Did you find yourself turning to the comforting glow of your TV and all of the escapism that it provides a lot last year? You’re definitely not alone. The Nielsen Company reported the other day that the total viewing of broadcast network and basic cable programming by Americans rose 1 percent in 2010. That doesn’t sound like much until you get the bigger picture: the average American watched 34 hours of television a week last year. Literally, we watched TV like it was our job. And, well, for those of us at MamaPop it is…kinda…sorta…oh, shut up and hand me the remote.
The big draws on cable were Covert Affairs on USA (I have never even heard of this show) and Pawn Stars and American Pickers on the History Channel, which is now airing programs about Hitler, ice, Egypt, and junkyards 24/7. On the networks, CBS was the big winner with Hawaii Five-o, Blue Bloods, and Mike & Molly. That last one surprises me since everyone was so sure that a show about fat people would be just too disgusting to watch. I guess everyone realized that they were sitting on their asses for 34 hours a week watching those fat people on TV and maybe they should insert a foot or two into their mouths.
Competitive singing and dancing shows continued to do well, but apparently nobody watched Skating with the Stars. But really, why would you when you can just read TwoBusy’s recaps? And, not surprisingly, major sports events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl, and the major entertainment event, the Academy Awards, grabbed the most viewers overall.
Cable news channels gave out the tiniest squeak of a death rattle. They all posted declines from 2009, with CNN tumbling the farthest from 874,000 average viewers during prime time in 2009 to 578,000 in 2010. That’s a 34 percent drop. However, Fox News was still the #1 cable news channel so deal with that how you will. It’s interesting to me, however, that the news, or “news,” channels did so poorly despite earthquakes, oil spills, and mid-term elections. I wonder if there is a correlation between those unsettling/devastating events and the rise in TV show ratings. Personally, I took a break from following the news so closely during the last half of 2010 because it made me feel so furious, cynical, and powerless. I don’t know that I started watching TV shows more, though.