Lack of Nick causing kiddo uproar
by James Phillips
Jul 13, 2012 | 497 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
James Phillips
James Phillips
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Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Absorbant and yellow and porous is he.

If you don’t know who I’m talking about, you’ve had no contact with children at all for the past 10 years.

The words to the Spongebob Squarepants theme haven’t been heard on my television in the last few days, because my home, as well as millions of others across the country, is caught in the middle of a game of chicken between Viacom and DirecTV.

Viacom wants an increase in what DirecTV pays to broadcast its channels, while the satellite TV provider wants no part of what it says would be a 30 percent hike. By midnight on Tuesday, all 17 Viacom channels went black on DirecTV.

“Where’s Nickelodeon?”

That’s the first phrase I heard as I wiped the sleep from my eyes Wednesday morning. Daisy, my 5-year-old daughter, usually wakes up before the rest of us. Her routine is typically to make herself a bowl of cereal and then go to her brother’s room to watch Spongebob, Fairly Odd Parents, The Backyardigans or some other show on Nick. That morning she was greeted by a DirecTV executive telling her about the Viacom situation.

“Some man is on Nickelodeon,” Daisy told me.

I said, “Can’t you just watch Disney?”

She went on to tell me that “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” were on and she didn’t like it. I responded by telling her that we had other kids channels like Cartoon Network, PBS and Boomerang.

“There’s got to be something on there for you to watch,” I said.

I was sure to tell her that when I was her age that we only had three channels and they would all be showing the news about that time of the morning.

Daisy just looked at me and grinned. If I could have read her mind, I’m sure she was thinking, “Poor dad, he doesn’t have a clue.”

When I got to work that day, I started asking if anyone else was missing the channels. One person on our staff said her daughter just sat in the floor and cried when she found out Nick was no longer on her television.

I’ve looked through the channels that Viacom owns, and I can definitely do without them, but there are a few shows that I will miss if the programming isn’t returned soon. “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” are two programs on Comedy Central that I watch fairly frequently. Also, “Impact Wrestling” airs each Thursday on SpikeTV, and that’s something I watch on a weekly basis.

I spoke with DirecTV on Thursday afternoon. The company said it wasn’t crediting people’s accounts due to the discussions with Viacom, but they did offer me a free block of movie channels for three months for the inconvenience. They have also made eight Encore movie channels free for all subscribers through July 31.

I’m not sure if this is a case of Viacom being greedy or DirecTV being cheap. DirecTV is saying the hike in pay that Viacom is asking for would be bad for its customers, but Viacom executives say it would only amount to pennies per day per subscriber. I’m sure like most disputes that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Nickelodeon is the most-watched individual channel on DirecTV, so I’m sure it won’t be much longer before a deal is done. Meanwhile, we’ll be Spongebob free in our home until an agreement is in place.

My kiddos are starting to lean a little more toward Disney these days any way. I got so tired of hearing about this “cool” show “Gravity Falls” on Disney Channel that I finally broke down and watched it the other day. It’s not half bad.

A better idea than catching up on episodes of “Phineas and Ferb” and “Gravity Falls” came from my 9-year-old son, Stone, who suggested we have more “family game nights.” On Wednesday night, we broke out our Disney Scene It game. Daisy and I teamed up against everybody else and won the game. It was a lot of fun, and I surprised my bunch with my wealth of Disney knowledge. A Nick Scene It challenge has already been made for this weekend. I don’t think I’ll fare as well at that one.

James Phillips is Editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at 205-221-2840 or james.phillips@mountaineagle.com.