Let's pretend you run a local TV station.
You learn just after 2 p.m. that a Sacramento County Sheriff's officer has been shot by a suspect believed to be a gang member. The police have closed an entire south Sacramento neighborhood, looking for the suspect, who is believed to be holed up in a house. Schools are locked down at a time when children are supposed to be let out.
So, what do you do at around 3 p.m., when the story starts to come together?
Stay with regular programming or go live?
Here's what our local TV executives decided to do today:
News10: Stayed with "Ellen" (but had brief cut-ins at several junctures). After all, this was Day 10 of "Ellen's 12 Days of Giving." And she also was making quesadillas!
Channel 3: Preempted "Rachael Ray" and went live, sans commercials, with Dave Walker and Lois Hart anchoring, three reporters on the ground and the station's helicopter hovering.
Channel 19: Stayed with its soap opera, but anchor Jairo Diaz-Pedraza interrupted occasionally with updates.
Channel 13: Stayed with "Dr. Phil" for nearly half an hour before changing to live, commercial-free coverage heading into its regularly scheduled 4 p.m. newscast.
Fox40: Stayed with the game show, "Crosswords."