The new ballgame will bump some old-favorite prime-time television, causing some fans of the latter to see mostly red — but little accompanying great American pastime white and blue — over a programming decision by ABC’s local affiliate, WNEP-TV.
From 7 until at least 10 tonight, the station announced on its website, it plans to air the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ home opener rather than “Wife Swap” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” If the game runs long, “Scandal,” which airs at 10 p.m., could take a hit as well.
The programming bump, particularly of a new episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” that other viewers across the country will see at 9 p.m., has fans of Dr. Derek Shepherd, a.k.a. “Dr. McDreamy,” and cohorts feeling more McSteamy, and this time the hot-and-bothered state has nothing to do with the late Dr. Mark Sloan, who owned the sultry nickname.
According to the station’s website, wnep.com, “Wife Swap” and “Grey’s Anatomy” will instead air locally on Channel 16 from 1 until 3 p.m. Saturday, but that’s little consolation for some local fans who must have their “must-see TV” in real time.
Count registered nurse Jennifer Keller, 40, of Hanover Township, among the furious.
“It’s wonderful that the new stadium is open and drawing revenue for the area, but I don’t understand why the game cannot be run on WNEP-2 or MyNetwork TV or another channel,” Keller told The Times Leader. “WNEP is pre-empting a brand-new ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ which is one of the most popular shows on television. Not to mention if the game runs long, it will interfere with ‘Scandal’ as well, and they have not announced plans to re-air that episode.”
Others left similar comments on the station’s website, with more than one pointing out that if people wanted to see the game badly enough, they would go to the stadium.
Wrote one woman: “Isn’t the idea to fill these seats and keep the stadium open? … I would like to see regular-schedule programs at a time they are supposed to air, not in the middle of the day on some weekend.”
Another female viewer pointed out the number of women who prefer their shows over the game, writing that most people who watch “Grey’s Anatomy” are mothers, and Thursday nights at 9 are “a time for relaxation after the kids go to bed and after a long day/week. These women do not have time to sit down on a Saturday afternoon and try to catch up with a TV show.”
Keller, a wife and mother of two, agrees, noting: “Saturday at 2 p.m. is NOT when I want to watch Grey’s! I want it at 9 p.m. on Thursdays when it was meant to be seen so I don’t have to avoid spoilers on the Internet and Facebook for two days.”
At least on the website, the station received less feedback on the decision to bump “Wife Swap,” which this week will showcase a family of duck hunters trading places with a pageant family. The “Grey’s Anatomy” episode is titled “She’s Killing Me,” and, according to abc.com, will have Meredith and Derek taking preventive steps for their children’s futures after receiving some “unsettling news” and April coming clean to paramour Matthew “regarding the truth about her virginity.”
A call to WNEP programming director Chuck Morgan was not returned Thursday.