Sunday, January 16, 2022


Did you ever view a TV series you really liked only to have the program discontinued?  Some viewers contact the broadcast source pleading to save the show.  Others unhappy, simply complain.  On the other hand, praise for most shows is seldom given directly to those broadcasters as I learned from time working in a television station's program department.   Media professionals gave critiques, of course.    I think that now there may be more viewer like and dislike expressions known, but primarily only in comments written on the various internet social network sites.   

Program choices have certainly expanded from television network stations beginning offerings once cable came into existence, increasing even more later when they began broadcasting some of their own shows.   Subsequent addition of the internet seems to have added exponentially to the number of viewing options with so much programming now competing for our attention and viewing time.  I've long since been challenged trying to view all of these frequently changing increasing viewing options to determine which one(s) are best that I would most want to see.  

I've never really geared my program viewing choices to those said to be the most popular or having garnered the highest ratings reported by companies who measure viewer numbers since I don't always necessarily agree.   The multitude of programs finally over-whelmed me to a degree I couldn't know them all, so I finally had to accept selective sampling.  If I missed viewing what I might have considered as best, that was today's world.

Contributing to what is often advertised as being best, due to having the most viewers (according to rating companies numbers measured and reported), has generally dictated which TV programs survived to be broadcast despite some viewers opposition.  The primary rating company in years past and now is Nielsen, but ARB was once given some competitive credence in that area.

I recall after I ceased working in television when we moved to a small college town, being randomly selected by ARB to be a household to document in writing all we viewed for a designated period of time which I did.  Through the years I've never known of anyone who has been asked to provide data or documented their viewing habits to the Nielsen company whose rating numbers have such influence.  

Recently someone I know on the east coast described to me having declined the Nielsen rating company's request to participate as a rating family.   That person reported becoming quite annoyed with the escalating pressure on them to participate by allowing recording of their family television viewing habits.   Even after the person had declined, multiple contact efforts kept being made by Nielsen though this family member had ceased to respond.  The person being persistently solicited reported feeling really badgered to put it mildly, especially when one phone call came as late as almost 10 p.m.  Again, they didn't answer the call trying to recruit their participation in household ratings, but that seems to have finally ended the company representative's contact efforts.   Nielsen tactics seemed to be a strange way to gain potential participants cooperation.  

A recent Forbes magazine report describes the current state of such rating services.  New rating companies continue to form in the effort to consolidate numbers purported to reveal the viewing habits of millions of us from the multiple program sources available today, well beyond more traditional television stations in the past.  Nielsen is the company that continues to dominate. 

Viewers are moving to newer video sources challenging efforts to measure audiences Forbes reports.

"Beginning in fourth quarter 2022, Nielsen will launch the Nielsen ONE platform to provide clients with parallel cross-platform ratings -- including live and on-demand television -- for individual ads and video content." ..... "The goal is to have the industry change to cross-media metrics by the Fall of 2024". 

This change will likely be of interest to politicians during our Presidential election year.  Forbes also reports Nielsen will be "expanding their Streaming Meter from 800 households to 14,000 households ... all homes whether or not they subscribe to cable TV,  have a broadband connection or stream videos are included."

At present, linear TV meaning traditional viewing via satellite and cable tends to skew toward an older audience, although there is evidence, that during the pandemic older age groups have been watching more streaming video.  I wonder if traditional incudes antenna TV which is what I have?   Forbes reports Nielsen's Total Audience Report will enable users to track any shifts in viewing by demographics.  

Rating figures have a bearing on what we see on TV -- our programs, the ads, including political ones.  I continue to wonder just how well the sample households, wherever they are, viewing habits can be extended to infer they represent those of our whole country, but Nielsen's rating have continued to be accepted by many.

I'd be interested in reading whether you or anyone you have known ever participated in recording/reporting television viewing habits to a rating company?  What do you think about ratings?

Have there been any programs cancelled you thought shouldn't have been?

Right about now I could appreciate a good dose of some of the long ago-ended comedy shows.  Some of these older series are being replayed on  variety of program sources that can be found by an internet search engine.   Here's a favorite skit that always makes me laugh.

I Love Lucy:  A Colorized Celebration -- "Job Switching" 

Lucy and Ethel go to work in our California's Sees Candy factory.

Some of my other favorite comedies, though I don't know their ratings:
"The Carol Burnett Show", "Sid Caesar Show of Shows", "Laugh-In", "Seinfeld", "Golden Girls" to name just a few older programs to add to more current shows I haven't named.

"Keeping Up Appearances", "As Time Goes By", "Faulty Towers", "Monty Python's Flying Circus" are a few older BBC comedies that come to mind.  There are probably new shows that haven't come to the U.S. 

(Lily Tomlin's one-woman stage show "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" would be a feature I would welcome viewing again in the future.)

Are there comedy shows you miss seeing and/or new ones you currently enjoy?


  1. I don't watch TV and prefer books, the internet and newspapers for my news and entertainment requirements.

    1. There’s certainly more than enough visual stimulation just on the internet alone now.

  2. It has been many years since Nielsen contacted me. I have satellite only and am sure Directv has a way to monitor what I watch. I really miss As Time Goes By and Golden Girls. Otherwise I am usually recording way more shows than I have time to watch them. When baseball starts back up, that is my drug of choice.

    1. Interesting to learn of another person Nielsen contacted even if it was years ago. Various sports offerings are the drug of choice for many.

  3. We were a Nielsen family for awhile maybe a decade or more ago. At that time, we had to tell the box who was watching. We were each assigned a number, and we had a remote that we could use to say if person 1, 2, or 3 were watching, or any combination of the three. It was kind of interesting, but it did get tiresome after awhile. I remember feeling really bad for the tech guy when our old dog went behind the TV and had diarrhea all over the MANY wires, which I could not get out of all of the grooves, so he had to come and replace them with new ones. Twice. He said it happens, and more often it is cat urine that is the issue, and that smells even worse. I wonder if today’s system has as many wires?

    1. Interesting to learn of your experience. Never imagined such problems with dogs and cats on the wiring. Internet search engines may provide the personal accounts of others who’ve been rating families.

      Though this link does not describe in-home setups, the Variety article does report some of the complications Nielsen has been encountering in providing viable rating information:

  4. I've never been approached to monitor my viewing habits, and I wouldn't want to be. It's too intrusive.

    There are loads of discontinued TV programmes I would like to have seen more of. Like Tommy and The Affair and Nurse Jackie. I also hope for a second season of Mare of Easttown.

    We get plenty of TV channels through Sky, including the BBC, so we're not interested in other alternatives like Netflix.

    1. I’ve heard of Nurse Jackie but am unfamiliar with the other programs you mention. Perhaps they’ll eventually be offered in the U.S. as our Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) airs some.

  5. I was paid by Nielsen many, many years ago when I had kids and a boarding house. Groceries and household stuff.

    I disconnected TV 30 odd years ago but I am a fan of streaming (no commercials) and do watch some of the old shows which were brilliant. And some new ones equally so. Right now watching "A Place Called Home" which is a delightful series with depth out of Australia. 6 seasons so it will take up the next few weeks.


    1. I’m pleased to be hearing from some actual Nielsen participants as had wondered who and where they might be. Most of what I view are programs without commercials, too. I do flip through some of commercial TV occasionally as am curious to see what has happened to quality TV programming with media changes.