Cable TV viewers: Do the major networks, and their schedules, mean anything to you?

I can’t remember the last time that I thought - “hey, better catch the season premiere of the latest look-alike program on ABC tonight!”

My wife and I were discussing this last night and it’s been a long time since we watched a traditional network* show with regularity - The Simpsons for me (up until 1995 or so) and LA Law for her. Nowadays we don’t even differentiate and are sometimes taken aback when we are reminded somehow that there are, in fact, three/four “major” networks and the rest are secondary - we’re kinda like “they all occupy just one space on the dial, what makes any one more major than the other?”

Oh, I know - the broadcast networks have a host of regulations heaped upon them by the FCC in order to have the right to actually send signals through the airwaves, but I’m talking about the average cable TV viewer and their attitudes: do y’all nowadays still think of ABC, CBS, NBC, etc. as “major” and “noteworthy” and the others (Animal Planet, CNN, F/X) “minor” and less “important” than the traditional networks?

*ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX (and UPN and WB if you’re feeling generous. :wink: )

I can’t get over how some people actually boast that they haven’t watched “braodcast” channels in months, years, or even one poor fool who says “a decade and counting.”

People, you’re missing some of the greatest television ever:

The Simpsons (it’s VERY good this year)
The Amazing Race

And then of course there’s the dear lamented cancelled shows that people that have gone years never even had a chance to see:

Family Guy
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

And countless others. Don’t be a snob! Support good TV, not “anything but braodcast TV.”

Heck no. I don’t think that my beloved TLC is less important than ABC, et al. In fact, I tend to give more weight to such entities as TLC, Discovery, Animal Planet (not so much CNN anymore) than to the “networks.” The networks’ resources are skewed: money is poured into sports and crap shows like Friends and the Bachelor, and really good shows suffer. Whereas the channels like TLC only spend their resources on one type of programming and can maintain consistency.

Oh, that’s right - Buffy was on one of the networks (though not on one of the majors :wink: ). Consider my wife corrected.

And I’m not “boasting”, things just happened this way. I’m also not the biggest fan of episodic TV as it takes too much effort to keep up with. The last show I watched with regularity was Babylon 5, and I fell asleep during the final battle. 4, 5 years spent watching it religiously and I missed the conclusion. Pretty much turned me off such commitments.

Didn’t I read somewhere that The Family Guy is coming back? Please correct me if I am wrong. :wink:

A direct to DVD movie is in the works and there is talk of a full season of direct to DVD episodes and even further talk of bringing the show back to TV on Fox or the Cartoon Network.

But the movie is the only sure thing.

And I never said you specifically were boasting JohnT, but people I know on other forums and in my everyday travels have boasted about and I think they’re crazy.

I’ve pretty much got to the point that I only watch Angel on “broadcast TV”. There’s really nothing else that appeals to me, but I’m not a big TV watcher anyway. Even when I’m watching TV, I’m sitting on the computer and doing other things.

Although I grow tired of the NBC marketing people calling every SPECIAL new episode of “ER” and “Law and Order” the CAN’T MISS EPISODE OF THE SEASON THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR EVER WOMEN WILL WANT YOU AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE DON’T MISS THE LAST 12 SECONDS!!!, I do find myself watching them with some regularity. And “West Wing”, too. I like “Scrubs” a lot, but it usually conflicts with the kids’ bed time. I miss “Titus”, but I missed most of the second season (I think) because of the kids too. Mostly I stick to network TV on after 10:00 or so.

“Familyt Guy” and “Futurama” can sometimes be seen on the Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” rotation.

We catch 24 as often as we can, but that’s about it, unless you count football. Seriously, the networks have very little that look compelling. Mostly we’re going, “Man, that looks stupid.”

You know, I just read an article (and now I can’t find it, of course) that said cable has an advantage among young people (like me), because we don’t start watching TV til after 10, where primetime is considered 6-9 on the networks, and that’s largely true in my case. Stuff at 10 or 11? I’ll probably watch it. What I really LOVE about some stations is that they’ll rerun stuff at later hours. Take Discovery. They run Monster House, Monster Garage, and American Chopper on Monday nights, then rerun the same shows right after American Chopper ends. Half the time, I remember the Chopper is on, then stick around to catch the Monster House rerun afterwards, since I don’t particularly care for Monster Garage.

But to get back on topic, the networks haven’t done a lot that interest me. 24 is pretty cool, but the 24 clones are coming and I really don’t like that there aren’t reruns, because if I miss one show, I may say “Screw it!” and wait for the DVD release, if that.

I was expecting to watch several shows on the broadcast networks. But now my TV tends to go between Cartoon Network, The Science Channel, Comedy Central, and G4TV. Those and my PS2. When it came time for premieres of Scrubs, Friends, The Simpsons and the other shows I used to watch I just kept forgetting week after week.

Now I kinda figure that all those shows will be in daily repeats eventually and I’ll catch them then. Waiting a week between episodes has always been a little too long for me. Adult Swim going to daily has spoiled me I guess.

Which, unfortunately, is design/fashion shows. They might as well change the channel name at this point. Ugh.

I have a TiVo. I no longer have to keep track of what show comes on what channel at what time. I tell it what shows I want to see (or what type of show) and it records them for me. When I want to watch TV I just look to see what it has recorded lately and watch that. If I thought about it I could probably tell you which ones are broadcast and which ones are cable-only but it has absolutely no impact on my decision of what to watch.

I have a friend that has steadfastly refused to get any cable or satellite, and she serves as a great barometer for this question. She and I are both huge media buffs, yet aside from Survivor, there is nothing on television we can talk about. We simply do not see the same shows. As a result, we can only talk about movies, and even then only after they come out on DVD, since she doesn’t get out to movies very much.

Jeez, now that I think about it, she’s kind of a pill, huh?

And I have to add, I just got Tivo last week, and I can’t wait to explore the glories therein! I’ve already seen Arrested Developement because of it, the only new show I regret missing. Tivo might actually get people like me see prime time network shows.

I thought that this had already happened? Like Kentucky Fried Chicken becoming just KFC, I thought The Learning Channel had just switched to TLC. I can’t recall the last time I heard a promo say “The Learning Channel,” and I can’t find “The Learning Channel” on the TLC or Discovery websites (I admit, though, that I didn’t scour them).

Anyway, aside from watching the local news and maybe Mad TV and Enterprise if I remember, I don’t watch the networks. In fact, I really don’t watch all that much television anymore (and not by my choice – the roommate’s a TV hog). I pretty much stick to Cartoon Network and Comedy Central. During the week, it’s the Adult Swim block on Cartoon Network. I gotta have my Futurama, Family Guy, Inuyasha, and Big O.

I don’t watch the networks for the most part. I still watch Angel and various PBS stuff, but even the shows I used to enjoy, like 24 and L&O, no longer interest me. It seems like the vast majority of the show they out on are incredibly bad, or if they are good get canceled (Firefly.) The channels I watch most now are BBC America, History Intl, IFC/Sundance and HBO.

Same here. Angle is the only show I try to watch (and I usually miss it being of the single demographis that isn’t home much). Nothing on “regular” channels sound interesting to me. But I have been taping The Practice for a Japanese friend who loves James Spader and I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying it.

Yea, we’re considering getting a TiVo here, then we wouldn’t have to CARE about schedules.