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No-Hoper Repeat

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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 you just can't win: "Appointment Television" or "must-see TV" events such as sports championships, Award Shows, 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 such an event, often during a break in the action. For the Super Bowl, this often meant an alternative during the halftime break (although this practice has fell out of favor when the NFL began to make efforts to invite major musicians to play the halftime show rather than performance ensembles such as Up With People).

These are sometimes used to fill a Friday Night Death Slot.



  • On Super Bowl Sunday, the cable channel Animal Planet schedules a program called the "Puppy Bowl" — basically, extended footage of puppies playing in an enclosure resembling a football stadium, along with "play-by-play" commentary (for many years provided by famed sportscaster Harry Kalas). From the second Puppy Bowl onwards, they had a kitten halftime show, 2013 introduced hedgehog cheerleaders, and 2014 featured guest spots from The Muppets (as a tie-in with the then-upcoming Muppets Most Wanted). Over the years, the Puppy Bowl has become popular enough to crawl out of No Hoper territory. While not coming close to competing with the Super Bowl's viewership, it's repeatedly broken Animal Planet's network records, with ratings increasing from 690K when it premiered in 2005 to 10 million in 2012. It's also gotten popular enough to have its own imitators, such as the Kitten Bowl which airs on Hallmark Channel (which got a Cat Bowl spinoff in 2019, inverting the Spinoff Babies trope).
    • 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 networks used to attempt to compete with whoever had the contract for the current Super Bowl — most often airing a special against the halftime show. The practice was codified in 1992 when Fox (in)famously aired a live In Living Color! special and managed to steal away at least 20 million viewers, prompting the NFL to bring in the big guns the following year). Nowadays, as viewership of the halftime shows are just as massive as the game itself, they don't even try.
      • However, in 2010, Fox sacrificed new episodes of 'Til Death to the Super Bowl. The show had no following by that point (at least, that wasn't in it for the trainwreck fascination), and its distributor had given Fox a discount just so they could rack up enough episodes for syndication.
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    • North American sports in general come to a standstill on the evening of the Super Bowl. However, there have been exceptions: in Canada in 2018, due to how the schedule of the season was planned due to the Winter Olympics, the finals of a provincial men's curling championship, and more importantly, the championship game of Canada's women's curling championship, both aired against the Super Bowl. Cue photos inside Canadian sports bars with televisions set to all three events.
    • The No Hoper phenomenon was mentioned In-Universe in Futurama, when Professor Farnsworth pays to have their commercial aired during the Super Bowl... just not on the channel that's showing it.
    • Likewise, in King of the Hill, the first episode with Luanne's Manger Babies puppets has her getting airtime on Channel 84... opposite the Super Bowl, which puts Hank (cast as God) in a tough spot.
    • One radio station in Green Bay, Wisconsin took this trope Up to Eleven: they were so convinced no one would listen during a Packers Super Bowl appearance that they chose Dead Air.
    • Cable channels tend to run movies or TV marathons opposite the Bowl. For instance, in 2015, almost every Viacom cable network (except for Nick Jr., which ran a Peppa Pig marathon) did so with films in their archives: Nickelodeon showed their in-house film Rags, and LOGO showed The Rocky Horror Picture Show. On the series front, The Hub competed in 2013 with a "Strawberry Bowl", and the digital subchannel Get TV countered the 2017 Bowl with a marathon of The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.
      • Another notable Nickelodeon Super Bowl marathon was Rugrats Big Adventure Sunday in 2013, in which several episodes of Rugrats and Rugrats in Paris aired for 5 hours, making it the first time the show had aired episodes on the network in years.
    • In 2012, the lead-out program for the Bowl was Glee. In Canada, while CTV has been the event's broadcaster for a while now, the broadcast rights to Glee were with Global (who, ironically, used to be the NFL's Canadian broadcaster) at the time. So Global put together a "Sue-Per Bowl Sunday" marathon of previous Glee episodes (along with Glee-themed episodes of The Simpsons and The Office) before the new episode, "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle". (CTV went with a new episode of their in-house production Flashpoint as their lead-out program.)
    • NFL Network itself runs a static "Game Center" screen with a scoreboard and audio from the radio broadcast — meant as a subtle hint for viewers to change the channel and come back later for the post-game. NFL Network used to do something similar on Sundays during the regular season, simulcasting essentially a radio version of the RedZone channel from Sirius XM, until they replaced it with the rolling news and analysis program NFL GameDay Live in 2014.
  • In an unusual case of a network running no-hopers against themselves, ESPN2 usually dug out poker to run against Monday Night Football during the gap between the start of NFL season and the start of college basketball. In 2017, they decided to fill it with a Spanish simulcast from ESPN Deportes instead.
  • When the famous 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 The Tonight Show, Comedy Central 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 Grand Finale episode of Seinfeld, MTV interrupted programming whenever NBC went to commercial, and showed a clip from their then-upcoming Animated Anthology 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, TV Land ran a card encouraging its viewers to turn to Seinfeld. The same was done for Everybody Loves Raymond... two extremely successful comedies that TV Land 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.
    • On a related note, after MTV aired pilots of it as halftime counterprogramming, Celebrity Deathmatch aired its series premiere on the same night as the Seinfeld finale. Fittingly, the main event of said episode was Tim Allen versus Jerry Seinfeld.
  • Televisa and TV Azteca would often do these to each other, mostly with shows of similar nature. One of many examples, on Azteca's premiere of La Academia, Televisa premiered La Voz Kids.
  • In many local markets it was for many years assumed that either Oprah or Judge Judy 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 Whose Line Is It Anyway? actually benefited from low ratings expectations for its timeslot. ABC aired it Thursdays at 8:00 (7:00 Central), opposite Friends on NBC and 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) and CMT) has switched to a black screen directing viewers to MTV during both the Video Music Awards and the MTV Movie Awards. The same networks used to air their lousiest programming during the former awards show, like ABC's run-into-the-ground TV movie The Jacksons: An American Dream. One year, MTV2 showed a split-screen simulcast of the VMA's, with the official MTV feed in one corner and three other "behind-the-scenes" cameras in the other boxes.
    • ESPN has occasionally done special event broadcasts across their channels in a similar format, formerly referred to as ESPN Full Circle, but now referred to as the "Megacast" and typically done for the College Football Playoff games. Every ESPN channel airs some feed of the game with alternate perspectives or features — such as the "Film Room" with extended play analysis by an expert panel (usually including former coaches), a reaction stream of a bunch of personalities just watching the game, Paul Finebaum cheerleading the inevitable SEC team on SEC Network and taking viewer phone calls at halftime (replaced in 2019 by one hosted by the panel of its show Thinking Out Loud), no commentary, alternate camera angles, the teams' radio networks, Spanish, etc.
  • Nickelodeon now also has their sister networks (and fellow Viacom channels TV Land and CMT) carry the Kids's Choice Awards in a simulcast to make sure that a rerun of One on One or Everybody Loves Raymond doesn't cost them a thousandth of a ratings point. They now do this with other big events too, such as original movie premieres or major crossover specials.
  • The Miss Venezuela gala is the Venezuelan equivalent of the Super Bowl, 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 MSTing the beauty contest to turn it into a Drinking Game. 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.
  • Doctor Who, especially in it's native United Kingdom:
    • The series 4 finale "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 The BBC's rival ITV showed Kindergarten Cop 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 crashed and burned in the ratings, though, and became a national joke within days. ITV subsequently realized 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 Coronation Street from 1987-1989.
  • During the 2008 Olympics, Fox8 (an Australian cable TV channel) aired almost non-stop The Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill, Futurama and American Dad! episodes. It almost worked, until they ran out of American Dad! episodes so they had to run repeats of the No-Hoper Repeat during the extended No-Hoper Repeat.
    • 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 of 9/11 and The War on Terror are a spectacular 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 themselves), and some just stopped broadcast altogether. Thankfully, such programming provided an opportunity to escape from the Heroic BSoD for a few minutes, if needed. Very little original programming aired on any network for at least a week. Sites like the Understanding 9/11 repository from the Internet Archive show how much the different networks' coverage converged immediately after the attacks. (The Onion also not only provided a spot-on "On TV Tonight"..., but parodied this trope in a piece about the new "surreality TV" genre spawned in the wake of the attack.)
    • On the day of the attacks, MTV and its sister station VH1 did a national simulcast of coverage from New York City's Viacom-owned 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 music video loop, consisting entirely of Destiny's Child's "Emotion", Nelly Furtado's "I'm Like a Bird", and U2's "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of".
    • Like MTV, BET initially simulcast coverage from CBS, then switched to blocks of music videos interspersed with periodic updates from BET's own news division.
    • Discovery Channel pulled a variety of documentaries out of their archives and aired them one after the other for the week after the tragedy.
    • One of the few bits of original programming that did air in the week following the tragedy was, of all things, Professional Wrestling: in a widely criticized move, the WWF 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 that SmackDown! 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. In Food's case, it was because it was located in lower Manhattan where a mandatory evacuation occurred, and presumably running cooking shows was a very low priority for anyone.
    • Some PBS stations aired kids' programming (including several rarely-aired and/or long-cancelled shows such as Tots TV, Theodore Tugboat, The Noddy Shop and Adventures from the Book of Virtues) almost all day during the two weeks after the tragedy so that children would have something to watch besides news on the regular networks. Cable networks such as Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, as well as UPN's Disney One Too block, presumably followed their example.
    • 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. Other new programming was delayed for a bit out of respect, including the premiere of Emeril, prompting jokes that the terrorists were saving viewers from watching the unremarkable sitcom. The Emmys (which were to broadcast just a few days later) were also affected, however unlike the Latin Grammys it was simply delayed to October, then delayed again when the War on Terror really started to sizzle. The ceremony would eventually take place in November - just in time for sweeps.
    • 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 KidComs and Teen Dramas normally seen later in the day), and public access stations, almost all of which went to a static image saying that programming was suspended.
    • Saturday Night Live's first episode after the attack opened with New York Firemen on stage with mayor Rudolph Giuliani giving the audience permission to laugh.
    • Subverted by The Funday Pawpet Show, which usually ran on Sunday nights. The cast of the (Internet-based) 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.
    • Some radio stations switched to their all-Christmas format in October as a result of people wanting Lighter and Softer programming in wake of the attacks. It was successful, and the tradition continues to this day.
  • Parodied on Late Night With Conan O'Brien; when the Winter Olympics in Nagano were on CBS against his show, Conan decided that they could do pretty much anything they wanted "because nobody's watching". Antics ensued, such as Conan and Andy smoking cigarettes, Conan confessing that he wore a Hanson t-shirt under his suit, along with his hatred for the NBC logo in the corner of the screen (proceeding to douse it with bug spray), Max Weinberg confessing that he murdered Bruce Springsteen's drummer (and other people he didn't like), and Al Roker stopping by to confess that he had no interest in being a weatherman, and thought the job would lead to an acting career.
    • He did a similar sketch in May 2001 after realizing that NBC's coverage of an NBA playoff game had likely preempted his show into a later time slot than usual. This time, Conan confessed that most of his production staff were kids, he listened to an album called "Cuddle Tunes" in bed, the entire universe was the product of James Van Der Beek's thoughts, and Joel Godard shared a clip of his new "film" Stripes of Honor.
  • During the fifteenth series of Top Gear, the trio knew that one of their episodes was going to go out against The World Cup 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 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 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 
  • This was attempted in reverse by the George H. W. Bush 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 Dodger Stadium on the West Coast.
  • Similarly, when it became apparent that Barack Obama's first State of the Union address would conflict with 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 NFL kickoff game. Needless to say, in Wisconsin and Louisiana? You didn't see that speech on NBC at all.
  • NBC used The Monkees special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee as this, scheduling it against the 1969 Academy Awards on the West Coast (it aired an hour before East Coast).
  • For Election Day 2004, Adult Swim repeated one new episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law all night long — a thematically relevant Quick Draw McGraw episode where Phil Ken Sebben runs for President thanks to support from The Guitar Lobby.
  • British soap operas EastEnders and Coronation Street 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 Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Coronation Street, and then EastEnders one after another.
  • For the last few years, every time football matches are broadcast, German network Pro 7 has put on a comedy marathon (The Simpsons, Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, etc. depending on the current day of the week).
  • In the UK, The BBC has played this along with a Take That!, going up against the Big Brother finale with an episode of Judge John Deed making fun of reality TV.
  • Variant: Brazilian channel Record, whose owner is the founder of the megachurch Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, failed to acquire 2014 FIFA World Cup broadcast rights. Instead, they aired religious movies/miniseries, and the channel president/church leader requested a "TV fast" from his followers during the Cup; the church tried to cover up the obvious motive by saying the cause of such an attitude was a new temple instead of TV ratings.
  • For a period, CTV counter-programmed Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday evenings with a marathon of The Big Bang Theory reruns (as if it doesn't get run enough by CTV and its sister networks to begin with) that it was dubbed Big Bang Night in Canada.
    • Although the Summer Olympics are, in a relative sense, not as significant in Canada as the Winter Olympics, CTV still tried to drag away some viewers from the 2016 Summer Olympics by running the first season of Game of Thrones uncut and uncensored on broadcast TV.
  • For several years, the American Idol finale was a one-episode wrecking crew guaranteed to wipe out any competitor that dared to face it.
    • After years of being on Sunday for such a reason, CBS decided that diminishing ratings for Idol finally made it safe to put the season finale of Survivor (resuming with Cagayan) on a weekday.
    • Fox counterprogrammed the premiere of the ABC revival by showing O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?, a special featuring footage from a cancelled O.J. interview special for his book If I Did It, in which he hypothetically described how he would have performed the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, if he were the one responsible. The special was supposed to air in 2005, nearly 13 years earlier.
  • On the UK Polling Day 2015, E4 broadcast 12 hours of an overweight man in an ill-fitting tshirt sitting in a white room swinging around on his chair to muzak, playing the pan-pipes badly and occasionally just reading a book in order to encourage young people to go out and vote.
  • Just prior to the final episode of The Late Show with David Letterman (which aired on May 20, 2015 on CBS), Conan O'Brien told the audience some fond memories about Letterman's help during his early career, then advised the people watching his show at home during the opening monologue to switch over and watch the episode instead of his; this was an easy call as the shows only overlapped by 25 minutes.
  • Golf Channel tends to broadcast golf-related movies such as Tin Cup, The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Greatest Game Ever Played, or in some cases, a marathon of Feherty, when another channel is broadcasting coverage of a major tournament (usually out of respect, there are no other golf events going on against majors).
  • On a related note, the PGA Tour sometimes runs a No-Hoper Tournament, officially known as an "alternate event", against selected limited-field events, such as World Golf Championships events or majors, including the Sanderson Farms Championship (which currently counters the HSBC Champions, but has also countered the Masters and The Open in the past), the Puerto Rico Open (WGC Match Play), the Barracuda Championship (formerly the Reno–Tahoe Open, against the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. To mix things up, it is also notably the only PGA Tour event to use the Stableford scoring system), and the Barbasol Championship (held against the Open Championship). As the field is weaker, these events award fewer points for the World Golf Ranking and FedEx Cup, and winners do not receive an invite to The Masters.
    • However, players can still earn a two-year membership on the PGA Tour and an invite to the PGA Championship if they win — which can give lower-tier players A Day in the Limelight. In 2016, the Barracuda Championship retroactively invited top-5 finishers to the Open Championship if they weren't already in the tournament, since the Greenbrier Classic (which was designated as an event on the Open Qualifying Series — meaning that this same path was to be available there) was flooded out and cancelled.
  • In this SatireWire story, everyone is too busy watching the 2000 election recount to notice a reunion of The Beatles (including John Lennon), Israel and Palestine declaring peace, an a-bomb levelling China, Microsoft taking over the internet, or Jesus returning.
  • When the Nickelodeon family of networks have their Worldwide Day of Play, they tend to suspend programming for a few hours so kids can "get up, go outside and play". Therefore, other kids' networks will air programming to entertain those who don't feel like going outside but want to watch something besides a static screen on any of the Nick channels, making Nick's tactic a bit useless, for at least a few hours. Take 2016 for instance:
  • Disney Channel broadcast an airing of High School Musical opposite Fox's remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This choice may have been an intentional joke on Disney's part, since Kenny Ortega was involved with both productions.
  • NBC breaks out "Vintage" Saturday Night Live when they have absolutely nothing else to stick in the 10PM Saturday night slot or, for instance, against the World Series. These tend to be recent if planned - but if NBC's own intended sporting event is cancelled they break out the original-cast episodes from The '70s.
  • When the final episode of The Cosby Show premiered, Fox countered it with an hourlong "Bart Bonanza" of two fan-favorite The Simpsons episodes, "Three Men and a Comic Book" and "Radio Bart". It ended with a short animation (which was almost entirely the scene from "Bart vs. Thanksgiving" where Homer and Bart watch the Thanksgiving parade, redubbed with new dialogue) that has (despite never being shown again, even on the DVDs) proven to be Hilarious in Hindsight regarding the subsequent Seasonal Rot of The Simpsons.
  • On the day of the first half of The Voice's eleventh season finale, all of Turner's channels decided to show different marathons to compete against it:
    • TBS showed a marathon of Seth McFarlane's animated shows, which started at 2:00PM as opposed to their usual 5:00PM timeslot on Mondays.
    • TNT showed The Wizard of Oz three times in a row.
    • Cartoon Network once again showed a Teen Titans Go! marathon.
    • Boomerang showed a marathon of Scooby-Doo films.
  • This often happens during presidential inaugurations as well. For viewers not interested in watching it, the other channels will often show marathons or movies (or both). This mostly happens on children's channels, but sometimes networks of other genres do it as well. Case in point: During Donald Trump's inauguration, TBS aired a Family Guy marathon, and Food Network aired a marathon of Cake Wars.
  • On February 15th, 2016 Disney XD aired the highly anticipated Grand Finale of Gravity Falls. In an attempt to pull viewers from it, Cartoon Network aired an episode of Teen Titans Go! called "Pyramid Scheme". It didn’t work.
  • Another excuse to show marathons or movies on television is the annual 700 Club telethon, which preempts programming on all TBN-owned networks (except Smile of a Child) and Freeformnote . To entertain the viewers who otherwise would not be interested in the telethon (especially Freeform viewers, as the marathon takes over the Sunday movie marathon's timeslot), other channels will play marathons of their shows to compete with them, usually aimed at Freeform's teen demographic. Here's what happened in 2017:
  • President's Day 2017 had a unique example of No Hoper. While almost every kids/youth network had a marathon of some sortnote , the biggest event to come out of any of them was the 200th episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. Meanwhile, on most of the other networks...
  • Defied with HBO. Since their Sunday night lineup on February 2017 (Big Little Lies, Girls and Crashing (US)) conflicted with the Oscars, they made the newest episodes of each series available on their streaming services two days early, so fans wouldn't have to flip back and forth between them. However, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has aired episodes against the Academy Awards, once even mocking them in the last title card.
  • Borderline example: When NBC premiered Despicable Me 2, ABC aired Over the Hedge on the same night, at the same time.
  • During the Nickelodeon premiere of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water, many kids' networks showed other things to compete against it:
  • Kevin O'Keefe of posits that one of the reasons (among many) that, in 2017, many shows that normally premiered in the summer instead delayed their premiers to the fall is because of this trope. Game of Thrones season 7 finished airing in August instead of June as usual, meaning that the whole summer was dominated by Game of Thrones coverage. This would mean that many critically acclaimed but less ubiquitous shows that normally do relatively well ratings-wise would likely be overshadowed by Game of Thrones.
  • If a new preschool series premieres on either Disney Junior or PBS Kids or a special episode of a preschool series is broadcast on either channel note  and said premiere happens to be on a weekday morning, Nickelodeon will usually counter-program it with an all-day marathon of PAW Patrol. On some occasions, like the second season premiere of Mickey and the Roadster Racers, there will only be a marathon during the actual time period they're competing with, with the rest of the day being comprised of their regular programming.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episodes "Grandmum's The Word" and "Old Man Patrick" were bumped up from late March 2018 to February 16th, 2018 because of this trope, since that day was the premiere of the Disney Channel original movie Z-O-M-B-I-E-S.
    • They would later do this again when the sequel to that film was released, with the channel counter-programming two Valentine's Day Episodes of The Loud House that were supposed to air a week earlier.
  • This also tends to happen during the Oscars as well, with networks running marathons of movies and/or TV shows against the ceremony. (As described further up, HBO defied this practice in 2017 by offering their Sunday lineup a few days early.)
  • Sometimes if a network plans a No-Hoper Repeat in advance against a certain special event or episode of a TV show and said event gets either cancelled or rescheduled, they will pull it from their lineup. Case in point: Cartoon Network was going to air an all-weekend long marathon of Teen Titans Go! on Memorial Day weekend against "Tripped!", a highly anticipated special of The Loud House. note  When Nickelodeon dropped the special from their schedule note  to make room for a behind the scenes special about The Thundermans to celebrate said show's Grand Finale, Cartoon Network changed their schedule to their normal weekend one.
  • This also tends to happen during the Tony Awards, with channels marathoning various movies against the ceremony. Sometimes, series themselves can be given a marathon: for example, in 2018, Cartoon Network showed a marathon of Clarence and Nick at Nite showed a marathon of Full House.
  • Antena 3, one of Spain's biggest three channels, is often criticized for re-broadcasting movies they've already aired, or simply putting in a cheap movie nobody cares about, on Thursday nights against Telecinco's long-established reality shows (which include the likes of the Spanish versions of Big Brother and Survivor), to the point that occasionally Telecinco itself will exploit it by programming 'special' episodes of these reality shows at other points of the week with the intention of sinking the ratings of Antena 3's newest shows.
  • On the day of Adventure Time's series finale, Nickelodeon ran a The Loud House school-themed compilation at the same time to counter-program it.
  • In Australia, pay TV channel Fox Footy has live coverage of every match in the Australian Football League ... except for the Grand Final (which is carried exclusively by a free-to-air network). The channel still carries halftime coverage, though, and runs a countdown to said coverage on the channel during the game.
  • On the same day Nickelodeon ran a SpongeBob SquarePants marathon in remembrance of Stephen Hillenberg, Cartoon Network ran a three-hour marathon of Total DramaRama at the same time.
  • On January 21, 2019, Nickelodeon aired the Made-for-TV Movie Bixler High, Private Eye at the same time as the largely-hyped Steven Universe Extra-Long Episode "Change Your Mind" to counter-program it.
  • Since 1993, the UK's Channel 4 has countered the traditional Royal Christmas Message on Christmas Day with an "alternative Christmas message" — which is presented by a celebrity and tends to be more unconventional in nature. The first was delivered by Quentin Crisp (who was actually born on Christmas, and represented a slightly different definition of the word "queen"), and it has since been presented by such figures as Jesse Jackson, Ali G, Sharon Osbourne, Marge Simpson (promoting their recent acquisition of The Simpsons), Jamie Oliver, Edward Snowden, child survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, Adam Hills (which focused primarily on London's successful hosting of the Paralympics), and president of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Sister channel E4 has also gotten in on the fun with an alternative alternative Christmas message.
  • On July 1, 2019, Nick Jr. aired a marathon of PAW Patrol specials note  against the first re-run of My Little Pony: Rainbow Roadtrip.
  • At the same time as the premiere of SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout, some children's networks changed their schedules to show something else against it
  • Inversion: In 1986, The Cosby Show was prime time's number one show. It couldn't fail even when it was in summer repeats as CBS ran a six-week prime time edition of The Price Is Right against it; the ratings for Price were only one-third of what Cosby was earning.
  • When the PAW Patrol episode "Mighty Pups, Super PAWs: Pups Meet The Mighty Twins", which introduced two new characters, premiered on Nickelodeon, three networks aimed at children counter-programmed either marathons or new episodes of preschool programming against it.
  • When Descendants 3 premiered on Disney Channel, most of the major kids' networks (and even two networks owned by Disney themselves) showed marathons or movies against it:
  • On August 26, 2019, Nick Jr. ran an all-afternoon PAW Patrol marathon against the cable premieres of The Boss Baby and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, which itself was competing with the MTV Music Awards.
  • On September 2, 2019, the premiere date of the enormously-hyped Steven Universe: The Movie, Nick and Disney competed against it:
    • Disney aired the Descendants trilogy to counter-program it.
    • Nick's is an interesting case. They aired a sneak peek of their four-episode mini-series, Middle School Moguls, directly after the movie. However, people were too excited about the movie and posting about it online to watch it.
  • Nickelodeon ran Journey 2: The Mysterious Island opposite the October 27, 2019 airing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on ABC.
  • Almost every kids' channel tried to compete against each other on November 27, 2019 to compete with that day's airing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on ABC as well as the Teen Titans Go! special "Beast Boy: That's What Up!" on Cartoon Network and the premiere of a new PAW Patrol episode on Nickelodeon:
  • Nickelodeon used to counter-program their airings of the Nick version of Doug against Disney Channel's airings of Disney's version of Doug.
  • When Nickelodeon aired a live show of The SpongeBob Musical on December 2019, ABC counter programmed it with a rerun of The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live! on the same night.
  • As Russia had advanced to the gold medal game of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, its broadcast in the country was moved to Channel One at the last minute. The sports network Match TV — which had carried all other games up to that point — showed a rerun of the 2011 gold medal game (Russia's most recent gold medal win) against it. As both games involved Canada and Russia, this led to confusion when some viewers thought that the game on Match TV was the 2020 game. Cue Russians celebrating their victory from nine years ago on social media, until they realized Canada had won. One of said viewers was the head of Russia's PE, Sports, Tourism and Youth Matters Committee, who probably should've known better (he apparently lost a game of Alias and had to post the "wrong" results and congratulations message on Instagram). Another mistaken viewer was someone who actually played for Russiain that game; he had it on in the background without sound on, and got a little confused when he noticed himself on the ice.
  • In mid-March 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic turned almost every sports channel, and weekend afternoon on the major networks, into a sea of such content (particularly "classic" event encores, usually saved for the off-season) since pretty much all sports have been suspended or cancelled worldwide, to various degrees (to the point The Other Wiki considers it the largest disruption to the sporting calendar since World War II). There have been aversions, including eSports competitions (such as online races involving drivers from suspended racing series), ESPN attempting to run a H-O-R-S-E competition using webcams and NBA players' personal courts, both CBS and Fox replacing cancelled award shows with "living room concert" specials as an alternative, and WWE and All Elite Wrestling going on with their shows in smaller studios with no audience (even WrestleMania — although the Boneyard and Firefly Fun House matches successfully delivered Something Completely Different).
    • On April 18, 2020, three of the Big Four networks aired the benefit special One World: Together at Home, but Fox didn't participate, having already broadcast the iHeart Living Room Concert for America weeks before. They ended up scheduling repeats of 9-1-1 and Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell and Back opposite One World.
    • Several children's networks made changes to their schedule as a result of the pandemic. Disney Channel and Nickelodeon had to adjust their schedules to account for the fact that most children were off from school thanks to the pandemic by ending their preschool blocks early. Certain episodes of their programming that depicted sick characters were pulled, and like PBS Kids' post-9/11 lineup, some channels pulled out older programming, some of which hadn't been rerun in years, to entertain viewers (for example, Disney Junior began to re-run Doc McStuffins)
    • Some general entertainment cable channels decided to put on family-oriented programming to comfort children. The most notable example was when most Warner Media-owned networksnote  and PBS Kids showed the Sesame Street special Elmo's Playdate on the evening of April 14th, with the regular PBS network showing it during daytime hours the following day. A few broadcast channels also did stuff like this, mostly ABC (owned by Disney), who not only put off two successful Disney Family Singalong Follow the Bouncing Ball specials, but resurrected the weekly The Wonderful World of Disney for a four-week stint in May-June 2020, showing (in order) Moana, Thor: The Dark World, Up and Big Hero 6.
    • Since late March, Cartoon Network has been showing a marathon of one of their shows at least once a week for this reason.
    • CBS aired one movie from the Paramount library every Sunday evening during May 2020: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Forrest Gump, Mission: Impossible, Titanic (1997) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They also went with a Retraux theme, reviving the old CBS Sunday Night Movies banner and using a modified version of their late 1970s "projector" intro. After the postponement of the Tony Awards, a sing-along showing of Grease was added on June 7 as a replacement. It was popular enough for a second batch of movies to be broadcast during October and early November: Old School, Clueless, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Scream (1996), and Star Trek Beyond, with an additional movie (Coming to America) being shown during Thanksgiving weekend.
    • As an additional commemoration of Christmas in July, some TV stations including Nickelodeon and Hallmark Channel ran Christmas programming on July 25thnote . In addition, some radio stations in the U.S., including Long Island-based WBLI and Phoenix-based KEZ, aired Christmas music the same day.
  • When the second The ABCs of COVID-19: A Sesame Street Town Hall special aired on CNN on June 13, 2020, fellow Time Warner channels Cartoon Network and Boomerang ran marathons of Teen Titans Go! and Tom and Jerry on the day of the special to counterprogram it.
  • During the 2004 Summer Olympics on NBC, Fox aired marathons of Family Guy not only to counterprogram it, but also to promote the series' then upcoming return in 2005.
  • On September 20, 2020, Nick Jr. ran a 2-hour Peppa Pig marathon against the Primetime Emmys. They would later do the same thing against the 2021 Academy Awards, but for the whole duration of said ceremony.
  • On January 8, 2021, Nickelodeon ran marathons of Santiago of the Seas and SpongeBob SquarePants against Cartoon Network's marathon for the 300th episode of Teen Titans Go!.
  • Every Friday, the Nick Jr.. block on Nickelodeon runs a marathon of PAW Patrol to compete with rival Disney Junior's Friday premiere block. Occasionally, they'll also run new episodes of their programming on this day.
  • NBC came up with an interesting subversion in The '90s. They were naturally getting routed on Monday nights in autumn and early winter going up against Monday Night Football, but at some point they examined the ratings and saw that, as you might expect, MNF had very poor numbers among young women. Since they already had their NBC Monday Night at the Movies Made-for-TV Movie package going up against MNF, they elected to focus on female-driven movies, with the idea that they weren't going to beat football, but would draw well with a desirable demographic group for advertisers. So mid-90s Monday Night at the Movies presentations tended to be stories about young women in jeopardy, starring well-known faces from hit TV shows (with the ladies of Beverly Hills, 90210 as frequent stars). And it worked. The Ripped from the Headlines Death of a Cheerleader was the highest-rated TV movie of the 1994-95 season, and other movies like Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? fell into the Cult Classic territory. Eventually, Lifetime picked up these movies for reruns, and the Lifetime Movie of the Week genre kicked into high gear.
  • In November 2016, Nick Jr. aired a block of new episodes of Dora and Friends: Into the City! against the premiere of Elena and the Secret of Avalor.


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