Headline News DVR's Itself to Show You Every Last Second of the Trayvon Trial

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HLN — home of Nancy Grace and "pound and ground" anchor demonstrations — is devoted to full coverage of the Trayvon Martin-Geroge Zimmerman trial. So devoted that they are "pausing" the live courtroom feed to ensure not a single moment of anything that happens in the courtroom escapes their airwaves.

They aren't alone in the Trayvon obsession, of course, as all the cable news networks have devoted healthy amounts of airtime to ongoing testimony. (When you have 24 hours to fill, having live court video feeds helps with that.) MSNBC's daytime news hosts, like Tamron Hall and Chris Jansing, have essentially become MTV-style VJ's, introducing the players as they go in out of commercial breaks, instead of holding their usual political roundtables. CNN and Fox News have supplemented their heavy live coverage with a bit more "analysis," employing an army of talking heads to explain the trial, rather than show it. 

But HLN has gone beyond them all. Instead of staying live all day, the Court TV of the new millennium has been stopping the feed during commercials breaks, resuming right where they left off when the ads are over. Just as viewers at home might do when watching a football game if they have to go to the bathroom. Except they don't catch back up to action by fast-forwarding (and most of the ads are for HLN's own coverage of the Zimmerman trial, anyway. The shot above is what it looks like when they are at a break). It gives new meaning to the old NBC Olympics ideal of "plausibly live."

But the programming strategy also means that as the day goes on, HLN falls further and further behind what's actually happening live in the courtroom. (Which you can see on the other channels.) Still, if you'd rather be a completest than up-to-the-minute, then the channel formerly known as Headline News is the place to go. Besides Nancy Grace will still be waiting for you (somewhere) in prime time.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.