I never thought I would ever get to a day where I could legitimately say that there are too many television shows. Anyone who complains that there isn't anything on TV isn't looking too hard. There's always something on. There's downloading, streaming, On-demanding, and DVRing. We can start shows from the beginning that are halfway through and even set up a program to record from our cell phones. The options are out there to watch basically whatever we want at anytime so saying there's nothing on is plain ridiculous.
Do we have too many television channels though?
We have about eight C-SPANS, eight different ESPN's, and an individual network for every single sport. We have a channel for trimming trees, one for gardening flowers, and another for mowing lawns. We have gay channels, senior citizen channels, women channels, black channels, Hispanic channels, religious channels, and every other demographic you can think of. The segregation we have for television would be like McDonalds having a separate fast food place for fries, one for burgers, one for chicken nuggets, another for condiments, and a specific place for breakfast sandwiches that was only opened from 5:00am-10:30am.
The point is we have so many options at any time that the problem is that there's too much on, not that there's nothing on.
The Winter Olympics has felt the wrath of abundance. It used to be the Olympics were a special event ever four years and everyone in America would tune into it to watch basically all the events that the Americans were good at. Now more people watched American Idol on Tuesday then tuned into the Olympics. Who knew there would be a time where the top two shows in prime time featured one gay man and one gay woman? If you've seen Johnny Weir then I don't know if you can call that a man though.
The Olympics are on four different channels now. We have NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, and Versus. We can watch curling, hockey, figure skating, and snowboarding all at the same time. Is it that the Olympics aren't special anymore or is it that by seeing everything available we're realizing that some events are pretty boring?
The same argument was brought up with the NBA All Star game. Each year and at every all star break for every sport we have the same argument. This game is meaningless; the players don't care about the game so why should we care about the game? The competitiveness from the game might have changed throughout the course of the last few decades, but so has our eagerness to watch these spectacles. If we feel like the all star game is unimportant now then there's plenty of other things we can watch that are probably just as entertaining if not better. There's just not that sense that these programs are that one special thing on television that we look forward to. Nothing is really like that anymore, except for the Super Bowl.
Tomorrow is the big Tiger Woods press conference. I'm sure everyone is at the edge of their seat to hear Tiger not answer any questions and give a written statement about how he hurt his wife, kids, family, friends, sponsors, supporters, and fellow PGA tour players. I'm sure he'll take the brunt of the blame and turn it into a positive like anyone else in his predicament would. He'll speak on what he has done to try and make himself a better person and talk about what he will do in the future. That's fine though; that's what he's supposed to say. Press conferences like these a decade ago used to be the biggest ordeal. Everyone would want to get around the television to see what someone important had to say. Now ESPN has to market the press conference and put up bulletins throughout their programming just to try and get people to tune in. We don't care about press conferences anymore; we'll watch it on the Internet or hear a million stories about it immediately upon its conclusion.
So who is at fault for turning these special events into flip back and forth television programs? I guess all of us.
Its basic supply and demand principles which allow us to see that as there are more television channels, there is going to be less demand for each one. Then again we have the Internet and other technologies that have supplied us more information and we have demanded more programming, which then created the over saturation of programs. That's just how things are going to be. The evolution of television.
So programs aren't going to be special to everyone anymore. Who cares? We can complain all we want about these events that we feel everyone should love. What we really need to learn from all these television channels is that there are millions of people out there with millions of different personality characteristics and interests and now everyone can find something special to love. I don't need you to love what I'm watching and I don't have to love what you're watching.
That's what makes it special.