If you are like MTV.com user Vantinette, you spent your Tuesday night tuned to MTV, waiting for the premiere of "T.I.'s Road To Redemption: The Reckoning," the rapper's exclusive post-sentencing interview with MTV News' Sway Calloway.
Like Vantinette, you were probably also confused — and a bit angry — when, at 9 p.m., the show didn't air as scheduled and a repeat of the previous week's episode of "Redemption" was in its place.
(Note: The premiere of "T.I.'s Road To Redemption: The Reckoning" has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 7, at 9 p.m. on MTV.)
"I am so mad," Vantinette wrote on MTV.com. "I was waiting to see the show and it didn't air in D.C. We took off work that night to make sure we could see the last of it."
We got many comments just like that, from users wondering just what the heck happened to the show: Did it disappear due to some colossal programming error? Was it an early April Fools' Day prank? A natural disaster? Well, no. But the explanation is just about that complicated.
"Basically, as I understand it, it's a kind of screw-up that's never happened before," Michael Hirschorn, an executive producer of "Road to Redemption," told MTV News on Wednesday (April 1). "The materials for show were collected for final assembly, everything was good and signed-off, and then the media became corrupted. It was sort of like having a file on a home computer, and the computer screws it up — only much bigger than that."
To get a little more in-depth, while still trying to explain things in words we can all understand, here's what happened: According to Hirschorn, the interview with [news id="1608236"]T.I. and Sway[/news], along with a segment in which [news id="1608032"]T.I. reunites with the kids he had mentored[/news] during this season of "Road," was filmed last weekend in Atlanta (hours after the [news id="1607943"]rapper was sentenced[/news] to a year and a day in prison for felony weapons charges), and was taken to an editing facility on Sunday to be cut into "Reckoning."
The editing process was completed on Tuesday afternoon, at which point the Atlanta facility gave Hirschorn the news that the show was ready to be transferred from the digital-editing program onto an actual tape. Ideally, that tape would then be placed in a playback deck and the show would be sent via satellite to the Network Operations Center in New York, which stores the show digitally until it is sent to your cable channel for live broadcast. Only that didn't happen with "Reckoning."
According to Hirschorn, some time after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, it became apparent that something had gone wrong with the editing software (or, the file containing the show itself), meaning that the editing facility in Atlanta couldn't transfer the show to tape. The facility spent the next hour re-booting the software and attempting to transfer the show to tape once again. And once again, there were problems.
Shortly before 8 p.m. — 60 minutes before the show was scheduled to broadcast — it became clear that the show wasn't going to be able to be sent to the Network Operations Center via tape, so Hirschorn and the editing facility began to think of other ways of getting the show on-air. In super-tight instances, the show can be fed live from the facility to the N.O.C. (meaning it would basically be broadcast live from a tape deck in Atlanta to your TV), only, since the show was unable to be taken off the editing software, this also wasn't an option.
So, with less than an hour until "Reckoning" was scheduled to air, and with technicians in Atlanta working furiously to get the show off the computers, it became clear that something was going to have to give. MTV Programming made the decision to push the broadcast back until 11 p.m., with the hopes that the issues would be cleared up. Of course, this was all news to T.I., who found out just as he was sitting down in his Atlanta home to watch the special.
"I wasn't able to speak to Tip until after 10 p.m.," Hirschorn said. "By the time I spoke to him, he was still clearly disappointed but philosophical about the whole thing."
Of course, "Reckoning" didn't make the 11 p.m. airing, either. And according to Hirschorn, technicians never were able to extract the material from the computer — "They worked until 2:30 a.m. trying to make it happen," he said.
"I'm obviously upset and feel terrible that we let the viewers down," Hirschorn said. "It's a fantastic show and the interview is remarkable ... it's rare that you ever see a public figure that honest and that up-front, and it was meant to be the culmination of a powerful series that we and Tip were so proud of."
Don't miss [url id="http://www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/road_to_redemption/series.jhtm"]"T.I.'s Road to Redemption: The Reckoning,"[/url] airing Tuesday, April 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.