Spoiling Us

People.com has started to do something wonderful. Instead of telling readers what happened on their favourite competition shows the previous night, they have a “spoiler alert” headline and you have to click it to read the details.

It’s too bad the rest of the online world hasn’t caught on that with the popularity of PVRs, video on demand and show-watching online, not everyone is viewing a TV show when it actually airs. We no longer have to. In fact,some of us are saving them until the weekend when both parties can watch them together, or skipping the appointment-TV time altogether and renting the DVD in the summer.

This week we happened to have a couple of busy nights when American Idol aired. We were home last night with enough time before bedtime to watch Wednesday night’s Idol but Thursday – the elimination show – sat in our PVR until last night. One has to be very careful about what they read if they haven’t seen the show yet. I didn’t go back to Twitter updates that were posted during the show because they would be dead giveaways. But I was on thestar.com to read some breaking news and there was the Idol headline, giving the entire story away. There was no way I couldn’t see it.

It became our practise at 680 News to warn people that we were about to reveal a crucial element in an already-aired TV show. If they hadn’t seen it yet, they were able to sing LA-LA-LA-LA for a few seconds and not risk spoiling their fun. You can’t protect everybody from the results but you can be a little sensitive. Listeners thanked us for it. If a program is worth writing or talking about it’s also worth noting the very real possibility that you’re ruining the surprise for plenty of fans.