Sunday, April 03, 2005

Prime Time, Jane Pauly and the Pope

This weekend the Pilgrim Pope, Pope John Paul the second passed. He spent most of Friday April 1st, in grave condition, in fact everyone though he was going to die Friday afternoon.

This biased blogger thinks he did pass, since Italian news agencies reported his death around 12 and the Vatican spent the rest of the afternoon trying to refute that claim. In fact we were receiving reports his EKG flat-lined. Of course this means they could have restarted his heart- but again after going into septic shock most of his organs failing and the Pope refusing to be hospitalized his outlook was more then bleak.

If you watched any television this week – every station from Entertainment Tonight to CNN ran special reports, retrospectives, looks back at the Pope’s legacy. Take my advice don’t expect it to end any time soon. It will most likely continue throughout next week during his viewing through to his burial. It won’t end there for another week stations will provide ‘expert speculation’ on who the Cardinals will pick to lead millions and millions of Catholics across the globe.

You would think with the coverage the Pope is getting now - no matter what was on television the stations would have dropped everything and went into emergency ‘Pope-Passing’ coverage. Not the case. On Friday here was the plan from the network CBS head honchos. If the Pope died anywhere after four o’clock – the network would cut into Jane Pauly and take up our newscasts and cover to 7pm – right through the evening news. HOWEVER if the pope died anytime during prime time – the only coverage that would exist is a seven-minute obituary special report. Seven minutes. Decades of service, hundreds of trips around the globe, one assassination attempt, millions of mourners, the life of one of the most beloved Popes in memory – knocked down to seven minutes - so not to interrupt Joan of Arcadia, NCIS and the rest of CBS’s Friday night line up. Really puts things in perspective – a television station would love to cover the Pope but only if he dies at a time when nothing worth watching is on.

I wonder if the Pope would even have gotten seven minutes if he died during the last 90 seconds of one of the final four games. Somehow, I think the end of basketball would have taken precedence over the Pope. Right now I guess I’m just thankful we didn’t have to find out.


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