Cox’s NBC affiliate WPXI Pittsburgh will delay a special hour-long The Office to allow for extra post-game coverage of the hometown Steelers. NBC’s quirky comedy is scheduled on the network at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, but VP/General Manager Ray Carter says local viewers would rather see Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu than fellow Pennsylvanians Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute. So WPXI will air it at midnight.
“There’s no other story in Pittsburgh that will generate this sort of interest,” says Carter, who adds that the game’s result will affect the length of the local post-game coverage. “This is the best compromise we can make.”
Stations in Pittsburgh and Phoenix have been loading up on programming centered around their Super Bowl teams, and enjoying the heightened interest of local advertisers. Gannett’s KPNX Phoenix, airing the local Cardinals in the big game Sunday, sold out its avails earlier today. “There’s been a great response from viewers and advertisers,” says President/General Manager John Misner, who sent a crew of 10 to the game. “It’s been fabulous.”
WPXI will feature locally-produced shows Sunday morning from Steelers backup QB Charlie Batch and former Steeler star Jerome “The Bus” Bettis. It has extended its late news 10 minutes all week, thanks to Steeler coverage, with advertisers sponsoring the extra time. Carter said the station had a lone spot unsold as of late afternoon Friday.
“There’s been a ton of sponsorship opportunities,” he says.
The general managers say the Super windfall has been an exceedingly bright spot in a gloomy economy. “It couldn’t have come at a better time,” says Carter.