Oh, the suspense . . . Prime TV viewers were left to stare at the face of this Deal or No Deal contestant for hours when the pi
Oh, the suspense . . . Prime TV viewers were left to stare at the face of this Deal or No Deal contestant for hours when the pi

Prime example of not to plan a night of TV

By MEL MARTIN

TRACEY and Barry McQueen planned their wedding anniversary dinner for 6pm on Thursday, just so Tracey wouldn't miss her favourite show, Lost.

But when they raced home, Tracey found herself staring at the face of a Deal or No Deal contestant, which stayed frozen on the screen for more than six hours.

"When I turned my TV on, I thought it was my TV at first, so I called my sister," she said.

"But when I found out it affected everyone, I nearly panicked, thinking I'd have to wait another week to watch Lost!"

The Prime TV big freeze affected only the Mid North Coast, but there was nothing the Coffs Harbour office of Prime TV could have done about the interruption.

"Programming is distributed through contract suppliers, who had a failure at Mount Sugarloaf as a result of a lightning strike," Prime TV's general manager of broadcasting Alan Butorac said from Canberra.

"This fried a piece of equipment which had to be replaced."

Mr Butorac said Prime TV was still endeavouring to establish why it took so long for programming to restart.

"Needless to say we're seriously displeased with the contractors' performance, and we've told them so," he said.

This is the second time this year Prime TV has been interruped for hours, after the Australian Open match between Roger Federer and Tommy Haas froze on a Federer serve in January. But Mr Butorac says they still don't know what caused that incident.

To appease distressed viewers, and much to the relief of Tracey, Prime TV broadcast Home and Away, Las Vegas and Lost last night.

And as far as the Deal or No Deal contestant goes, despite being unflatteringly frozen on screen for hours with a $77,000 offer, she walked away with $48,000.



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