Ravens TV: CBS Sports goes to new promo low

From the Z on TV blog:

Last week, I complained bitterly about CBS running an endless string of tedious promotional messages during the Baltimore Ravens game against the Cleveland Browns.

I honestly didn't think it could get worse.

But it did in the network's coverage Sunday of the Ravens' lackluster performance against the Cincinnati Bengals. CBS missed at least two plays because they were running promotional messages for sitcoms and dramas instead of covering the game.

I can complain about play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan and analyst Solomon Wilcots, and that's one thing. But for a network charging the kind of money CBS is for ad time not to deliver on the rock-bottom, hard-core, basic end of its contract, which is to show viewers the game, is outrageous.

And if TV sports fans weren't such passive weenies who will take anything a network gives them and be grateful, they would be howling in protest. Really, there is no discussion and no excuse: You tune into a game, you should be at the very least able to see every play, no? Nothing else is worth discussing when a broadcaster fails in that basic task -- and, worse yet, fails because of greed.

The first missed play came late in the second half as CBS was squeezing in extra promos for "Two and Half Men" and "Mike & Molly."

As we came back from video of Mike in bed with a cold, and his wife and mom ministering to him, Harlan said, "We just had a pass to Derrick Mason...."

We just what? Why was I looking at a whiny fat guy in bed with a thermometer in his mouth? What if it had been a touchdown -- or the play of the game?

Well, at least, I would have been reminded for the 10,000th time what the lame story line for "Mike & Molly" was this week. ("Two and Half Men," by the way, features the Charlie Sheen character having casual sex with a woman, which upsets his brother. Oh wait, that's been the story line of every episode since the pilot. This is, by the way, what passes for a "family" show these days.)

Ravens viewers were cheated a second time in the fourth quarter, when they came out of as promo for "CSI: Miami" only to be told by Harlan: "The Ravens just punted." Did you know "CSI: Miami" is on a "special night" this week -- as opposed to, what, an ordinary night?

I couldn't believe it happened twice, and that's all the announcer had to say. Each time Harlan downplayed the network transgression -- as if it didn't matter that viewers missed the play.

And this isn't the local station, WJZ, clipping the network that owns it by slamming in promos for WJZ shows onto the air during network time. This is CBS doing it.

As annoying as Fox, NBC and NFL Network coverage can be with promos, I have not seen plays missed to this extent on any of those networks this season. I know it happens, but what I saw Sunday strikes me as egregious and intentional.

If you have seen other examples, let me know. It will only get worse if viewers don't complain.

And I have to be honest, I would also like to know why TV football fans are so willing to be treated this way.