Was Television During Christmas/New Years Always This Horrible?

My DVR is practically empty…there is nothing new on the air to tape!
Not only the major broadcast networks, even the cable channel shows are all in repeats or not even airing during the holidays.

Yes, I know the traditional way of thinking is that people are traveling or sitting around the fireplace with family singing carols and roasting marshmallows, but seriously - no new episodes of shows for two weeks?!

Geez - even in the summer you find new episodes of shows on cable channels. No wonder the movie theaters are jam packed this holiday season; there is practically nothing new being shown on any channel whatsoever.

The Kennedy Center honors are on tonight, that’s usually worth watching (a few good performances, some interesting mash-ups, and a bunch of “damn, I thought s/he was dead” moments).

In a partial answer to your question, pretty much it was worse. At least where I lived in the mid-1950s, early 1960s.

Until my dad installed the rotatable beam antenna, we could get exactly 3 channels…you got used to watching what was there or doing something else.* (I guess that’s how I got to be such an avid reader)

So, when the holidays came around and there wasn’t much worth watching, well, that was pretty much what you were used to anyway. In other words, it certainly wasn’t any better than today and IMHO was worse, but you were used to that and you just didn’t much notice it.

  • afterwards, we could pull in 5 stations! 'Course, one of them was another NBC station and only the local news was different. :mad:

Yeah, as long as I can remember there’s been reruns on for a week or two around Christmas/New Years, just like there’s always been reruns for a few weeks in October. After all they only make about 4 months of new programming a season, so there have to be reruns sometime. If they want to fit in the 8 month season and have new programming during the ratings sweeps, they have to show reruns or specials in October, December, and March.

By way of contrast, Christmas in the UK (including Christmas Eve and Boxing Day) is a huge TV event. Old favorites have reunions and the most popular current shows have special Christmas episodes that actually air on the day, not the last week in November. And they are special too, with bigger budgets than regular episodes, and they’re not necessarily kid-friendly and seasonally cheery, although they can be.

I write this with all the authority of someone who has never been to the UK on Christmas.

We always get “The True Jesus” type of documentary, always.
Of course, the “The True Jesus” changes dramatically every three years.
At least, thanks heaven, the tapes of all the movies involving Jesus/Moses/David shot in the 60s and 70s have apparently become so thin they no longer show any of them.

Everything shuts down for Christmas, so one lonesome cable station wouldn’t dare try to air “something new”, it would get steamrollered in the vast Christmastime desert. New stuff premieres in January (February for Losties) all at once. (I always picture the stars of TV shows taking the month off and hanging out at some big resort together. Stupid I know, but it’s the same in summer - Oprah, David Letterman, Conan, Tyra - all running up and down the halls of a big old summer rental. Am I lame or what?)

As a huge football fan, I’ve never noticed this problem. This time of year, if my TV is on, I’m probably watching a game, or some Sportscenter-type recap/pregame show.

History Channel may be showing some first run stuff…new episodes of Pawn Stars, some of those “OH NOES, WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE” shows…

Agree it was much worse back in the day, when choices were considerably more limited.

As a kid who grew up in the 1970s, I think it was was much worse in the good 'ol days. There was a far more limited selection of channels, as others have mentioned. For kids, they showed the same old Christmas-related cartoons and Claymation features year after year after year; A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, and so on. For adults, it was cheesy variety shows; Carol Burnett and the like. Think of a Christmas special on Univision, only without the hotties.

Yeah, my Tivo is basically recording nothing but *Jeopardy! *and *Charlie Rose. *Good thing it’s already got a ton of stuff I haven’t watched. I think it was always like this.

It was better in the old days. First of all they showed Christmas movies only around Christmas so it was a special event. And you HAD to be at the TV to watch or you missed it for another year.

So this brought anticipation.

WGN-TV used to run two weeks of Christmas shows only. All the reruns they showed of popular sitcoms were Christmas shows. And they broke out the shows they rarely ran out at Christmas.

Even as late as the mid 80s, cable networks would give people the day off on Christmas. QVC and HSC and the JC Penny Shopping channel would not sell and air music, or church or old public domain movies.

I really think it was the fact you didn’t have a VCR that made the shows more special, because first of it added to the anticipation, it was an event, and second you realized that it WAS just a TV show and you could always wait a few years and see it in reruns, yes sometimes it was a few years before the show came around again.

British TV seems to do Christmas much better if the Doctor Who specials are any indicator. Speaking of which, other than football (and old shows already recorded) that’s about all I’ll be watching for the rest of this week.

Better off Ted was new tonight, which just goes to show you how much ABC wants to disappear this show as quickly as possible.