Tuesday, February 17, 2009

HISTORIC WEEK IN TV LAND

Well, this is an important week in the history of television as the start of the infamous Digital Conversion happens in the USA. Most stations have heeded the order to delay shutting off their analog signals until June 12, but several are shutting down today, Feb 17, which is the day that was originally scheduled for the switchover. Seems like a lot of the stations shutting down early are UHF stations and FOX affiliates, like ones in Buffalo.

As for Canadian signals, Canada doesn't switch over until 2011 so our old analog sets will still be somewhat useful for something after the digital conversion is over this year in the 'States.

And this is the final week for Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Next week Jimmy Fallon takes over the time slot and Conan will wait for Jay Leno to get finished with The Tonight Show. Then Conan will take that show over and Leno moves to 10/9 Central, booting an entire hour of prime time real estate off the air at NBC.

Needless to say, people look at that move and think it will be the end of TV as we know it. I read an article at the Denver Post website which puts all the problems in perspective. Basically it says we've reached the nadir of TV and that TV has lost its glamour. That nails it! Basically, the only excitement left on network TV is the crowning of an American Idol or even a sole Survivor. That's about it. But TV watching just doesn't seem like a big deal anymore. Besides, too many of the shows on TV these days are unwatchable reality crap. Too many of these networks are cash-strapped, and the industry has still not recovered from that disasterous writers strike of last year that alienated so many of us die-hard TV watchers.

TV watching has changed. Now a lot of the most anticipated shows are on cable; plus you have people skipping TV to watch their favorite episodes online on the Internet, or entire series on DVD. That kind of activity doesn't exactly breed "appointment TV." Now the big TV events seem to happen only occasionally, and you have more people turning to cable for the really hip shows on TV.

Also, I happen to think the ratings system is flawed. I'm convinced some of these shows that are on the air right now, like The Office and Family Guy, are far more popular than the Nielsen ratings indicate. But you can't tell because the Nielsens don't follow Internet downloads or DVD sales or any of those measures. Anyway, I'm digressing again. This has turned into just another long-winded rant from me about the state of television.

Actually, tonight has turned into yet another night of non-TV watching for me as I was at another very long meeting. So I haven't had a chance to watch any TV at all this evening. Maybe I'd better just publish this post right now, and fire up the colortinis.

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