CINCINNATI—Ensuring he would be exposed to minimal amounts of advertisements and downtime in his entertainment, local man Eric Sackett carefully settled on a backup channel to watch whenever AMC’s airing of the film Gladiator entered a commercial break, sources confirmed Friday.
Sackett told reporters he stumbled upon the film 15 minutes into its airing and immediately began searching for a secondary program the moment an advertisement appeared on-screen, eventually determining that a block of Deadliest Catch episodes on the Discovery Channel represented his best fallback position for the next three hours.
“Usually ESPN is my go-to backup, but SportsCenter was ending soon, and I didn’t want to watch the college basketball game that was on next,” said Sackett, who reportedly shrank Gladiator into picture-in-picture mode as he scanned the digital guide for a program he would enjoy viewing every 15 to 20 minutes. “I love The Right Stuff, which was on IFC, and honestly would’ve rather watched that instead, but I had already missed way too much of it to start. I had seen that whole season of Deadliest Catch, however, and knew it was pretty good.”
“I could just hop in and out of it, and it wouldn’t really matter,” he added.
Sources said that Sackett, content to watch the reality show for just two to three minutes at a time, was repeatedly able to jump to the program within seconds of Gladiator fading to commercial break. The 27-year-old told reporters that, in most instances, he was exposed to only a handful of words from the very first advertisement.
As he began growing progressively more confident in his sense of timing, reports indicate that throughout the afternoon Sackett frequently tested the limits on how long he could linger on Deadliest Catch before returning to his feature movie. Sackett admitted to reporters that on one or two occasions he pushed his luck too far, returning to Gladiator after the film had resumed.
“I kept switching channels looking for something and eventually came across There’s Something About Mary, which was good enough.”
In light of such mishaps, Sackett reportedly resolved to sit through AMC’s entire commercial break whenever he knew a good scene was coming up, at one point enduring full 30-second advertisements for Bud Light, Home Depot, Geico, Allegra, Little Caesars, and Theraflu to make certain he did not miss the part where Maximus impales a tiger.
“Everything was going well until they were both on commercial breaks,” said Sackett, who was then forced to frantically scramble for a tertiary option to fill the sudden void in entertainment. “I kept switching channels looking for something and eventually came across There’s Something About Mary, which was good enough.”
“But by then I figured Gladiator was probably back on,” he continued. “So I just went back to that.”
Having successfully used his system to avoid countless advertisements, reports indicate Sackett even began adding trips to his backup channel during moments when the film reached a scene with lengthy expository dialogue that, because he had seen Gladiator previously, he no longer required.
“At one point, I accidentally changed the channel when I meant to turn up the volume,” said Sackett, noting that he was unable to recall which three-digit number would send him to his backup channel, spurring a frantic search through the channels one by one. “That’s when I noticed Man On Fire was on FX, which is a movie I hadn’t seen in a long time. And I kind of got sucked into it.”
“Then I would just watch Gladiator during the Man On Fire commercial breaks,” Sackett added.
After he discovered that Gladiator was to be immediately followed by a repeat showing, sources confirmed that Sackett remained on AMC to watch the opening scenes he had missed the first time around.