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I just saw an update on Facebook saying:

Watch Russell present LIVE at the 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards. Tonight at 8/7c on FOX.

What does "8/7c" mean?

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hollywood is on west coast, they should tell the west coast time atleast! –  Lazer Mar 5 '11 at 2:39
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Just as an addition to the existing answers—shows at 8/7c air at a 3-hour time delay at 8 PM Pacific. These things are usually done by the networks in New York—for live shows, however, those of us on the West coast learn to subtract 3 hours. –  waiwai933 Mar 5 '11 at 4:28
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3 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

"8/7c" or "8 - 7 Central" means that this show is occurring at 8 o'clock Eastern Time, or 7 o'clock Central time. The reason Eastern Time is commonly omitted and "Central Time" / "c" is not is because most of the American population and much of American media apparatus is concentrated on the coasts of the country, mostly the East Coast actually, and thus Easterners are considered the "default"; that means shows first air for Eastern viewers, and they are also the demographic advertisers and television networks first accommodate for scheduling before other time zones. (Show performance at 8 - 11 PM is a hugely important metric for advertisers and the continued viability of network television shows; that time block is commonly known in the United States as prime time).

Eastern Time viewing and Central Time viewing are often scheduled together in network television programs, because simultaneity for them is not too unaccomodating. Mountain Time and Pacific viewers can and often are scheduled for their own separate block.

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What about west coast viewers? Also, why can't they broadcast the show at the same time in all zones? For example, 8pm in every zone? –  Lazer Mar 5 '11 at 2:37
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@Lazer Some shows, in fact, aren't run concurrently. But note that the NAACP Image Awards are a live event; watching major events simultaneously requires people in different time zones to have varying amounts of the sun's rays reaching them at a single point in time (e.g., the reason we invented time zones, we have no universal, global, time; it would be strange to wake up everday at 4 AM to go to work in say, California ;-)). –  Uticensis Mar 5 '11 at 2:44
    
ah.. missed the LIVE part. Btw, New Zealand invented timezones :) –  Lazer Mar 5 '11 at 2:50
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The important part being the media apparatus. Central has plenty of population (Chicago, Houston, Dallas, etc.), but we still get treated as a second-class timezone because the networks are based in New York. –  Dan Mar 5 '11 at 3:42
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The scheduling habit is a holdover from the radio days, believe it or not. The old major AM networks only needed a small handful of transmission sites, some emitting as much as a quarter of a million watts, to cover all of the Eastern and Central time zone in the US (and really tear a hole in Canadian reception while they were at it, by the way). Although over-the-air television is much shorter range (so the common schedule wasn't necessary anymore), you try telling the people in Chicago that they're getting the "latest" news an hour later than New York from this day forward. –  bye Mar 5 '11 at 5:22
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It is incorrect to assume the "8" is any specific time zone.

It is 8 PM in every time zone in the broadcast range except "Central" where it is at 7pm.

If you are @ "Pacific", "Mountain", "Eastern", local viewing is @ 8 PM
If you are @ "Central" - local viewing is @ 7 PM

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I'm in the UK where we only have one timezone, so I'm not really familiar with the issue here. I certainly don't understand what that scheduled time means for people on the West coast, for example. But it seems to me your answer isn't likely to be upvoted above either of the earlier ones because it doesn't really add much. I think it would have been better posted as a Comment against either OP or an existing answer. –  FumbleFingers May 8 '11 at 22:53
    
timetemperature.com/tzus/gmt_.shtml tells me it is not the same time in all timezones except Central –  mplungjan May 19 '11 at 8:11
    
If it is 7pm in the Central Timezone, there is only one timezone where it is 8pm: The EST (Eastern Standard Timezone) –  rds Dec 6 '11 at 14:33
    
This is the correct answer (with the exception of live programs). The networks want to keep their show in primetime so they don't bother with airing concurrently across timezones. This also explains why they don't say 8 eastern, but rather 8/7 central. –  styfle Mar 3 '13 at 23:46
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8/7c = eight-seven-central. It's a convenient abbreviation of 8 p.m. Eastern Time; 7 p.m. Central Time. This form is popular in broadcasting circles, where television networks serve viewers in both the Eastern and Central time zones in the United States.

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What about rest of the time zones? There are six of them, I think. –  Lazer Mar 5 '11 at 2:36
    
@Lazer: The programming times are different for PST and the others, I would imagine; plus different ads, as well. The Midwest is quite close to the East Coast, so it makes sense to lump the two of them together... I'm sure there's a West Coast machinery in place to take care of the others. I'm not much of TV person... –  Jimi Oke Mar 5 '11 at 2:38
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Actually, Standard is not part of the abbreviation. During Daylight Saving Time, it's Eastern Daylight Time and Central Daylight Time. Simpler, more convenient, and more correct to say Eastern Time and Central Time. –  John Y Mar 5 '11 at 6:42
    
@John: Answer edited as per suggestion. Thanks. –  Jimi Oke Mar 5 '11 at 17:41
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When they say 8/7c they mean 8 pm Eastern and Pacific Time, 7 pm Central Time (and Mountain Time is too minuscule to bother mentioning). The exception would be a LIVE event, and then it is at 8/7/6/5; but still they probably won't mention the 6 for Mountain Time. –  GEdgar Dec 5 '11 at 0:21
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protected by Community Dec 5 '13 at 19:30

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