A few days ago Toney and I were talking about the cable channels we watch. I think we receive roughly six million, but only actually tune in to a handful of them.
I watch Nickelodeon (it’s continuously running at all times), Fox News, NBC (Friday Night Lights only), ABC (LOST only), and that’s about it. In fact, I barely watch TV at all. I see less of it now, than at any time in my life – and have more choices than ever before.
Funny how that works, huh? Back when we had twelve channels (nothing was ever on 1), and were forced to turn a hand-crank to switch from one to another, I logged many daily hours in front of the flickering light. And now that we have 500, or whatever, I rarely watch.
In addition to my “favorites,” Toney only watches two or three additional stations, and the boys are partial to Discovery and the History Channel.
They watch MythBusters, and some show featuring a Brit with a pronounced underbite, who escapes from ridiculous situations. I’ve seen him wearing a jumpsuit of bees, and hanging upside-down with his head inside a clothes hamper full of water (I think).
Whenever he’s not on fire, or nailing his forearm to a porch railing, the dude looks like a cash register with the drawer open. And I find that to be distracting.
The History Channel, as far as I can tell, should have a little Hitler mustache in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. It should be their logo, because World War II is the only thing they cover. Hasn’t there been other history?
The Secrets also watch a lot of shows with titles such as Air Shows Gone Horribly Wrong, Assholes Under Arrest, and When Shit Flies Apart. But I don’t know who broadcasts those gems.
I’m not exaggerating when I say we watch less than fifteen channels, out of the hundreds we’re paying for. In fact, I can only tell you, without cheating, the channel numbers for Fox News (64), NBC (is it always 3, everywhere in the country?), and possibly ABC (2?). And that’s it. Nickelodeon is never off, so it’s not necessary for me to ever go looking for it… And I don’t watch anything else.
What about you? How many channels can you name by number, off the top of your head?
Occasionally I read where some grandstanding politician suggests a new government regulation, which would force cable providers to allow customers to only pay for the channels they watch.
It would be an a la carte situation, and I don’t know how I feel about it. At first it seems like a good idea. But many channels would instantly disappear, like that weird stuff way up in the 200s, I think, and we’d have a lot less available to us.
And yeah, I know it’s survival of the fittest, and all that. Believe me, I agree. But I also like channel surfing every once in a while, and maybe discovering something freaky and mind-blowing on a channel I’ll never be able to locate again. I don’t take advantage of the choices too often, but I’m glad they’re there. For some reason…
How much TV do you watch? Are you like me, and see less today than at any time in history? What channels do you frequent, and can you name their number off the top of your head?
Any opinions on the a la carte scheme? If it cost $5.00 per month to subscribe to a channel, and you didn’t want to go over $25.00, which ones would you choose? What would be your essential five?
And this is a quickie, typed like a freakin’ email. They’re usually longer, and a little better crafted. But I’m running radically short of time here.
I’ll do better tomorrow, I promise.
See ya then.
Only one channel really needed, but I’m afraid it doesn’t exist. It’d be the one with Mythbusters, shows about drunk people getting arrested, another show about people blowing shit up, and Dirty jobs. That’s about all we watch at the Tiny House, which is why I’m about to pull the plug on everything except basic-basic cable.
For a third the price of teevee, we can drown our video jones in sweet Netflix squeezins.
Joe T. says
All you friggin leftists. Shove MSNBC up your ass and lick Olberman’s balls.
Whew! That felt good.
Shiny Rod says
@dave – isn’t it ironic that the better food shows come on the Travel channel. ie Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. BBC has Gordon Ramsey…
I watch the food channel. And I like watching “Top Chef” but I’m not sure which channel it comes on.
With Netflix and Hulu, I can watch pretty much anything I want anytime. I mostly just wait until everything is on DVD anyway.
The only thing I don’t wait on is Lost, and I can watch that online easily enough as well, in streaming HD, and with far less commercials. Thanks, internet!
Taiwan On says
I am shocked at the amount of people who still watch ABC/CBS/NBC. I thought the “Networks” had gone the way of the Edsel and the icebox.
Over here, I watch only the English language channels, 18 through 21 (Nat Geo, Discovery, Travel&Living) and 65 through 71 (movie channels). Plus the sports channels when they show something worthy.
I totally agree with Jeff about the History Channel. I mean, there is a LOT of history out there besides WWII. A really lot.
This is going to be long, ranty and unfunny, so everyone stop reading right now…It’s a neat dream, but the a la carte thing will never happen and if it did, you wouldn’t like it. There is a minimum cost in getting the signal to your house regardless of how many channels you receive. So you’re gonna get five channels and your bill will still be $40 – more if you want to count the bigwig salaries at the networks and cable companies. Also, if you knew how much of your cable bill went to the ESPN LTAP (ESPN 1, 2, U, Deportes, Classic, News) alone you would crap. Then there’s Turner, Viacom, Fox and others that have several channels. All these stop the a la carte option. Besides, those 6 channels you watch make up 80% of your bill. It costs more in bandwidth for a cable company to carry them than it does in subscriber fees. The religious channels you hate so much don’t charge anything – in fact, most of them provide a launch incentive of a few thousand dollars and a receiver. All I’m saying is under the current structure, it’s never gonna happen. You can count on the internet, but in most cases it’s the same infrastructure. Whew! I’ll try not to do that again…
Fox News?! Oh, Dear God…..
I DVR everything, so I only watch Fox for The Simpsons (best show ever), NBC for Heroes & The Office and if I am feeling a bit suicidal I watch a little of Jon & Kate Plus 8 on TLC until I want to rip that evil woman’s head off for treating her husband like a steaming pile of turds.
Otherwise I avoid it all…..
It can’t be possible that anyone cares but I meant to say, “It costs more in bandwidth to carry the other 500 channels than it does in subscriber fees”. **sigh**
Another Canadian here, but 93% of my TV watching is non-Canadian content:
Fox HD (Feb to May)
TSN / TSN2 (June to July)
ABC HD (Aug to Nov)
Susan In NWPA says
Fox (Family Guy & House)
Spike (CSI reruns)
Nickelodeon (to keep the kids out of my hair)
VH1 (Rock of Love)
I only know that Spike is channel 168 on my Dish Network, it’s the only channel I watch every night.
Thank you Metten It’s Jesus T.V. from here on in!
Wow, Joe T. – sounds like you may have some anger issues.
It’s a television comment – relax before you stroke out. No one is asking you to WATCH Keith Olbermann. And I would never ask you to “lick Olberman’s balls”, as you so eloquently put it.
Relax, man. you guys had a good run – really.
Remember those sleepless nights back in the pre TCM good old days when you watched old movies all night? Now even on the damn chanells you pay for it’s infomercials from Midnight to 6 am What the hell does Mr.T cooking crap in a plastic oven have to do with History? well at least it’s not about WW2:)
-ESPN (1, 2, and 3)
-TNT/Spike, it’s a toss up
I have to throw in all the lower channels for local news and sports. I watch “Jeopardy”, “Fringe”, “Without a Trace” and “The Big Bang Theory” with some regularity.
If I could I’d block all the female channels I would. I’m such a boy!
I’d like to see someone lick Olberman’s balls, but it costs more than $5 for that channel.
CBS: Monday night shows
ABC: Lost and Life on Mars
FoxNews: Important information
FX: Rescue Me & Sons of Anarchy
FoodNetwork: The fat guy with bad hair who goes to old diners
I need to cut back on my cable service. I have U-400 and I’m watching about six channels. That leaves 394 that I should be getting a refund on.
Chris in Cincinnati says
My five would be:
ABC – For Lost only.
Discovery – Man vs. Wild, Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs.
TLC – All the shows about midgets and people with more kids than sense.
Sports South – Braves Baseball.
Fox News – Yeah? So what? Like CNN is any better.
I blame the guide and the internet. Back when you “hand cranked” you knew you were going to settle for something even if it was a 60’s rerun on a UHF channel. Now you skim through the guide rejecting shows based on name, channel or length and go surf the web instead.
We have Direct-TV with several add on packages. Now I watch < 10 hours of TV per week and what I do watch is almost all news.
My numbers 360 is FoxNews, 356 is MSNBC 355 is CNBC 264 is BBC America and 244 is Sci-Fi.
I cannot remember the last time I watched a traditional network maybe 2006.
The only episodic TV I watch is Big Love and Dr Who. We Tivo tons of stuff but much of it just gets deleted.
“Leftist” is not a word. Perhaps you mean liberal, or democrat – those are both words. I believe it’s been quite positively proven that the “Fox News Channel” contains pre-scripted propaganda that is presented as news. If you prefer their viewpoint, that’s fine – it’s a free country.
As an MSNBC watcher, I’m also fine with the news on CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC. I guess they’re all part of the “big conspiracy”.
My list is similar to Knucklehead, but replace the History channel with Letterman and The Office.
The Evil Twin says
The only reason we really have our current cable package was primarily so that we could keep the Independent Film Channel, Sundance and Fox Movie Channels (so I can record movies), but I seem to be finding most every film title I want through Netflix and other various sources, so I almost want to drop the whole damned overpriced package. We get about 150 channels and besides the aforementioned three channels I only watch Fox News (a staple), The History Channel, occasional Discovery Channel, TCM, Comedy Channel. I’ll pop by the lower rungs whenever there’s a classic old sitcom on like Sanford & Son (always) or The Honeymooners, but I also find that I watch less real television than I ever have at any other point in my life, and growing up I was a product of the TV generation! Go figger. I’m too old to give a crap about the 74 different MTV Channel variations that broadcast Rock Of Love copies 24-7 and reality TV just bores me shitless.
The only show I really make a point of watching is “Top Gear” on BBC. Also the winter Olympics every four years. I used to enjoy “Iron Chef”, but not so much anymore. I think I burned out on TV from working at a TV station for seven years.
Sorry, I don’t know any of my channel numbers. Well, maybe Fox News is 666 in some sense. I don’t have much use for MSNBC, except for the fact that one of my former co-workers is an anchor there.
You know what channel we need? We need an Obama channel, so he can give all the boring ass speeches he wants to all damn day long without interrupting my regularly scheduled programming.
They can insert that channel in down at the end with all the foreign language channels.
Top Gear is the balls. Also, the Sundance channel has a show called “Live from Abbey Road”, it’s an hour show that features three different bands performing live in the historic studio. I’m also a religious fan of F1 auto racing on Speed TV. That’s about it for my international culture; unless you count “Survivor”.
Uncle Buzz in Wheeling says
The Military Channel – 112
The Discovery Channel – 061
The History Channel – 046
The Science Channel – 111
CNN – 032
The Weather Channel – 016 (because they’re the only people on TV who know what the hell they are talking about)
The only network show I watch is ’24’. Tear ’em up, Jack.
Today’s quote is a buy one, get one free…
– “I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.” ~ Groucho Marx
– “Television: A medium – so called because it is neither rare nor well done.” ~ Ernie Kovacs
(If you don’t know who Ernie K. is, sorry about your luck.)
I never understood the Weather Channel – it should just be local weather, but it’s mostly not. I once said, “why do I give a damn about the weather in Montana?”, and someone replied, “well if you lived in Montana you’d care”, and I replied, “exactly, because it would be the local weather”. Can someone explain this channel?
I don’t really watch TV. I have been known to watch Mad Men but that’s only if I have time.
Give me a six pack of beer, a gallon of massage oil and Mr.Man chained to the bed and I’m good to go. Who needs TV?
Dudley Dawson (Booger) says
On Long Island we watch
Channel 2 – Letterman
Channel 9, 11 or 39 – King of Queens, Sienfeld and 2 1/2 Men Reruns
Channel 7 – Jeopardy
Channel 61 – Local Weather and Traffic
One of many Cinemax channels for our Soft Core T&A
That’s about it
I know too many of the channels by number than I would like to admit… as for essentials:
1. HBO – I wouldn’t want to live without it.
2. Showtime – Because I like to imagine that HBO & Showtime are desperately competing for my devotion to one or the other. Oh and the shows are pretty good.
3. FX – Awesome original series, “Married with Children” reruns and they constantly play “Con Air,” what’s not to like??
4. USA – I could not get through major holidays without a Law & Order SVU marathon.
5. Can we make this one a wildcard? Cause I’d like to be able to pick and choose between a few depending on my mood – CW (for Simpsons reruns), Lifetime (for something to laugh at), TNT (regular Law & Order marathons) and Food Network (so I can fantasize about great food while eating something crappy like a Hot Pocket)
If I didn’t have 900 channels, I wouldn’t be able to watch golf with my three-year-old son when he wakes me up at 2:00 a.m.
Willie Williams says
My televison watching is limited to sports, home/garden shows and reality. Reality means there is swearing and titties which means I only watch HBO and Showtime . Other than sports and news I watch nothing on the over-the-air network channels.
The home/garden stuff is to keep up on what others are doing out there related to my business. RDF channel included because where I live its a requirement if you want to be included in conversations at the mom and pop restaurant.
Food Network: Only to watch Alton Brown
TCM: Any old black and white detective movie works for me.
History Channel and Military Channel: Hey, ya can’t EVER get enough of Hitler!
Cartoon Network (I think): Adult Swim…Family Guy reruns, Robot Chicken, and Drinky Crow.
…Uncle Buzz, funny you should mention Ernie Kovacs! I was watching a movie on TCM a couple nights ago (sorry, I forget the name of it) but Ernie Kovacs was in it!. Totally cool!
How did TVs deal with having a channel 3 on the airwaves back when VCRs and video game consoles required the TV to be on 3 to run them? It sounds like a pain in the ass to me.
AMC, USA, NBC and CBS are about all I watch.
History Channel (We call it the Hitler Channel)
I used to watch a ton of TV Land until it turned into a non-stop ad for a bunch of shows like Hot Chicks That you Went to High School With That are Now Stretched out Whores, Meet Back up with High School Studs that are now Fat Bald Tubs of Goo.
And their new show, Women Old Enough to Be Your Mom Hitting on Guys That are Your Son’s Age.
What ever happened to Green Acres foe god’s sake?
Networks? What are those?
The only time a network is on is to see the gay local weatherman warning us about how many inches of the “white stuff” were gonna get.
Pickles the Clown says
Where I’m working right now every break room has four TV’s that broadcast Fox News, The Weather Channel, CNN, and MSNBC. I can tell you every time I go in there the news channels are reporting on the exact same things, using the exact same words pretty much. A lot of the time they’re all doing the same story at the same time. I guess this political leaning must happen durring the primetime shows? I don’t really see much of a difference. I think Glenn Beck has a good show. When my wife turns on Nancy Grace I have to leave the room. None of it has anything to do with the left or the right. I just can’t stand the woman.
Because we have small kids, we gave up trying to watch movies on premium channels a couple of years ago. So we have standard cable and it goes like this:
We are crime show addicts: Law & Order, CSI, Criminal Minds, Mentalist, Numbers, Monk & the Closer are on all the time. That means CBS (channel 3 here in NC), USA (25), TNT (26), A&E (27) and sometimes Spike (40) for CSI reruns.
We also watch sports from time to time (UNC basketball), but our ancient 57″ projection TV is big enough to split the screen equally, so we often have ESPN on the left without sound, and a crime show on the right with sound.
And FYI, Spike is the channel that has most of those Dumbasses Getting Arrested shows – they seem to have migrated form Fox over the years.
Gordion Knott says
>How much TV do you watch?
Zero. Nada. Zilch. I pulled the plug on cable in 2000 and never went back. A big fat $60 saved. Per fucking month.
“24” and “Galactica” you can rent from Netflix, and “The Office” and “Family Guy” and all that crap is on various websites in streaming format. Plus a shitload of streaming movies (most of them junk, but whatever) on Netflix’s site.
The only downside is sports. I miss vegging out in front of a game on weekends. I might pay a fiver for a sports channel if it were available.
Hey, Uncle Buzz in Wheeling:
My beloved 25 year old Blue Fronted Amazon Parrot that just passed away *sniff* was named Percy Dovetonsils!
I LOVE Ernie Kovaks!
Nads….how’s it hang’in bro?
I read a magazine while watching with the kids American Idol (FOX) and The Office (NBC).
The Dad Favorites presets are:
Foxs Business News
I skip over all other channels unless a particular sporting even requires viewing.
Why watch FOX NEWS? You freedom of speech, tolerant liberals are so afraid of a different point of view. And don’t reply to this in a mean way because I don’t want you to indulge in “hate speech”.
Kim in Ohio says
We looooove TV. We love TV so much, we joined Netflix so that we could watch entires series uninterrupted. I’ve never gone so far as to reschedule things because something was on TV, but as one of the last people in the free world without a DVR (thank you, Charter Communications), I’m sure glad they show full episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS.com. My 13-yr old son loves G4 (channel 47) to watch Cheats and Japanese game shows like Ninja Warrior, along with Cartoon Network (54), Nickelodeon (55), and Toon Disney (102). I couldn’t live without 3 Discovery channels (200-202), the History Channel (46), Food Network (52), and BBC America (108). I’ve gotten hooked on “How Clean Is Your House?”.
hln 23 – nancy grace and jane velez mitchell
comedy central 26 – south park
cartoon network 49 – the boy likes jimmy neutron
the military channel 52 – (i think this is the right chnl) future weapons for the hubby
the hitler, i mean history channel 122 – background noise, it’s always ww2 stuff but good enough for bg noise
and fox news, because i can’t take the liberal utopia mindset going on at cnn or any of the major news networks.
cross lanes curmudgeon says
What West Virginian could forget Burdette Camping Center’s “Don’t THROW your money away!” guy, who pitched a wad of singles in the air after delivering the oft-repeated, RV-promoting tagline.
C&O Motors maintains a decades old annoying radio ad, in which an announcer lists a bunch of cars and their prices, then shouts “C & O Motors!” three times. That said, I bought my car there.
Those two tubbies on the electric wheelchair live in my town. I’m so proud!
Let’s see, Discovery (Mythbusters), TruTV (The Smoking Gun Presents), ABC (FlashForward, 24, V), BYU-TV, Weather Channel
I could cope with only having those.