CBS Chicago shows Lerner & Rowe commercial instead of special report

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At about 2:24 p.m. eastern, CBS News took network air for special report about the U.S. Capitol being breeched by protestors — but thanks to a technical glitch, Chicago area viewers saw a law firm commercial instead.

CBS had been on air in most markets earlier to cover the electoral college vote certification, but dropped out after Arizona’s count was disputed.

However, WBBM, the CBS owned affiliate in Chicago, aired the special report slate but then cut to a commercial for Lerner & Rowe, a Chicago law firm known for airing a heavy rotation of personal injury commercials and its “two-two-two-twenty-two-twenty-two” jingle that represents its phone number.

In a bit of an ironic twist, the commercial that aired was one that purposefully flipped the image (with the exception of a banner) upside down, adding to the rather confusing transition to network air.

After the ad aired almost in its entirety, the station finally switched over to the network special report in progress.

Lerner & Rowe, was previously branded as “Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys,” but changed its name June 1, 2019. It also operates in Indiana and Nevada, where similar commercials air frequently (portions of Indiana are within the Chicago market).

At most TV stations, computers can “detect” when a network cuts in for a special report and automatically switch over to the feed if another source is on the air, such as local news, syndicated programming or a local break.

Like with all forms of automation, this process can be error prone or delayed.

It’s not immediately clear what happened at WBBM, but it appears that its master control instead switched to a local commercial break (Lerner & Rowe ads typically don’t air nationally).

At the time, Chicago viewers had just seen “The Talk” go to break followed by a part of a Neutrogena commercial.