As if bankruptcy weren’t bad enough, the folks at Adelphia Cable now have a new problem to contend with: Scores of angry “Desperate Housewives” viewers.
“DH” fans in many of the roughly 1 million Southern California homes served by Adelphia got a major shock Sunday when they tuned in to the ABC sudser — and discovered the audio was in Spanish. The problem lasted for about 45 minutes before the cable company corrected it.
According to Adelphia, about 20% of its customer base — or 240,000 households — were affected by the mix-up.
Adelphia blamed the mixup on the area’s recent brush fires, which damaged the MSO’s fiber plant. Adelphia’s engineers put in place an alternate transport system to deliver programming, but a piece of equipment was not properly configured.
As a result, Adelphia wound up carrying the Second Audio Program (SAP) feed from KABC. Beginning this season, ABC has been simulcasting several primetime series, including such fare as “Housewives” and “George Lopez,” in Spanish on its SAP.
By the middle of “Housewives,” Adelphia engineers, working closely with their KABC counterparts, worked out a temporary fix. But by then it was too late — it’s unlikely many non-Spanish-language speakers returned.
It was the second snafu in the past week for Adelphia. Last Wednesday, Adelphia service in Los Angeles and Ventura County was knocked out for about two hours — just in time to pre-empt a new episode of ABC’s “Lost.”
An Adelphia rep blamed that problem on the fires, too, saying key cables were melted.
Nobody at ABC’s calling the double whammy a conspiracy, though losing a big chunk of viewers in the nation’s No. 2 market is never a good thing. “It’s unfortunate this happened twice in one week,” an Alphabet rep said.
Net and KABC quickly scrambled to make sure fans got a second chance to watch both shows. KABC aired the lost “Lost” last night after football, while the net is pre-empting a planned Saturday repeat of “Commander in Chief” to offer an encore of Sunday’s “DH.”
When asked about the double mishap, a spokeswoman for the beleaguered Adelphia simply sighed.