Is TV programming going down the tubes?


According to a poll from AOL Television and the Associated Press, 62% of surveyed Americans think the quality of television programming is diminishing. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from watching it. Over a fourth or respondents watch over 21 hours weekly and 13% watch over 30 hours (said to be a 5% increase over 2005). But the same low opinion exists among both light and heavy users of the medium.

Reality programming may finally be hitting the wall, with 71% saying there’s too much of it on the schedule. 49% believe there is too much crime. Meanwhile, 28% want more news and 24% want more comedy.

Asked what one channel they would watch, the big four networks still held sway over cable. CBS and ABC scored 9%, NBC scored 8% and Fox 7%. AOL/AP said three basic cable offerings — Discovery, ESPN and The History Channel — each came home with 4%. Cable channels grabbed 45% of the total.

TVBR/RBR observation: TV was already a vast wasteland, according to Newt Minow, way back in the early 60s. We think this, like education, is one of those questions that will eternally draw a negative answer. You can look in a newspaper from 1901 and find politicians and pundits bloviating about the deplorable state of the schools. And music isn’t what it used to be and the quality of our food is deteriorating. A plurality thinks TV is going downhill just about every time you ask the question. The only poll that matters is the one that shows how many people are watching.