Live television is difficult even when it’s studio-bound. It’s a credit to the folks at 11 (and KDKA-TV and WTAE-TV) that they usually make it look so easy.

Putting a live broadcast on the air is particularly tough when you have pandemonium breaking out all over Pittsburgh and reporters scrambling to cover it. Add in remote reports from Tampa, Fla., and there are bound to be some technical snafus.

But the switch from NBC’s network feed to WPXI’s local coverage was like going from a four-lane highway to a dirt road. (In fact, local viewers got to see a few seconds of “The Office” before ‘PXI killed it.)

WPXI’s coverage suffered mainly from attention-deficit disorder. Unwilling to settle down and spend a minute or two on one topic, the station bounced from place to place.

As a result, it showed a particular talent for cutting off interviews just as they got interesting. Co-anchor David Johnson would say something like, “Let’s go to Mike Tomlin’s press conference. Here he is introducing his step-father …”

… and suddenly Channel 11 would cut to shots of a burning couch in Oakland. What?! I know what a burning couch looks like. Show me Tomlin’s step-father!

I hate to pick on WPXI, because KDKA and WTAE hit potholes last night, too. Unfortunately for 11, they had the big audience, which made their flubs more obvious.

WPXI also did a lot of things right, and a lot of hard-working reporters, photographers and technicians are getting some well-deserved rest today.

The moral of the story is that less can actually be more. The Steelers’ sixth Super Bowl victory was dramatic enough without cutting from place to place every 30 seconds.


(Commentary)

WPXI-TV (11) last night pre-empted a special one-hour episode of “The Office” to air a Super Bowl XLIII Super Showdown Super Post-Game Super Showcase Super Bowl Super Report.

Sorry, Channel 11, but you should have run “The Office” and used the hour to get your act together.