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Working on the road means that sometimes I flip closed my laptop, flick on the TV and flop onto the hotel bed hoping for something to watch that will help me switch off and unwind. Invariably, as I flick through the channels I see a whole host of reality shows like Road Wars, Night Cops, Come Dine with Me etc. Many a justified criticism has been levelled at shows like these for dumbing down, for playing to the lowest common denominator (tired account managers) and for being a cheap form of entertainment.  

This may be true but what I became aware of and what I want to complain about is the fact that I am being ripped off. Programmes like these steal my viewing time. 
 
Here is what I mean. Such programmes are often scheduled for an hour but if you take into account that there are adverts leading to the start and again at the end then the show in the middle only lasts 56 minutes. There will also be approximately 3 ad breaks in an hour's show too each taking about 3 and a half  minutes.
 
Actual viewing time is also shortened by the start titles and the end credits. Remember that these programmes are made for people with very short attention spans and have to have sections entitled "Coming Up...", "Still to Come..." and "Previously on..." before and sometimes after every ad break. If the programme contains particularly exciting action you will get some slow motion replays too

After all this fluff and filler there is not much actual programme left. Let's break it down:

Intro Titles 1 minute
Credits 3 minutes
Ad Break 3.5minutes (and there are 3 of them)
"Coming up" 45 seconds at the start of the show and 45 seconds before and after each ad break.
 Let's say 2 and a half minutes of gratuatous slow motion replays per show.

Check my maths but I make that about 23 minutes of filler from a show that is supposed to be an hour but is only 56 minutes long. 

So, from an hour’s viewing I only end up with about 33 minutes of genuine footage to unwind to. The rest of the time I just shout at the TV for ripping me off!


 


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