Today I wanted to see (on TV) an american show. Every website I saw says that the show starts Monday 9 | 8c.

I think that 8c means 8 pm (or am, but highly unlikely), but what about the 9? It's not the date, that's for sure.

Can someone explain it to me please?


C means the North American Central Time Zone (CT). The regions in yellow in this Wikipedia article have a different time zone than the east coast regions such as New York. For example, when New York is 9 pm, Central Time Zone is 8 pm.

The North American Central Time Zone (CT) is a time zone in parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America, some Caribbean Islands, and part of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Standard time in the zone is six hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time - GMT). During daylight saving time (DST), time in most (but not all) of the zone is five hours behind GMT.

You can visit this link and this link to understand how the different time zones work.

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This represents time zones. It means (usually) 9 pm in the Eastern Time Zone (and usually Pacific Time) or 8 pm Central Time. The c stands for Central.

TV networks like to use the same advertising for all regions so they use this shorthand terminology. Historically, the Eastern and Central zones were on the same feed, so the pre-recorded shows occurred simultaneously in both regions, meaning that in local time, everything was an hour early in Central. Similarly, Pacific and Mountain times were paired.

With improvements in technology, these pairings aren't necessary so Mountain and Pacific often follow the same times as Eastern... But not always. It can depend on the show or network, which is why the most reliable interpretation only relates to Eastern and Central.

Note that live shows, particularly sports, will always be shown simultaneously everywhere so if a game starts at 9 pm Eastern it will air in the other regions at 8, 7 & 6 pm as you move west.

  • Perfect! Thanks, but why usually? – Rakete1111 May 20 '16 at 13:47
  • Because it isn't required any more, so some networks are moving away from this model. – Catija May 20 '16 at 13:57
  • Also, it can certainly refer to am times... Some ads will actually read 8am/7c. – Catija May 20 '16 at 14:00
  • IIRC, this predates prerecorded shows even. E/C would get the live feed, thus on the same time, and then P would get a recording (or a different live feed) on the same timeframe as E. – Joe May 20 '16 at 17:05
  • 3
    It's not so much improvements in technology, rather, the eastern/central border regions are densely populated (people receiving stations in - or stations broadcasting to - Chicago, Louisville, and Atlanta, among others, may be across the border), so many people are going to be receiving broadcasts from a station in the "wrong" timezone, whereas the other timezone borders are not in densely populated areas. – Random832 May 20 '16 at 17:20

You can put different letters after a time:

  • p - Pacific time
  • m - Mountain time
  • c - Central time
  • e - Eastern time

For example

8p - 8pm Pacific time

6m - 6pm Mountain time

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