Washington experienced a downpour Monday evening that resulted in flash flood warnings throughout the area. But hey, why should potentially life-threatening rainfall mean that the most dramatic part of the night’s “Bachelorette” be interrupted for a weather report?
Just as one of the contestants on the ABC reality dating show was confronted on-camera by his incensed ex-girlfriend for not telling her he was competing on a reality show for Desiree Hartsock‘s love (Des is pictured above), ABC7’s Doug Hill interrupted to give viewers a weather update.
Some were aghast at his horrible timing. “I demand an apology for interrupting the climax of the ‘Bachelorette,'” viewer Kelsey Donley tweeted at Hill. And she was only one of many upset with ABC7’s cut-in.
“I wont be surprised if Doug Hill cuts in before the final rose is given,” tweeted Andrea Gregory.
For the uninitiated, each contestant on the show receives a rose at the end of each episode, so long as the “bachelorette” wants to keep him around for more dates.
Twitter user “Karol,” who only has eight tweets to date, barked at Hill in all capitals, “FURIOUS YOU INTERRUPTED ‘THE BACHELORETTE’ RIGHT AT MOMENT WE WERE WAITING FOR. [NBC’s] ‘THE VOICE’ WAS NOT INTERRUPTED BUT HAD [the weather update] IN CORNER.”
Hill’s weather report continued for roughly 10 minutes. The duration of the update was actually miniscule, given that each episode of “The Bachelorette” runs for 2 hours. But it was the tense point at which it came that was crucial. A second report from Hill came later in the show but began during a commercial break.
“This time Doug Hill is interrupting a commercial and not ‘The Bachelorette.'” tweeted Steven Mobley. “Looks like ABC7 learned their lesson.”
Abby Fenton, ABC7’s director of community relations, is unapologetic about the station’s interruption. “There were a handful of calls. Not anything very significant,” she told FishbowlDC. She said it is the station’s policy to interrupt scheduled programming “whenever the lives of greater Washington might be at risk.”
“We felt good about that decision,” she said, “given the severe weather that was happening.”
Fenton also said ABC7’s “obligation with the FCC” requires the station to make those decisions.
Rebecca Cooper, who anchors ABC7’s Sunday show “Washington Business Report,” expressed sympathy for the assignment desk. “They are slammed covering breaking news due to a storm that covered a very wide area and are dealing with angry viewers who don’t want to miss a moment of dating hysteria,” she told FishbowlDC. “It’s good our viewers know Doug and our team will break into coverage when they feel it’s necessary. Coming from Oklahoma, I can appreciate how important that is.”
But some weren’t so appreciative. TWT‘s Emily Miller, an avid “Bachelorette” watcher remarked to FishbowlDC last night, “I want to kill Doug Hill for breaking in for 10 minutes during the ex-girlfriend, single mother scene. Like a storm warning couldn’t wait for commercial break? This isn’t Oklahoma. Doug Hill owes the women in DC region an apology and ABC has to re-air that scene tomorrow night. I haven’t seen a single rain drop since 8pm.”
Cooper said “Bachelorette” fans like Miller shouldn’t be too worried, as they can easily access every episode online. (It’s true.) “I feel more sorry for viewers when we have to break in to their favorite show for a political speech,” she added.
Doug Hill did not respond to request for comment.