HDTV Heads-Up: Rugby and Baseball Pre-Empt X Factor

Two episodes of The X Factor USA are being pre-empted by sport.

Tonight’s episode won’t screen until tomorrow because Fox TV in the US had to postpone its broadcast after rain delayed its baseball coverage (TV3 is replacing it with the movie, Night at the Museum).

And there will be only one screening next week, too, because TV3 will air live coverage of the bronze Rugby World Cup final in X Factor’s Friday night slot.

However, the October 21 pre-emption won’t affect the talent quest’s hot-off-the-satellite scheduling.

It turns out the same edition is being pre-empted by Fox TV for a major baseball game, so TV3 doesn’t have to worry about squeezing in a hasty catch-up screening or airing the show a week out-of-sync.

As for this weekend’s RWC semi-finals, the networks will be hoping there isn’t a repeat of the 5.1 audio loss that marred the All Blacks vs Argentina game.

According to a TV3 spokesman: “The commentary audio was fine at the beginning of the first-half kick-off.

“Sometime during the first half, the commentary level changed and when the commentators weren’t speaking, the gain suddenly rose — causing a huge amount of hiss that was very noticeable in 5.1.

“After trying everything to minimise this, on-air presentation chose to abort the 5.1 and switch to stereo, which sounded better.

“The 5.1 audio was switched back at the start of the second half sounded fine and remained until the end of the game.”

Meanwhile, the RWC bronze final will screen opposite the final of TV2’s HD Harry Potter season.

The network is ending it by leap-frogging from the boy wizard’s third adventure, The Prisoner of Azkaban (which airs 7.30pm tomorrow) to his fifth, The Order of the Phoenix, because it doesn’t own the licence for the fourth, The Goblet of Fire.

From October 28, and with the end of the RWC, TV2 will revert to sitcoms from 7.30pm (Two and a Half Men, Mad Love) and launch another season of The Bachelor at 8.30pm.

The same night TV3 will resume HD re-runs of Graham Norton’s top-rating BBC chat show, only this time he will square off against ITV rival Jonathan Ross on TV One.

The same week, TV3 will launch in HD season three of NCIS: Los Angeles barely a month after it US debut (9.25pm October 25).

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