NBC has apologised for a sketch in its Emmy Awards programme which showed presenter Conan O'Brien aboard a private jet that crash landed on a desert island.
The pre-recorded skit - meant as a spoof on "some of television's most well-known scenes", according to an NBC statement - was shown on the same day as a Comair CRJ-100 jet bound for Atlanta crashed shortly after taking off from Lexington airport in Kentucky, killing 49.
The BBC reports that Tim Gilbert, president of NBC's Lexington affiliate WLEX, declared his station "horrified" at the sketch's broadcast following the Sunday morning tragedy.
The NBC statement admitted: "The timing was unfortunate and we regret any unintentional pain we have caused. In no way would we ever want to make light of this terrible tragedy."
Unfortunate timing aside, NBC's Emmy show was hit by poor ratings - 16.1m or the forth lowest ever, the Beeb notes. Last year's offering on CBS attracted 18.8m viewers. Two reasons have been offered for the slump: the decision to move the show from its traditional September slot "to make way for NBC's American Football coverage", and the absence of shows such as Lost and Desperate Housewives from the nominations. ®