When Will Television Networks Get a Clue?

About what, you may be asking.

Simply this…  We are now in the 21st century…and no longer chained to our television sets.  In fact, we have a number of options available to watch our favorite programs on.  Hulu, Dish Online, and iTunes…just to name a few.  I can watch most of the shows I enjoy on my desktop computer in my office.  I can drag my laptop wherever Wi-Fi is provided and enjoy them in the middle of a coffee shop.  I suppose if I really wanted to, I could tune in from my cell phone.  Of course I’d have a telescope available to make out details…

So why are networks still so dependent on the members of their elite Nielsen Family?

I’ve never liked the fact that this select group gets to choose what I’m allowed to watch.  I’m not much into comedies, cookie cutter cop shows or reality television.  Nope.  I tend to like dramas that are unique.  Which is why I’m in a mood to rant.

First of all, I can’t remember the last time I turned my television on.  I’m guessing that it was for the season finale of White Collar on February 28th.  How can I be that specific?  Because Haven ended their season in December, and I always watch Parenthood, TVD, and Fringe on Hulu or Dish Online.  But Haven and White Collar must be even more special than I think they are because the networks make fans who missed the episodes on television wait thirty days to watch them elsewhere.

Therefore I know it’s been more than almost three months.

I know I’m not the only person who appreciates the ability to choose what I want to watch, when I want to watch it, where I want to watch it.  Whether networks like it or not, TV’s may become obsolete.  Or if not gone entirely, at least much lower on the totem pole for viewing choices.  Yet they still depend on the opinions of the Nielsen Family like an addict depends on drugs.

And I just find that really annoying.

I had never heard of Fringe until sometime last year.  It had been on a good two and a half years before I got bored one night and started surfing through Hulu’s offerings…and was hooked immediately.  I mean please.  Once I got a look at Joshua Jackson, I knew I was in it for the long haul.  It really helped that he could act, and that the show was good, different…and kind of weird.

Lots of people love Fringe.  Their Facebook page has 3.4 million fans.  Yet because television viewership was down this season, Fox is only renewing it for thirteen episodes.  Really?  Why don’t they check to see how many people are watching online?  I suspect the numbers would be staggering.  (Don’t worry, my rant is winding down)

I stopped watching CBS for over six years when they cancelled Now and Again, only turning it back on when Jericho came out (gotta love Skeet Ulrich).  A season and a half later, CBS was added to my ‘never watch again’ list.  Along with ABC and a few cable networks.  Fox is next one to be banned in my house, I guess.

There is one upside to all of this.  As I watch fewer shows every year, it frees up a whole lot of my time.  Time I can spend reading, writing and doing other things I enjoy.  So I suppose I can’t complain too much.  I mean really, if I were tied to the television, I wouldn’t have been able to drive into town this evening to see The Avengers.  For the third time…

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32 Comments

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32 responses to “When Will Television Networks Get a Clue?

  1. Okay, so I watch even less television than you do, and I don’t even HAVE cable — I haven’t for almost a year now. I’ve heard of Fringe, and thought about checking it out. I used to love Joshua Jackson when I was a teenager, but wow! I so know who I want for Nathaniel if there’s ever a movie.

  2. I just sent this out thru Twitter AND Facebook. Though I still love David Letterman. 🙂

    • Thanks, Charles! I love David Letterman. If I ever watch late night television, he’s my first choice. Love his sarcasm. 🙂

      • I just saw a PBS Special about Johnny Carson the other day and it made me laugh and brought a tear to my eye. He was really good friends with Letterman and simply had a hands-off philosophy when it came to the network’s decision to give it to Leno. But you definitely get the strong impression he would have preferred Dave in that spot.

        • I have seen more Johnny Carson in the last couple of years (thanks to YouTube) than I remember seeing when he hosted the show. He was definitely funny. The episode I remember most was the one where he paid tribute to his son. That was enough to make you cry.

          I don’t really remember much about the Letterman/Leno thing, but I wish Letterman had gotten it. NBC is still on my ‘okay to watch’ list. Since networks don’t count anything online, I have watched some on Hulu. 🙂

  3. I love shows on CBS, but I hate CBS because they are like one of the only stations that do not put their shows on Hulu plus! The thing I like about online tv is that I can watch shows I can’t on tv. Take Monday for example to me its all about Castle, but I like Hawaii Five O and Smash, so what is a girl to do? Watch them online! I can get Smash on my hulu plus which I can take with me were ever I want to on my kindle fire, but no Hawaii Five O unless I want to be glued to my computer to watch the episode. 😦

    I found a lot of new shows this season as I didn’t start watching Smash until it was already half way through its season and watched it none stop till I was caught up on Hulu Plus. If it wasn’t for Hulu Plus I wouldn’t be able to watch things like Glee, Touch, Bones (when I forget it has been moved to Mondays), etc.

    I hate sitcoms as they are stupid and meaninly shows but I guess they entertain the masses, but I don’t watch them, or reality tv. I also hate that little family of people called Nielson who thinks they can tell me what I like to watch and what I don’t!

    I use to only have four shows I watched NCIS, Bones, Castle and Once Upon A TIme, but because of online viewing and being able to take hulu plus with me on the go I have expanded my viewing pleasure a lot. I have never tried out Fringe, but I use to like Josh Jackson when he was a kid..lol. I might check it out on hulu plus. 🙂

    On thing that ticks me off about ABC Family is that they won’t let you view the whole season on hulu plus so if you missed the beginning of the season you are screwed and some you can only watch on hulu online you can’t do it on kindle fire, so that really ticks me off.

    Okay I am done ranting too…lol.

    • you are so lucky to have all those choices. My neice watches tv on her ocmputer but i’ve never figured it out – the few times I’ve tried it the bufering kills the show. SIghhh — one more thing to learn.

      • I don’t even remember why I used to have a problem with buffering, Louise, but I know what you mean. Do you delete cookies on a regular basis? And if you’ve had your computer for awhile, you might need to run a defrag. No one mentioned that to me when I first got a computer. Oh my word! It took FOREVER! But my computer ran better after I did both. 🙂

        • my son in law does all that for me i think it’s simply that our tv access in canada is a little behind yours.

          • That shouldn’t affect things like Hulu though. Of course what I know about that stuff would leave lots of room on the head of a pin, too. 😦

            • Hulu is only available in the US. we don’t get it up north. LOL sighhhh and netflix is about 10% of what you get. darn.

              • That’s not right! How can they keep it from you? And the Netflix thing? I thought websites were supposed to be able to be accessed from everywhere.

                • that is a common misperception. The Canadian federal government has laws and rules and they can and do block all sorts of things. We do not get all your shows, or cable channels or music. Our laws for peer to peer sharing are different. The same is true for every country in the world. Just because something is on the net in the US is no guarantee it’s available anywhere else.
                  Oh and we pay a fortune for cell phones and data plans, because the feds are encouraging the phone companies to provide broad service with our much smaller population (California has more people than Canada). TMI, right?

                  • No, not too much information….but it is kind of annoying that a government would exercise that much control over its citizens. Although I think we’re headed that direction, too.

                    Are you serious that the population of Canada is smaller than that of California? Wow!

                    • california is about 37 million and we’re 33 mil, so yes, the population difference is substantial. the US is about 10X the population of Canada. As far as control, from our perspective, the American culture is not the Canadian culture. But because we’re so close, if there aren’t some controls, the larger population will over run the smaller cultural body. (And we do think of ourselves as different from Americans) it’s fairly common. and by the way, the US has controls over what you can see on the internet too – you just don’t know it because you don’t see it. (For example our rules for peer to peer sharing of music are quite different from yours but you won’t know that because the sharing sites are closed are liable to lawsuits.)

                    • Hmm… Interesting statistics. I guess I’ve just never paid much attention to any of it. I don’t know much about the differences between our countries. Everyone I’ve ever chatted with from Canada seems to be a lot like everyone else I know. Except one friend who also speaks fluent French…which means I had to learn to use Google Translate for those times when she wants to be a stinker. 🙂

    • I won’t let myself like anything on CBS anymore. They are (in my opinion) one of the worst for not giving a series a chance. Other networks are catching up to them quickly though.

      You have a good point about what viewers are supposed to do when two or more favorites are aired at the same time. I’ve only run into that once over the past couple of years…and it’s why I like Hulu so much. We won’t even get into the fact that I can watch an ‘hour-long’ program in about 43 minutes (meaning I have to give up about 17 minutes worth of commercials…darn!).

      I don’t try to get interested in new shows at all anymore. So many good ones are canceled too early. For instance, I found Journey Man on Hulu a few months ago. I thought it was great…but it never got a second season. So I just try to ignore ads for new series. If I like it, it probably won’t last, lol.

  4. I love tv shows but I rarely watch them on a television anymore!
    I’m almost afraid these days to start watching a show because so many get cancelled before they get a chance to shine: I’m thinking Firefly and Dark Angel here for starters. I don’t watch Fringe that much but my father loves it, yet he got bored this season and says he understands why they’ll only get 13 episodes.

    • My daughter and I loved Dark Angel! But I know what you mean. I really got into The Gates a couple of years ago, but it was another that only survived one season. As for Fringe…all shows have their ups and downs. It used to be that a network would give them another season to get the ratings back up. But not anymore. I’ve been on pins and needles at the end of every season of Parenthood…but so far it keeps getting renewed. Whew! It’s one of my very favorites. 🙂

  5. Did anyone watch Defying Gravity? My wife and I enjoyed it and then it was gone.

  6. I thought Ringer was really good this year, but they gave that show the axe. The Neilson family thing drives me nuts. They keep calling my mom all the time and she doesn’t want to give them the time of day. I keep telling her to talk to them and tell them all MY SHOWS! Not the stuff her husband watches. LOL.

    Oh, on a side note, because I know you’ll like this, Skeet Ulrich’s kid and my husband’s old writing partner’s kid used to be on the same soccer team. Skeet and our friend would hang together during practice. 😉

    • Oh man! You need to bribe your mom!!! I can’t tell you how many times I wish that they would call me.

      And how cool is that about Skeet Ulrich?! I’d LOVE to hang out with him for awhile. I could totally see him as Marcus, because I’ve changed my mind. I think Matt Damon would make a better Elliot. Yeah, I could get into hanging out with both of them. 🙂

  7. One of my favorite one season wonders was Moonlight!!! Alex O’Laughlen/vampire need I say more…LOL. I was glad to see that Alex got the part of Steve McGarret on Hawaii Five 0 as he got ripped of when the writers when on strike that one year, lost a lot of good shows because of it. 😦

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