True test of psy­chic abil­ity

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Television - TIM MARTAIN AL­CA­TRAZ, WIN, Mon­days, 8.30pm

HAS any­one seen Si­mon Baker re­cently?

The for­mer Launce­s­ton lad was sup­posed to re­turn to our screens in new episodes of The Men­tal­ist a month ago and still re­mains miss­ing in ac­tion.

The re­turn of the pop­u­lar se­ries was pro­moted quite heav­ily over sum­mer. But on the night of the new sea­son pre­miere, ev­ery­thing on WIN changed.

Late changes to the sched­ule are usu­ally fairly mi­nor, but oc­ca­sion­ally the whole night’s line- up will be picked apart.

On this par­tic­u­lar night even the dig­i­tal TV elec­tronic pro­gram guide ( EPG) couldn’t keep up with the changes. And nor could Chan­nel Nine’s own web­site.

When sea­son four of The Men­tal­ist ( in which Baker plays Pa­trick Jane, a for­mer fraud­ster and fake psy­chic who now uses his ob­ser­va­tional tal­ents to solve crimes) wrapped up last year, it was only eight episodes in, any­way, so the ‘‘ new sea­son’’ this year was ac­tu­ally start­ing at episode nine. But I di­gress.

The new episodes were slated to be­gin on Mon­day, Fe­bru­ary 6, at 8.30pm, af­ter the highly an­tic­i­pated new sea­son of The Big Bang The­ory at 8pm.

But in­stead of a new episode of Big Bang at 8pm, view­ers were given a re­peat of an old episode. Then, at 8.30pm, an­other re­peat of Big Bang.

Mean­while, the EPG had been ad­justed to re­flect these two re­peats. It noted the new Big Bang episode would ac­tu­ally be on at 9pm, fol­lowed by The Men­tal­ist at 9.30pm. But at 9pm there was, you guessed it, yet an­other re­peat of Big Bang, in­clud­ing a cu­ri­ous promo for ‘‘ all new The Men­tal­ist at 8.30pm’’.

The Men­tal­ist did in­deed be­gin at 9.30pm, but it was a re­peat from last year. The EPG was again amended to say a sec­ond – and pre­sum­ably new – episode would go to air at 10.30pm. This, too, was a re­peat. Check­ing the Nine web­site was also rather un­en­light­en­ing.

The main im­age on the pro­gram page for The Men­tal­ist still ad­ver­tised a new episode at 8.30pm, while the mini guide had been ad­justed to say 9.30pm and the ‘‘ tonight’s viewing’’ bar at the top read 10.30pm.

The new episode of The Big Bang The­ory even­tu­ally aired a week later, but the new episodes of The Men­tal­ist were never spo­ken of again. Ac­cord­ing to WIN, the late changes were made to open up the sched­ule for a new se­ries, Al­ca­traz, which started the fol­low­ing week with a dou­ble episode. The re­turn of The Men­tal­ist has been de­layed un­til April.

With WIN lag­ging in the rat­ings each year, the last thing they can af­ford to do is turn away view­ers with this kind of far­ci­cal last- minute shuf­fling.

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