the next scheduled movies time slot

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the reminder. I did the same thing to myself just this morning regarding Eddie Cantor’s Show Business. My own typewritten notes in my movie watching journal, made from early excavations of the schedule at tcm dot com, show this as a 92-minute feature in a 90-minute slot. Responsibility for failing to notice the illogic of the situation, and the subsequent revision of the schedule to a 120-minute slot, reflect entirely on my own scheduling incompetence. This morning’s error, along with your post, will remind me to watch more closely in the future.

 

Every recording device I have owned for the past 20 years allowed me to set my own start and end times to the minute. My current device saves content to a hard drive, and has an edit function that allows me to snip recordings almost to the exact frame. My standard procedure, therefore, is to set every recording to begin 3 minutes before its scheduled start time, and to end 3 minutes after the scheduled start time of the following feature. For anything resembling a tight fit, such as an 88-minute feature in a 90-minute slot, I will add even more slack to the end time.

 

 

 

> {quote:title=SansFin wrote:}{quote} They are not allowed to have a start or stop time that is not in increments of a quarter of an hour. To accommodate movies that do not fit nicely they must fill the after-time with miscellany. I am sure that in this instance they opted to air a good movie starting a little late rather than fill eleven minutes with non-feature material and have it followed by a movie whose greatest asset is that it fit into the shorter time slot.

 

 

 

It is my belief that TCM ALWAYS tries to fit every feature into its listed (multiple of 15 minutes) slot, and they nearly always succeed. (They certainly never show any trepidation towards possible fraying of their miscellany due to overplaying.) This in spite of having to adjust for whatever version their various distributors fling at them with very little lead time. I am exceedingly grateful that I don’t have to rely on any device from my cable provider to set start and end times for me. My cable provider and my electric company have thrown far more monkey wrenches into my TCM watching plans than could ever be attributed to any so-called gross incompetence at the hands of TCM.

 

 

 

> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}Is it possible that the schedulers are not taking into account the time for the credits? When a movie's running time is listed in, e.g., the Maltin guide, does that include the ending credits and the intro?

 

 

 

As Mr. Maltin has frequently acknowledged in the introduction to several editions of his books, ascertaining run times is an inexact science involving moving targets. His listings should certainly include credits, which, for most of the movies shown on TCM, rarely last for more than a minute. And even though he has been described as "a good friend of ours here at TCM," I seriously doubt that Mr. Maltin would ever claim any ability to predict what quantity of enlightenment Mr. Osborne will choose to bestow upon us on any given evening.

 

 

One final word of advice to anyone intending to improve their competence as a TCM watcher. On guest programmer evenings, the enlightenment has been known to pile up to such a degree that start times for the guest’s third or fourth features have been pushed back as much as 20 minutes.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> The problem is, not enough staff and over-worked staff. The budget doesn't allow for more staff.

>

> To hire more and better staff means to either cut the budget somewhere else in the network

>

I think we all know what my suggestion for a budget cut would be (hint: think weekends).

Anyone else?

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To continue 'beating a dead horse', when I started my DVR for "The Thrill Of It All", I noticed the last 1 minute and 21 seconds of "Strike Up The Band" was running over. I looked on the schedule and the schedule had it listed with a 120 minute run time and in a 2 hour time slot. That means, it probably started about 81 seconds into its time slot which caused it to run over. I'm glad it really didn't interfere with "The Thrill Of It All" in any way. And I'm glad I wasn't planning anything special with "Strike Up The Band".

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TCM provides the programming. If I wish to record the programming it's up to me to best determine how to record TCM programming in order to avoid disappointment. It's really as simple as that.

 

I don't use DVRs because they don't lend themselves to easy and convenient archival recording and, as mentioned in these pages, the "dumbed-down" DVR program scheduling system doesn't (automatically) work well with TCM's scheduling.

 

I prefer to record TCM and most other programming for viewing at a more convenient time, even months or years later. With this archival approach to time-shift recording, "If it's worth watching it's worth archiving."

 

I use Panasonic ES, EA and EZ series DVD Recorders, Panasonic EH series HDD/DVD Recorders and Magnavox and Philips HDD/DVD Recorders. Since "professional use" JVC/Taiyo Yuden 8x Premium Line DVD-R discs are currently priced less than $30 per 100 discs at SuperMediaStore.com, archival time-shift recording is convenient and inexpensive. Taiyo Yuden DVDs are widely regarded as the best DVDs currently available for stand-alone recorders:

 

http://www.supermediastore.com/product/u/jvc-taiyo-yuden-jdmr-zz-sk8-silver-lacquer-8x-dvd-r-media-premium-line-tape-wrap-100pk

 

http://www.supermediastore.com/product/u/jvc-taiyo-yuden-dvd-r-8x-silver-thermal-dvd-recordable-single-layer-media-jdmr-zz-sb8-100pk

 

I carefully scrutinize Now Playing well in advance for possible scheduling conflicts, primarily run time and programming block issues, when setting up recordings with my DVD and HDD/DVD Recorders. If there is "tight scheduling" I allow for buffer timing. Then, after the online schedule has been updated with shorts, I revisit the scheduled recordings to make necessary scheduling corrections and include those desired shorts not already incorporated into the original scheduling.

 

If I want to record back to back movies and I'm still unsure where the break between the movies might occur, I still have options. If I'm recording with a HDD/DVD Recorder I record both movies as a single title with buffer time at both ends. Afterward it's a simple matter to do front and end cut editing and divide the titles before high speed dubbing to DVD(s). If I'm recording with a DVD Recorder I might record both movies as a single title with buffer time at both ends; or I might record the movies in tandem with two DVD Recorders, both recordings with buffer time built in at both ends.

 

*Accept responsibility for your own time-shifting.*

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There is also a little website called IMDB - you might have heard of it- which usually has pretty accurate running times for movies, and also alerts you to 'alternate' running times as well.

 

I quite frankly have never had this problem with TCM....they have been usually VERY good about adding 'extra' to their slots if a movie even runs 'over' - i.e., if it runs 121 minutes they give it a 135 slot - that 'extra' quarter hour.

 

As said before, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and MANUALLY program.

 

 

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exapno wrote:

 

I quite frankly have never had this problem with TCM....they have been usually VERY good about adding 'extra' to their slots if a movie even runs 'over' - i.e., if it runs 121 minutes they give it a 135 slot - that 'extra' quarter hour.

 

In the past, mostly YES. But in the last several days, often *NO*. The recent "Strike Up the Band" is a perfect example of *NO*. Someone at TCM programmed the 120 minute movie in a space of 120 minutes!! This does not leave any space at all for commentaries, both at the beginning and the end of the movie. Worse yet, the existence of commentaries and their lengths is unknown. And perhaps by the programmer?

 

exapno wrote: As said before, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and MANUALLY program.

 

Unfortunately, this does not always work.

 

I always program MANUALLY. Yet when confronted with a can't-win situation by TCM's careless (the nicest thing that can be said about it) programming, I lost. I ended up with Ben's commentary at the start of the movie but lost it at the end (I record both commentaries as a matter of course, even though they may be repetitive; I can edit them out after the recording), since I was committed to recording the movie which immediately followed.

 

I keep a database of all of the movies that I have in my TCM archive, in order to avoid repeated recordings. I mark these "omits" on my recording schedule. Among other benefits, this gives me extra programming space to soak up the slopover when it occurs. As much as I dislike all of these repeats, I can at least get something good from them :-).

 

Musikone

 

Edited by: musikone on Feb 1, 2012 8:44 PM

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The only time I usually get nervous is when an overnight movie before 1965 has an RO introduction and the running time indicates that it'll end right at the time that the next film begins. I have an old fashioned DVD recorder and try to record everything manually, but if I can't be there to monitor it, and it looks as if it's going to overlap, I always assume that the second movie is going to start at least 2 minutes after the scheduled time, and I'll set the timer for the first movie to end one minute before that.

 

And on the other end, on just about any film after 1965, you can safely cut the last few minutes without missing anything but those stupid scrolls that list the first 217 production assistants. I'm archival in my mentality, but not *that* archival . If something's got to give when I'm recording overnight, it's going to be Miz Streep's 4th assistant costume designer, not the opening scene.

 

Bottom line is that I agree with those below who say that it's up to you to make the adjustments, even if it does get a bit frustrating when you see a midnight movie at 119 minutes followed by a 2:00 AM movie, and you don't really know how much RO's intro to the midnight show is going to push the transition over the line. Where are those sleep-inducing travel shorts when we really need them?

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Thanks for the info on DVD recorders. I'd like to make the switch to one sometime since VHS tapes take up so much room compared to DVDs. I still use standard, non-HD satellite receivers and old CRT televisions as well. The extra expense holds me back. I'm afraid I might get forced into HD sometime (DirecTV has already moved some channels - such as NASA to HD only so it's no longer available on my plan) though and then I'll have to get a new set.

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  • 1 month later...

If TCM's programmers are going to continue to program movies that overflow into the next features timeslot, why don't they do the simple thing and instead of always scheduling movies to start on the hour, quarter hour, half hour, and three-quarters hour schedule them to start at 5, 10, 20, 25, 35, 40, 50, and 55 minutes of the hour. Don't say TCM has a long time tradition of scheduling movies on the 00, 15, 30, 45 minute mark. You've already broken TCM's long running tradition of not having programs overflow into the next time slot, so breaking another tradition should be no problem. This happens way to often and I'm referring to this past weekends showing of "Honeymoon Hotel" as this latest infraction.

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aimalac wrote:If TCM's programmers are going to continue to program movies that overflow into the next features timeslot, why don't they do the simple thing and instead of always scheduling movies to start on the hour, quarter hour, half hour, and three-quarters hour schedule them to start at 5, 10, 20, 25, 35, 40, 50, and 55 minutes of the hour. Don't say TCM has a long time tradition of scheduling movies on the 00, 15, 30, 45 minute mark. You've already broken TCM's long running tradition of not having programs overflow into the next time slot, so breaking another tradition should be no problem. This happens way to often and I'm referring to this past weekends showing of "Honeymoon Hotel" as this latest infraction.

 

The real problem here is that the current TCM programmers are amateurs, replacing the professionals that TCM used to believe were essential for performing these tasks. Hence this current group does not understand or appreciate the rigid standards which, in every field of endeavor, distinguish the professional from the hack. Don't pay any attention to the *words* of these individuals; just witness their *actions*.

 

musikone

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It sounds as this is a problem for those persons recording content for viewing later.

 

I understand that using the simplest interface of a DVR can cause the loss of the ends of a few films. But there is a method to avoid that problem. It is the same method used when programming a VCR - manually enter the start time, enter the end time, "save" and you're done. I always added five minutes to the end of a recording just to make sure nothing was lost.

 

You all have the power to address this issue - especially anyone that inhabits these Forums with all the schedule materials at your fingertips here. If recording a particular film using the DVR schedule interface proves to be problematic, then perhaps it is time to use a different method to set the DVR timer. It can't be that difficult - except for "amatuers" that can't master a remote.

 

TCM is programming a television network - not a content service for video recording. If one is going to "time-shift" or record films for their own archives, the responsibility to make successful recordings lies with the recorder and not the network. I believe they are programming first and foremost for the viewer, not the recorder.

 

Edited by: hlywdkjk on Mar 13, 2012 6:53 PM

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