Sandy buffets network programming

Repeats, news specials inserted into skeds

As Hurricane Sandy took dominion over the East Coast, broadcast networks took different approaches toward adjusting their primetime schedules on the fly.

None of the networks had made any decisions on Tuesday programming, saying they were planning to monitor the progress of the storm — though few moves had been taken off the table.

But Monday, they moved swiftly into action.

CBS and the CW pulled all their original programs scheduled for Monday off the air, replacing them with reruns and, in the 10 p.m. hour on the Eye, a “CBS News Special Report” centered on the hurricane.

Fox also scheduled a two-hour repeat episode of “The X-Factor,” though that decision was dictated Sunday when the 2012 World Series ended in only four games.

ABC and NBC, on the other hand, chose to stick with their regularly scheduled programs — dueling unscripted shows “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Voice” from 8-10 p.m., followed by “Castle” and “Revolution,” respectively. ABC did insert an hourlong “Nightline” into its latenight schedule, replacing an episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that was set to be taped in Brooklyn.

On Tuesday, by which time the full impact of the storm is expected to have hit the Eastern seaboard, the primetime schedules of the five broadcasters are to be entirely devoted to firstrun programming, but execs were set to evaluate during the day whether to proceed.

Fox has decided to air live, two-hour episodes of “X-Factor” on Wednesday and Thursday, filling the gap vacated by unplayed World Series Games 6 and 7.

Meanwhile, cable news sites were shifting gears from coverage of the Nov. 6 presidential election to coverage of Sandy. In addition, distributors including DirecTV added dedicated channels that were completely devoted to the hurricane.

Related: Hurricane Sandy shuts down N.Y. biz

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