There is something to be said for knowing that, around the country, nearly everyone is watching the same show on television that you are. That tomorrow you’ll all have something to talk about. In a couple of days or so there will be another show that everyone watches and discusses. Maybe there’s something about the entire family gathering around the tube on Thursday night at 8 o’clock (7 central/6 mountain). It is family time, together time.
I’d like to say that the Internet ruined that but it was starting to break down long before that. It started back when VCRs came along with the ability to program a time and date to record a program. Then people realized that maybe they didn’t want to sit around home on a Friday night at 8 o’clock to watch a TV show. No, they’d rather be out getting drunk. There wasn’t any reason not to have fun when you could go back and watch the show later. You couldn’t save having fun with people.
The Internet didn’t start it, but it’s making it way easier to get people to realize that they’d rather do things on their own schedule rather than a broadcaster mandated time and date. Unfortunately, broadcasters are a little slow to catch up to the times.
I think it’s great when CBS, or whoever, starts to do things online instead of, or along side of, their over the air broadcasting. I don’t even mind watching commercials if I don’t have to pay for the service. I also think that the networks can get a better idea of which shows are being watched and which aren’t. Most of all, though, shows that deserve to succeed aren’t saddled with a bad time slot.
Sometimes I wonder how many shows would have had a longer run had people been able to choose when they watched it rather than having to be in front of a TV when it wasn’t quite convenient for them. How many shows in FOX’s “Friday Night Death Slot” would have stuck around longer?
Television, as I knew it growing up, is definitely on the way out. A part of me remembers watching M*A*S*H and Sledgehammer, and The Cosby Show with family and knowing that friends were watching the same show and having that knit us together just a little bit tighter. I guess I miss that, but it’s a new world. A different world.