Thursday, February 07, 2008

Speaking of TV Guide...

... for the first time I can recall, I will not be receiving or reading this magazine in the future.

When I was a child in the 1960s, my parents subcribed to TV Guide, and I looked forward to getting the magazine in the mail on Tuesday or Wednesday. It listed programming for the next week, and I would scour the listings for monster movies I hadn't seen, TV shows I wanted to watch, etc. This was in the days before DVRs or VCRs or the like, so the only way to see a program was to watch it when it aired (sounds barbaric, doesn't it?), which is why I spent a great deal of time making sure I knew the air-times of the shows I wanted to see, whether the episodes were new or rerun, and the like. And of course, I would read the articles for the latest news about television programs I enjoyed, cast changes, cancellations, and other television-related news.

The highlight of the year for a TV Guide reader was the Fall Preview issue, when they offered an advance look at all three networks' schedules (there were only three back then, honest!), along with a concept synopsis and cast listing for each show. I would spend hours going through that issue to determine which shows I wanted to watch.

When Susan and I got married, I subscribed to TV Guide on my own, and have continued to receive it for almost 37 years now. But my subscription expires in May, and I see no reason to renew it.

First off, it's not really a guide any more; it lists general network programming, but it doesn't include a detailed listing for programming on the specific channels that I receive.

Secondly, the content has become a bit more lightweight and gossipy over the years; some of the columnists are actually so simple-minded that it's embarrassing to read their work week after week.

As far as TV news is concerned, there are better sources for that nowadays.

Even so, I feel a little nostalgia for the publication that was once the best-selling magazine in America. If a long-time supporter like me is leaving the ranks, I hate to speculate on how many others must have said goodbye long before...

1 comment:

Tredekka said...

It's really funny you'd mention this. Just last night I was deleting the TV Guide Channel because they no longer show TV listings. It's now called the TV Guide Network, and they just show the same programs they used to show just above the listings, but full screen now, with no listings whatsoever. As much as I feel elucidated by Joey Fatone's coverage of the SAG awards, and as much as I enjoy the schadenfreude aspects of Celebrity Fit