A basic goal for any TV show is to "win" its timeslot for the network by having the highest ratings, and thus the highest ad revenue. However, there are some battles [[CurbStompBattle you just can't win]]: "AppointmentTelevision" or "must-see TV" events such as [[BigGame sports championships]], {{Award Show}}s, and major premieres/finales are going to win their timeslots no matter what the other networks air.

In response, the other networks may not even try to compete for ratings and instead look for the least expensive way to fill that airtime. Often, this means reruns of a popular show, a movie marathon, or something else with extremely low production costs. Affiliated networks may actively seek out their ''worst'' programming to avoid interfering with the dominant program's ratings, or even direct viewers to the other channel rather than competing at all.

A variant is scheduling something special during a break in the action. This usually means timing the best content to run during the dominant program's commercial breaks to try and convince people to flip channels. For the SuperBowl, this means an alternative to the Halftime Show, as no one wants to miss the ads.

These are sometimes used to fill a FridayNightDeathSlot.
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!!Examples

* On SuperBowl Sunday, the cable channel AnimalPlanet schedules a program called the "Series/PuppyBowl" -- basically, extended footage of puppies playing in an enclosure resembling a football stadium, along with "play-by-play" commentary (for many years provided by an actual football announcer, Harry Kalas). From the second Puppy Bowl onwards, they had a kitten halftime show. 2013 introduced hedgehog cheerleaders. Over the years, this has become popular enough to crawl out of No Hoper territory. Ratings have increased from 690K when it premiered in 2005 to 10 million in 2012. While not coming close to competing with the Super Bowl's viewership, it's repeatedly broken Animal Planet's network records. It's also gotten popular enough to have its own imitator: Hallmark Channel is now running a ''[[EverythingsCuterWithKittens Kitten]]'' [[FollowTheLeader Bowl]].
** Animal Planet also created an Olympic-themed spin-off of the Puppy Bowl, the Puppy Games, to run opposite the Olympics' opening and closing ceremonies.
** American broadcast networks used to attempt to compete with whoever had the contract for the current Super Bowl, but now that they ''all'' air some form of NFL content, they don't even try. Fox sacrificed new episodes of ''TilDeath'' to the 2010 Super Bowl. The show had no following by that point (at least, that wasn't in it for the trainwreck fascination) and the initial airing was only so that the producers could reach the syndication threshold.
** The No Hoper phenomenon was mentioned InUniverse in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', when Professor Farnsworth pays to have their commercial aired ''during'' the Superbowl... just not on the channel that's ''showing'' the Superbowl.
** Likewise, in ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'', the first episode with Luanne's Manger Babies puppets has her getting airtime on Channel 86... opposite the Super Bowl, which puts Hank (cast as God) in a tough spot.
** One radio station in Green Bay, Wisconsin was so convinced no one would listen during a Packers Super Bowl appearance that they chose ''dead air.''
* When the famous ''Series/{{Dallas}}'' "Who Shot J.R.?" episode was first broadcast, NBC officials joked that opposite it they would just run a card reading, "We're watching it too."
* When Johnny Carson aired his final episode as host of ''Series/TheTonightShow'', Creator/ComedyCentral aired a 90-minute live feed of a bottle of Tabasco sauce in an empty talk show set. [=McIlheney's=] Tabasco Sauce was the only advertiser crazy enough to sponsor the channel's Dadaist tribute to a legendary comedian.
* During the GrandFinale episode of ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'', Creator/{{MTV}} interrupted programming whenever Creator/{{NBC}} went to commercial, and showed a clip from their then-upcoming AnimatedAnthology ''Cartoon Sushi''. The host claimed they were timing their broadcast by looking out the window of the studio, and watching the giant TV in Times Square.
** During that episode, TVLand ran a card encouraging its viewers to turn to ''Seinfeld''. The same was done for ''EverybodyLovesRaymond''... two extremely successful comedies that TVLand expected to syndicate the nostalgic dickens out of in future years.
** In Australia, ''Seinfeld'' was run on two channels--one showed new episodes, one reruns--at about the same time. When the finale was shown on the first channel, the second showed only a black screen.
* In many local markets it was for many years assumed that either ''[[TheOprahWinfreyShow Oprah]]'' or ''JudgeJudy'' would win the 4pm weekday timeslot, so the other stations aired programs (like local news, sitcom reruns, or talk shows) with low ratings expectations but some hope of maintaining viewer momentum.
* The US version of ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' [[TropesAreNotBad actually benefited from low ratings expectations for its timeslot]]. Creator/{{ABC}} aired it Thursdays at 8:00 (7:00 Central), opposite ''{{Friends}}'' on NBC and ''Series/{{Survivor}}'' on CBS. ABC knew ''Whose Line'' was cheap to produce and had a dedicated fanbase that would produce ''consistent'' ratings, and the show lasted longer there than it would have in a timeslot with higher overall expectations.
* During the series finale of ''{{Friends}}'', TV Land aired counter-programming that consisted of... a group of young people watching the series finale of ''Friends''.
* For the last few years, every MTV network (including VH1 and digital channels such as MTV Hits and VH1 Classic) has switched to a black screen directing viewers to MTV during the Video Music Awards. The same networks used to air their lousiest programming during the awards show, like VH1's the run-into-the-ground TV movie ''The Jacksons: An American Dream''. One year, MTV2 showed a split-screen simulcast, with the official MTV feed in one corner and three other "behind-the-scenes" cameras in the other boxes.
* The ''[[BeautyContest Miss Venezuela]]'' gala is the Venezuelan equivalent of the SuperBowl, and attracts a broad audience; the other channels know this, and either keep their usual schedule or play movies of the national and/or controversial variety. One year, the cast of a popular late show decided that the best way to compete would be simulcasting and {{MST}}ing the beauty contest to turn it into a DrinkingGame. Some parts of the simulcast got higher ratings than the original contest.
* The Mexican soccer finals, as well as some derby matches such as Chivas vs. América, are often broadcast against old movies as Mexico's other TV channels don't bother to compete.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The series 4 finale [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E13JourneysEnd "Journey's End"]] was hyped weeks before it was aired, with the excitement level growing exponentially. It had an expected viewership of 10 million, so Creator/TheBBC's rival Creator/{{ITV}} showed ''Film/KindergartenCop'' against it.
** ITV did actually put some effort into competing against ''Doctor Who'' in the show's first relaunched season in 2005. ''Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'' aired against the first four episodes of the revival, and while it didn't beat ''Doctor Who'', it still performed pretty well in the ratings, all things considered. ITV's next effort ''Celebrity Wrestling'' got utterly ripped to shreds in the ratings, though, and became a national joke within days. ITV subsequently realised that shows like ''Saturday Night Takeaway'' were best saved for when the BBC themselves were broadcasting No Hoper Repeats, and since then have mostly aired old films and clip shows against ''Doctor Who''.
** Ironically, ''Doctor Who'' was ''itself'' an example of this trope when it was broadcast against ITV's ''Series/CoronationStreet'' from 1987-1989.
* During the 2008 Olympics, Fox8 (an Australian cable TV channel) aired almost non-stop ''{{Simpsons}}, WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy, WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill, WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' and ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episodes. It almost worked, until they ran out of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episodes so they had to run repeats of the NoHoperRepeat during the extended NoHoperRepeat.
** During the 2004 Olympics, they just showed ''{{Simpsons}}'' episodes during the day. That's right, at least ''six hours'' of ''Simpsons'' episodes a ''day''.
* The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 are a tragic example. Any channel with even a tangential relationship to news reporting was airing non-stop updates, while other networks aired the most anodyne canned material they could find (partially out of respect and partially because they knew no one was watching...including them), and some just stopped broadcast altogether. Thankfully, such programming provided an opportunity to escape from the HeroicBSOD for a few minutes, if needed. Very little original programming aired on any network for at least a week. Sites like the [[http://archive.org/details/911/day/20010912#/ Understanding 9/11]] repository from the Internet Archive show how much the different networks' coverage converged immediately after the attacks. (TheOnion [[https://web.archive.org/web/20100325205520/http://www.theonion.com/issue/3734/ also provided a spot-on "On TV Tonight"...]])
** On the day of the attacks, {{MTV}} and its sister station [=VH1=] did a national simulcast of coverage from NewYorkCity's [[Creator/{{CBS}} WCBS-TV]], the only major English-language station still broadcasting in the City (they had a backup tower on the Empire State Building, unlike the other stations). For the following week, MTV aired a nonstop loop of No Hoper Music Videos, consisting entirely of Music/DestinysChild's "Emotion", Music/NellyFurtado's "I'm Like a Bird", and {{U2}}'s "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of".
** Like MTV, {{BET}} intially simulcast coverage from CBS, then switched to blocks of music videos interspersed with periodic updates from BET's own news division.
** DiscoveryChannel aired many No Hoper Documentaries during the week after the attacks.
** One of the few bits of original programming that did air in the week following the tragedy was, of all things, ProfessionalWrestling: in a widely criticized move, Wrestling/{{WWE}} held a special live edition of ''[=SmackDown!=]'' just two days after 9/11 that featured matches put on just to entertain the fans (no storylines were advanced). {{Vince McMahon}} came out at the top of the show to beam with pride that it was the first such large gathering since the attacks, and painted it as a defiant statement against fear of terrorism. Incidentally, the reason it was a "special live edition" was that the show was originally scheduled to tape on Tuesday... September 11. That event, naturally, got cancelled.
** HGTV and Food Network left the air completely, showing only still screens for two days, knowing that nobody was in the mood to be instructed on anything.
** Some PBS stations aired kids' programming almost all day during the two weeks after the tragedy so that children would have '''something''' to watch besides news on the regular networks.
** For the first several hours after the attacks {{ESPN}} ran coverage from ABC News. After much soul-searching in Bristol about whether to air ''SportsCenter'', the network decided to go forward with an episode that merely informed viewers of the sports events that had been cancelled or otherwise affected by the day's grim events. Had the decision gone the other way, it would have been the only day in the network's history without at least one airing of ''SportsCenter''.
** The Latin Grammys were to broadcast that evening on CBS from Los Angeles. The ceremony never took place and the awards were given out at a news conference over a month and a half later.
** In Canada, almost every major basic cable station ran news reports about the tragedy - except for youth programming channels which continued airing repeats of their early morning shows (i.e. stuff for the little ones rather than the {{KidCom}}s and {{Teen Drama}}s normally seen later in the day) and public access stations (almost all of which went to a static image saying that programming was suspended).
** Parodied by TheOnion in a piece about the new "[[http://www.theonion.com/articles/network-programming-dominated-by-surreality-tv,3293/ surreality TV]]" genre spawned in the wake of the attack.
** SaturdayNightLive's first episode after the attack opened with [[BigDamnHeroes New York Firemen]] on stage with mayor Rudolph Giuliani giving the audience permission to laugh.
** Subverted by ''TheFundayPawpetShow'', which usually runs on Sunday nights. The cast of the interactive show quickly gathered together that Tuesday night and did a live broadcast discussing the incident and calming people down. Both out of respect and the fact that it wasn't a 'show' per se, it was not recorded by the creators. The only known recording was viewer-made.
* Parodied on ''[[LateNight LateNight With Conan O'Brien]]'' which, playing opposite the Olympics on Creator/{{CBS}}, ran a segment called "Nobody's Watching", which featured antics such as Conan and Andy smoking cigarettes, Conan revealing that he wore a Hanson t-shirt under his shirt and tie, and Al Roker stopping by to confess that he hated being a weatherman.
* During the fifteenth series of ''TopGear'', the trio knew that one of their episodes was going to go out against TheWorldCup Final on both BBC and ITV. Figuring no-one would be watching, they didn't put much effort into the episode, which didn't even include a Power Lap, although it did contain two Star-in-a-Reasonably-Priced-Car records being broken: Rubens Barrichello on the F1 leaderboard, and [[Film/HarryPotter Rupert Grint]] in the Cee'd (and breaking the Liana and Lacetti records before it). The following week, Jeremy Clarkson admitted even he didn't watch that episode, as he was ''in Johannesburg at the final'' at the time. A similar thing happened again when they realized they were in a losing fight they were in a losing fight against ''BBC Sports Personality Of The Year''.
* In Australia, immediately after an election is called, the leaders of the major parties are obliged to take part in a televised debate. Unfortunately, due to bad planning, the 2010 debate ran on the same night as the finale of ''[=MasterChef=]'', the most watched programme in Australian TV history. Eventually, everyone decided to hold the debate before the ''[=MasterChef=]'' finale so people could watch both.[[note]]Not that anyone watched the debate anyway, but it's the thought that counts.[[/note]]
* This was attempted in reverse by the UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush campaign during the 1988 US presidential election. Fearing a poor debate performance against Michael Dukakis, the Bush campaign agreed to two televised debates--one to be scheduled against the Olympics and the other against baseball's National League Championship Series. The broadcast networks foiled this plan by quickly accommodating the debates in their schedules. NBC suspended their Olympic programming for an hour and a half, while ABC scheduled a late start for the baseball game, which was being played at Dodgers Stadium on the West Coast.
* Similarly, when it became apparent that BarackObama's first State of the Union address would conflict with ''Series/{{Lost}}'''s sixth season premiere, ''the president'' rescheduled. He reshuffled to accommodate the TV schedule again in September 2011 for a speech to Congress that had already been rescheduled once to appease the GOP (it had originally been set for the night of a Republican primary debate), which was shuffled again to an earlier time to avoid competing with the Saints/Packers season kickoff game. Needless to say, in Wisconsin and Louisiana? You didn't see that speech on NBC at all.
* NBC used TheMonkees special ''33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee'' as this, scheduling it against the 1969 Academy Awards.
* For Election Day 2004, Cartoon Network played ONE EPISODE of ''WesternAnimation/HarveyBirdmanAttorneyAtLaw''. It was a [[RunningGag thematically relevant]] Quick Draw [=McGraw=] episode, where Phil Ken Sebben runs for President thanks to support from The Guitar Lobby, but it was all they aired. [[OverlyLongGag All. Day. Long.]]
* British soap operas ''Series/EastEnders'' and ''Series/CoronationStreet'' used to battle it out in the ratings, but now none of the soaps from the main three terrestrial channels run simultaneously. In fact, you can watch ''Series/{{Hollyoaks}}'', ''Series/{{Emmerdale}}'', ''Coronation Street'', and then ''[=EastEnders=]'' one after another.
* For the last few years, every time [[TheBeautifulGame football]] matches are broadcast, German network ''Pro7'' has put on a comedy marathon (''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', ''Series/TwoAndAHalfMen'', ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'', ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', etc. depending on the current day of the week).
* Creator/TheBBC has played this along with a TakeThat, going up against the ''BigBrother'' finale with an episode of ''JudgeJohnDeed'' that utterly annihilates reality TV.
* Variant: Brazilian channel Record, which is owned by a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IURD massive church]], did not get the 2014 {{FIFA World Cup}} rights. So Record will broadcast religious movies\miniseries, and the channel president\church leader requested his followers to a "TV fasting" during the Cup; the church tried to cover up by saying the cause of such attitude was a new temple instead of TV ratings, but...

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