I Was Thinking About Something Else

That pretty much sums up my life nowadays. I will be doing something, walking into a room or driving, and I will go askew. Someone will inevitably ask at that same moment, "What are you doing?". Which will confuse me and I can only respond, "Yeah, well...I was thinking about something else".

(formerly A Connecticut Yankee)

Location: Connecticut, United States

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Hey kids! What time is it?

A really, really long time ago, that phrase was the queue for every little kid in the 50's to yell at their precious Zenith black and white console tv (along with the studio audience of little kids), "It's Howdy Doody Time!".

It was also a time when television shows varied in length. A show could be 20-23 minutes long or even as little as 15 minutes. Things evolved. Half an hour or an hour became standard. Daytime television was one or two talk shows in the morning, the soaps during midday/midafternoon and then one or two afternoon talk shows (Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin come to mind). This was followed by the 5 and 6 o'clock news and then Prime Time would kick in from 8-11pm. And it would be wrong not to mention Johnny at 11:30 after all the years he put in.

There were other facets to this model that went on for decades. Weekends were Saturday morning cartoons and afternoons on both days were sports (Wide World of...etc.) and Sunday nights were family time (Wonderful World of Disney, Wild Kingdom).

One of the most important components to all of this scheduling were Repeats. Or as we used to refer to them, Reruns.

For many years the flag that signaled the end of the television season was the TV Guide announcing that next week's show was a rerun. There were no big season finales. Actually, it was very rare to have a series finale. Nine times out of ten, the show just never came back in the Fall.

Oh, and about the Fall. Yes, it was cooler weather, school starting, but most importantly...there were the Fall Previews. The shows that were new to the lineup, hitting the ground running and hopeful that they would still be there in the spring. It used to be that they had thirteen weeks to pull it off or wind up as an obscure question in Trivial Pursuit, the Platinum Edition.

Well, that was then. Somewhere around the turn of the century the landscape changed in such a way that, even though it always seemed like a free for all, it really became a free for all. You could make an argument that cable was the culprit, been around since the late seventies, with it's multitude of channels, numbering in the hundreds. But realistically, it's Tivo. With Tivo there is no restriction to when you watch something. That is a really big deal. Routines are no longer based on when you can see something you want to see. That means that if you are a tv show now, your audience is dispersed. It is no longer a matter of the next day, hanging at the watercooler and chatting about 'Lost' from last night. Which means momentum for any show is almost impossible to create because 'Must See TV' is no longer 'Must See Now TV'.

Hey kids! What time is it? ... It doesn't matter anymore.


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