Server failure hinders “Downton Abbey” premiere on Rocky Mountain PBS

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Rocky Mountain PBS suffered a server failure at 10:15 p.m. Sunday night — right in the middle of the “most anticipated show on the schedule in years,” the Denver Post notes, Masterpiece’s “Downton Abbey.”

“We deeply regret this happened and for the rest of ‘Downton Abbey’ will go back to a prior tape based technology as backup,” Doug Price, head of RMPBS, told the paper in an email.

Price added that the station “can’t express our frustration enough with losing 45 minutes of our franchise program for the year. We had a problem about three weeks ago that our technical vendor assured us they had never seen but had none the less resolved.”

The station will repeat the premiere on Thursday and Sunday nights (Jan. 12 and 15).

UPDATE, Jan. 11: “It was a data error on a file on our end,” Tom Craig, production manager at Rocky Mountain PBS, told Current. The equipment manufacturer is still investigating but right now it appears that data was corrupted as it moved between internal servers, Craig said. The situation was complicated by several factors: Master control operators had just departed for the night, switching over to automation, and an external alert to engineers wasn’t triggered by the glitch, which resulted in a frozen image, because the equipment was still sensing data present. “We had faith in automation, and relatively new servers,” Price said. “And we got caught in the middle of a show that’s a real favorite with viewers.” The station is reviewing its master control operator schedules, and honing its procedures for communicating directly with viewers via social media when such problems occur, Price said.

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