I'm certain producers at various major broadcasters and 24-hour news networks wish nothing but good health and long life to the Pontiff. And yet, his tenacious grip on life is beginning to get expensive:
"It was 1996 that I went to Rome myself to negotiate roof rights," said Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president for news coverage at CBS News. "Every broadcaster in the world has a rooftop or balcony lined up."And it's not just the cost of renting rooftops. Equipment sits ready to go, hotel rooms are rented out of fear that the day the "Big Story" happens, there will be no room at the inn. A decade of people waiting for him to die - that must be very comforting to His Holiness.
Indeed, a case of what broadcasters dubbed "rooftop envy" swept through the Vatican in 1996 when the Pope underwent surgery to have his appendix removed and TV networks swarmed the area, striking exclusive deals with the hotels and private homeowners whose buildings and balconies overlook St. Peters Square, to lock in their live shots.
All of the major networks have long had their shots lined up and their rooftops secured, but the longevity and surprising vigor of the Pope throughout years of ill health ... have put some of those arrangements in jeopardy.I'm sure, despite all the money invested, that the networks will show appropriate restraint when the Big Story arrives, and won't intersperse the sombre reflection with attempts to sell me frozen pizza and drugs that allow me to sustain an erection.
When CBS News arranged for its rooftop, for instance, it struck a 10-year deal, figuring that would be more than enough time to ensure a spot for the Pope's death and funeral. But that deal is set to expire next year, meaning that if the Pope pulls through his current bout with illness, CBS may be forced to renegotiate the rights at somewhat of a disadvantage, considering that it has already fully prepared the rooftop for broadcasting on the fly.
Perhaps I've just tapped into the reason that God keeps His Holiness alive - She entertains herself by screwing with broadcasters. Or just likes the building owners in the area:
"Some [broadcasters] have been investing for almost up to 10 years, and have spent hundreds of thousands of euros. One block of flats has earned so much that the owners have been able to restore the building thanks to the proceeds."