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Study says boomers don't like what's on TV
Associated Press ^ | 11-19-06 | DAVID BAUDER

Posted on 11/19/2006 8:53:37 PM PST by Snickering Hound

NEW YORK — Americans born between 1946 and 1964 are accustomed to being catered to, but that's not the case with much of television today. Now there's some new evidence that they're finding this mighty irritating.

A study conducted by Harris Interactive suggests that the television industry's obsession with youth is backfiring.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they believe that most TV programming and advertising is targeted toward people under 40, the survey said. More than 80 percent of adults over 40 say they have a hard time finding TV shows that reflect their lives.

A significant number of baby boomers — 37 percent — say they aren't happy with what's on television, according to the study.

"The amount of people dissatisfied with television overall was a pretty big eye-opening thing for us," said Larry Jones, president of the TV Land cable network, which commissioned the study.

To a certain extent, the generation that decades ago warned against trusting people over 30 can blame itself for the predicament. The TV industry's slavish devotion to ratings within the 18-to-49-year-old demographic started when most baby boomers fit into that group.

The theory among advertisers is that it's important to reach young people as their preferences are forming — get them hooked on a certain toothpaste or soda early and they'll be hooked for life. Advertisers will pay a premium for young viewers: $335 for every thousand people in the 18-to-24 age range that a network delivers, for example. Viewers aged 55-to-64 are worth only $119 for every thousand, according to Nielsen Media Research.

That's why ABC and NBC conduct all of their business with advertisers in the 18-to-49 demo. From a financial standpoint, if you're 50 or over, you mean nothing to those networks' executives. For Fox, the CW, MTV, BET and countless other networks, even 40 is too old.

The peak year for births within the baby boom, Jones noted, was 1957 — meaning all those people are turning 49 this year.

Much of the television industry isn't aging with them.

"They've just never changed or haven't realized that the population has moved on," said Randy Berkowitz, vice president of research for Combe Inc., which makes health products and beauty aids.

Berkowitz believes that "people are just not in tune with TV because they can't relate to it anymore."

Jones, who's 46, said he wants to come home at night and see an entertainment program that appeals to his sensibilities. Some people may find Paris Hilton funny on "The Simple Life," for example — not him.

To a surprising extent, advertising is also alienating. The Harris Interactive study found that half of baby boomers say they tune out commercials that are clearly aimed at young people. An additional one-third said they'd go out of their way NOT to buy such a product.

"I'm not saying that every show, every network should reshape, but that's an awfully high level of dissatisfaction among the largest generation group of all time," said Ken Dychtwald, a psychologist who worked with Harris Interactive on the study. (Harris conducted an online survey of 4,220 adults between April 28-May 15 this year, with a sampling error of plus or minus 1.5 percent).

Some advertisers have responded to the aging population. Financial services firms, for example, see many potential customers advancing toward retirement. Two decades ago drug companies didn't advertise on TV; now you could fill a medicine cabinet with all the products hawked on the evening news.

But these were cases where the companies making these products saw the opportunity, not necessarily the TV industry, Berkowitz said.

TV Land's Jones is already using the survey in his business. The results have convinced him that, more than ever, his network of mostly classic TV shows should be boomer-centric, he said. He also comes armed with the survey when he meets with the Madison Avenue types who buy advertising time.

One statistic he's sure to cite: The survey found 51 percent of the postwar generation describe themselves as "open to new ideas." Meanwhile, only 12 percent of young adults think the older folks feel that way.

Why does that matter? Jones said the average media buyer or planner is under 30. Many are undoubtedly hired for their know-how in appealing to a specific generation, and it isn't the baby boomers.

"There is this huge perception versus reality situation in the marketplace," he said.

Jones is pushing the idea of a "middlescence," about 40-to-59-year-olds who don't feel young anymore but don't feel old, and have plenty of discretionary income.

With the continued carving of the television audience into smaller slices because of all the networks on the air, the chance for advertisers to reach particular niches increases, said Evan Shapiro, who had his own marketing firm and is now head of the Independent Film Channel. Shapiro, 37, doesn't buy the idea that there's nothing on TV for older viewers.

"If you are a 50-year-old male or female, there is an enormous amount of television for you," he said. "It's just not on all the places that it used to be."

Still, Shapiro said he senses that marketers are slowly waking up to the potential in older TV viewers.

But by the time it happens, the children of the baby boomers will be the focus, making their parents even more irrelevant in television's eyes, he said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: genx; theresnothingon; tv
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To: Baynative

Hey! There's my Car!
24 is the only show that I do watch, so when it's off season, my tv's are off.


51 posted on 11/19/2006 9:30:05 PM PST by acapesket (never had a vote count in all my years here)
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To: Snickering Hound

The only shows I watch on network TV are "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy". Other than that, it's Turner Classic Movies, History Channel and it's international version and Military Channel.


52 posted on 11/19/2006 9:30:59 PM PST by AlaskaErik (Everyone should have a subject they are ignorant about. I choose professional corporate sports.)
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To: RayChuang88
The only thing I watch regularly is History Channel, some Discovery Channel (especially the wonderful Mythbusters), Fox News Channel, ESPN, and ESPN2.

yah. You're right. I should have added these to my above rant. I don't watch the sports channels, but History, discovery and FNC I watch regularly. AMC sometimes as well. And sci fi.

But the more FNC tunes in to the entertainment circuit or this sensational murder or that sensational abduction the more I tune them out. I can get that kind of trash on the networks, don't need to be glued to FNC to get it.

53 posted on 11/19/2006 9:32:58 PM PST by HeartlandOfAmerica (The Democrat Party: Best friends of America's WORST enemies!)
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To: AlaskaErik

I wouldn't watch Desperate Housewives if someone paid me, but my youngest daughter is a Grey's Anatomy fan. I've never watched it, so I don't even know what it's about. My hubby watches sci fi and old black and white movies. He flips the remote for sports sometimes, but rarely watches a full game.


54 posted on 11/19/2006 9:34:16 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: acapesket

We have one little TV, only because my son's roommate at college couldn't take it on the plane. It is on Saturdays for ND football. Maybe Ohio State, but we always hated them when I was a kid. Still do. Sundays only for football. Love to cheer for the hapless Browns and against the Steelers, Baltimore, Denver, Seattle, and a few others. That's it. No NBA, no MLB. Used to love baseball but now, not so much. Don't even listen on the radio anymore. The TV sits unused in the football off-season.


55 posted on 11/19/2006 9:34:39 PM PST by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: Baynative
The writers aren't interested in my tired point of view and the sponsors are certainly not talking to me, so I don't listen.

Sponsors like the visciously racist Orbitz. I'm not listening, either.

56 posted on 11/19/2006 9:36:01 PM PST by Spirochete
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To: Snickering Hound

Boomers remember a time when good family values and old fashioned patriotism was in vogue.

The current brand of crap on TV is a giant middle finger to all who enjoyed traditional programming. TV does its best to alienate a huge customer base and is scratching its head and saying "What happened?"

Genius.


57 posted on 11/19/2006 9:36:41 PM PST by Killborn (Pres. Bush isn't Pres. Reagan. Then again, Pres. Regan isn't Pres. Washington. God bless them all.)
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To: Terpfen

Yep


58 posted on 11/19/2006 9:38:15 PM PST by GoLightly
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To: Incorrigible; qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; tortoise; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.  

59 posted on 11/19/2006 9:39:16 PM PST by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: BunnySlippers
Gotta agree with you there Bunny.

Funny thing is, I hear the same complaints from all the young people I know. And I am talking 20-30. Most of them don't watch the networks either, their complaints about the programs and the commercials too, are the same as those of us who are their parents. The commercials we tend to find something creepy about, they do as well.

It's even more obvious, regarding commercials, when I drive by Burger King, the place is always almost empty even at peak hours. The truth is they aren't giving any of us anything decent to watch. I hear it's because reality tv (yuck) is cheap to make.
60 posted on 11/19/2006 9:42:10 PM PST by gidget7 (Political Correctness is Marxism with a nose job)
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To: Snickering Hound
Two decades ago drug companies didn't advertise on TV; now you could fill a medicine cabinet with all the products hawked on the evening news.

I may be wrong (because I am aging!!), but I think that 20 years ago, drug companies were not allowed to advertise on TV. Now they are. That could be the reason why there are more drug commercials today than there were 20 years ago.

Speaking of aging, I was born in 1962, but have never considered myself to be a baby-boomer (even though anyone born up through 1964 is supposedly a Boomer). A few years back, I read an article comparing the differences between Baby Boomers, and Gen X'ers. I had a lot more in common with Gen X. They said that the Boomers, for example, grew up listening to Elvis, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. I can name a handful of Elvis songs because EVERYONE knows them - they are everywhere, and you can't get away from them. I think I can name 2 or 3 Stones songs, but that is about it. I learned Beatles songs only when I got into high school, and had my interest sparked because we played a Beatles montage in band.

By the time I started noticing pop music, about age 9-11, all of those listed above were either over, or not being played extensively in roller skating rinks, or "Top 40" radio stations, the only music that I heard. The first music I remember being "in" to was by the Partridge Family, and top 40 songs such as "Kung Fu Fighting" and "The Night Chicago Died" (I cringe making that admission!!).

Either way, I think that the boundaries of what constitutes a "Baby Boomer" are not very accurate.
61 posted on 11/19/2006 9:42:24 PM PST by Zetman (I believe the children are the next generation.)
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To: Snickering Hound
"Jones is pushing the idea of a "middlescence," about 40-to-59-year-olds who don't feel young anymore but don't feel old, and have plenty of discretionary income."

The television executives need to do something different if they expect to pry some of that bountiful discretionary income out of my hands and into the coffers of their advertisers. However, the heirs to my estate hope they continue to ignore me and drive me away to alternative, non-commercial forms of entertainment. :-)

62 posted on 11/19/2006 9:43:31 PM PST by Unmarked Package
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To: BunnySlippers

Sitcoms are horrible. There used to be some good ones, but now it's stupid people saying stupid things that nobody would ever say and doing things that no one would ever do. The example I always point to is the one episode of NewsRadio I watched. The characters go to lunch at a Chuck E. Cheese-style restaurant, and one of them says, "Where is our waiter? I haven't seen him in a while." Suddenly, the guy rises up from under the balls in the ball pool, smoking. "Oh, I was on break." Okay. I'm not an All in the Family fan, but you would never have seen that BS there.


63 posted on 11/19/2006 9:43:39 PM PST by Rastus
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To: acapesket

Jack has been on that boat to China for a long time.


64 posted on 11/19/2006 9:43:54 PM PST by xp38
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To: sageb1

I did a survey on one about a month ago. The name of the half hour sitcom was, "Dads" & just going on the name, what would you expect to see in the show?


65 posted on 11/19/2006 9:44:41 PM PST by GoLightly
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To: claudiustg

I've never seen it put that eloquently!

CA....


66 posted on 11/19/2006 9:45:08 PM PST by Chances Are (Whew! It seems I've once again found that silly grin!)
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To: sageb1

It's about people from different parts of the world who have developed super powers and are slowly coming together to stop a nuclear holocaust. One of the heroes--the flying guy--is Natalie Maines's husband. But, don't let that stop you. :)

Warning: it's very violent and gory.


67 posted on 11/19/2006 9:45:19 PM PST by Rastus
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To: Snickering Hound

Yeah the shows have young people but we get equal time during comercials. Ensure, gotta go medicine, funeral and life insurance planning, skin care, eye surgeries, sexual dysfuntion medication, assisted living homes .... Commercial used to be entertaining. Now they are just depressing.


68 posted on 11/19/2006 9:45:35 PM PST by CindyDawg (Lord, please open eyes and touch hearts and provide us with Christian Leaders.)
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To: william clark

I wouldn't mind trying House or 24, but I'd have to get the DVDs first. I hate to come in in the middle.


69 posted on 11/19/2006 9:46:14 PM PST by Rastus
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To: Snickering Hound
Except for "South Park," I don't watch any current shows on TV.
I'm awaiting season three of "Miami Vice" on DVD.
70 posted on 11/19/2006 9:46:43 PM PST by ConservativeStatement
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To: william clark
Lost, Ghost Whisperer, Eureka, South Park, a few other, but not many. I used to watch ER, Medium, and a couple of sitcoms, but they kept throwing the homosexual sobstory line in them, so I quit watching.
71 posted on 11/19/2006 9:47:21 PM PST by gidget7 (Political Correctness is Marxism with a nose job)
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To: GSlob
"In '88 I had a TV for a few months, could not stand the crap and gave it away, and my wellbeing has improved mightily."

Hey dad! Good to see you! :)

jk jk

72 posted on 11/19/2006 9:48:00 PM PST by Killborn (Pres. Bush isn't Pres. Reagan. Then again, Pres. Regan isn't Pres. Washington. God bless them all.)
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To: BunnySlippers

We boomers are the ones with the money. It's our cohort that's buying the Lexuses. No point in advertising cars, cruises, and other expensive goodies to people who are too young to have the disposable income to buy them.


73 posted on 11/19/2006 9:48:14 PM PST by Fairview
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To: TheBigB

I've enjoyed Lost this season, though I know it's gotten a mixed reaction. Veronica Mars started out as VM Lite, but there have been some great episodes. The most recent one was really good. Don't know if you know, but it's finally been picked up for the rest of the season. They wanted an additional nine episodes, but only got seven more. I don't mind being two shy, but I hope it isn't a sign that a fourth season is off the table.


74 posted on 11/19/2006 9:48:45 PM PST by Rastus
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To: Snickering Hound
The quality of television programming has decreased enormously in the last decade. Most of the writers are in their 20s and the substance of the scripts that make it to air are nil. To think of the many pilots that were rejected always made me wonder just what TPTB were thinking when they picked their new lineups. The adult dramas with a cast of various ages are so fluffy or liberal (think Studio 60) that I refuse to watch. The sitcoms are ridiculous as well. Years ago, CBS was known as the old folks network: "Murder She Wrote," "Diagnoses Murder," "Touched By An Angel" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" - they all pulled in great ratings but were cancelled so the network could appeal to the younger kids. The best sitcoms ever, "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Newhart" and even "Cheers" had an older cast and were fabulous. And the ironic thing is that 50 plus adults have much more money than the younger folks do.
75 posted on 11/19/2006 9:48:49 PM PST by peggybac (Tolerance is the virtue of believing in nothing)
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To: sageb1

Wow sage, your age is showing! ;)


76 posted on 11/19/2006 9:49:30 PM PST by gidget7 (Political Correctness is Marxism with a nose job)
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To: GoLightly

I really couldn't guess. Not anymore.


77 posted on 11/19/2006 9:49:51 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: MassRepublicanFlyersFan

My favorite movie of all time is "The Long Hot Summer" with Don Johnson and Jason Robards.


78 posted on 11/19/2006 9:51:33 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: Rastus

I would sincerely doubt it gets to a 4th season, regardless. The ratings have never been stellar, and only a small-but-loyal fanbase has kept it afloat for a third season. Plus, it doesn't seem to have the same spark that it did when Veronica was at Neptune High. Same with Smallville...this is a relatively weak season, if you ask me. They never should have killed off Jonathan Kent.


79 posted on 11/19/2006 9:51:40 PM PST by TheBigB (Do you think "Lady in the Water" is in Ted Kennedy's NetFlix queue?)
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To: Spirochete
"Sponsors like the visciously racist Orbitz."

Really? I can't recall even seeing any Orbitz commercials, although I've used them for flights. How are they racist?

80 posted on 11/19/2006 9:54:06 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: TheBigB

I think they're setting up the fourth season with the FBI internship offer. The ratings are low, but the CW's ratings are in the basement anyway. I doubt if a new show will spark any more interest, and they at least have the cachet of a critical darling in Veronica.

I'm enjoying Smallville. Finally, an honest-to-God superhero on the show! Green Arrow is really making Clark look bad. He better get in the damn suit quick or else.

Jimmy sucks, though. And, if a certain someone (keeping it vague, in case someone is watching along on DVD) gets an abortion, I'm out of there.


81 posted on 11/19/2006 9:54:59 PM PST by Rastus
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To: qam1

Oh yeeha. Look who's here.


82 posted on 11/19/2006 9:55:40 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: Snickering Hound

Is TV rage about to become the new pandemic? Tune in next week to find out.

Forget finding something that reflects my life. Just put something on that: 1) has no pelvic thrusts, butt-only shots, crotch shots, mauling, gyrations, lip-smackin' sickening noise enhancement for the extended French kissing, etc, 2) has actors and actresses keeping their clothes on, and 3) has clothes that count as clothes, 4) doesn't have every fifth word bleeped out but still audible, 5) doesn't have little children made up to look and act like wannabe child porn stars, 6) has PLOTS (hey guys, remember those?), 7) builds character, 8) doesn't push the liberal agenda (cram down the viewer's throat might be more apt), 9) isn't full of gore (Al or otherwise), and 10) is actual entertainment.


83 posted on 11/19/2006 9:56:21 PM PST by GretchenM (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Please meet my friend, Jesus)
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To: Terpfen

Right ON! House is the ONE show I have to watch on TV - we're not blessed with cable (actually, no one could find the actual cable line to my house, so I use that as an excuse not to get it).


84 posted on 11/19/2006 9:57:02 PM PST by momfirst
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To: Killborn
Boomers remember a time when good family values and old fashioned patriotism was in vogue.

I'm pretty sensitive to assaults on those values--everyone I know thinks I'm nuts because there are almost no movies I will go see--but I think most of the shows I listed in post 22 are devoid of such assaults. There are little things that annoy me from time to time in most of them, but on balance, they are not incompatible with my value system.
85 posted on 11/19/2006 9:59:48 PM PST by Rastus
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To: Rastus
Mmmm, good point. Maybe the FBI internship will be a focus. I dunno.

Same thing happened to Smallville as happened to VH...it didn't stay as interesting when all the characters graduated HS (and also, to Buffy the Vampire Slayer). At least, IMO. I mean, aren't Chloe and Lana supposed to be attending Met U? When are they ever in class, or did I miss something? Chloe (Allison Mack is the most underrated babe on TV) is always at the Planet, and Lana is always with Lex.

Agree about GA. :) At least they're not bringing his comic-book leftism to the screen. And we got to see a glimpse of the Martian Manhunter last week! Whooo! I can't wait for the upcoming ep when Cyborg, Aquaman, and Flash all return.

86 posted on 11/19/2006 10:00:27 PM PST by TheBigB (Do you think "Lady in the Water" is in Ted Kennedy's NetFlix queue?)
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To: gidget7

It is and I even mentioned in a previous post that I was 55. ;)


87 posted on 11/19/2006 10:00:40 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: BunnySlippers

The mainstream networks have always lived up the characterization of them made by Newton Minow (FCC head) during the Kennedy years.....he called TV "a vast wasteland". The complete dominance of Cable, with all its programming for real people with real interests, just makes ABC, CBS and NBC look that much more hopeless and hidebound. There are maybe 5 good sitcoms on regular TV in the last 10-15 years, and NO good drama shows. News shows are just a joke , as we have known for a loooonnnng time now.


88 posted on 11/19/2006 10:02:56 PM PST by supremedoctrine ("Talent hits a target no one else can hit, genius hits a target no one else can see"--Schopenhauer)
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To: Snickering Hound
Americans born between 1946 and 1964?

Who keeps moving the bar forward? Sheesh, I'm not a baby boomer.

Oh man, now where did I put that Viagra pamplet..
Boomer my bedpan! I'm still in my 40's.

89 posted on 11/19/2006 10:08:02 PM PST by MaxMax (God Bless America)
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To: sageb1

Three inept fathers, three different stereotypes, falling all over themselves to spoil their demanding kids.


90 posted on 11/19/2006 10:08:36 PM PST by GoLightly
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To: sageb1

I went to IMDb.com and read about it. Got a 6.9/10 for a rating among viewers.


91 posted on 11/19/2006 10:09:02 PM PST by ConservativeStatement
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To: GoLightly

Ah! My Three Dads...instead of only two.


92 posted on 11/19/2006 10:10:50 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: Rastus
I'm not an All in the Family fan,

When the show was on, I identified very much w/Michael and Gloria.

Nowadays, I shock myself with how much I sound like Archie Bunker.

93 posted on 11/19/2006 10:12:41 PM PST by radiohead (Hey Kerry, I'm still here; still hating your lying, stinking, guts you coward.)
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To: MassRepublicanFlyersFan

Oh? I thought it was really good. But then again, I've always thought Don Johnson was severely under-rated as an actor. He can be very good. And the rest of the cast is excellent. Plus, the story is a classic.


94 posted on 11/19/2006 10:15:16 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: sageb1

Was there a show called My Two Dads? I seem to recall something like that. The three guys in the test show didn't live together. I saw the title & guessed what the show was gonna be like & I told the guy doing the survey as much.

"My Three Sons" was a good show!


95 posted on 11/19/2006 10:15:53 PM PST by GoLightly
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To: radiohead

lol!


96 posted on 11/19/2006 10:16:18 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: Snickering Hound

I'm a Generation Joneser (1955-1964), so I'm old enough to remember some of the vintage 60s shows. There was an innocence in those days and a shared culture. Unfortunately, audiences grew jaded & cynical.

Starting in the late 70s, I stopped watching a lot of TV, only snatches here and there or a "special" program. Over the past few years I intermittently enjoyed LAW & ORDER, in spite of its liberal slant, because of the intelligent plotting. FRASIER & EVERYONE LOVES RAYMOND were funny, but those involve an older cast and has some kind of wit.

The stuff nowadays? Forget it. I have zero interest in TV now, for most of the reasons already articulated by my fellow FReepers. Maybe I too have simply moved on, but I feel completely alienated from the present culture. It's either leftwing or infantile.

I wouldn't even mind raunch so much (there's plenty of here on the FReep), as long as there's a warmth or adult humor to it. The stuff on TV seems both sterile and hostile. I sense a contempt for its viewers. In turn, it leaves me stone cold.

Don't have a TV at home, and don't play to buy one. Ever.


97 posted on 11/19/2006 10:16:55 PM PST by MoochPooch (I'm a compassionate cynic.)
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To: Snickering Hound

I quit watching TV 8 years ago. Every time I see it now, its worse than before. Now all the reality shows seem to be taking over.

I watch DVD and VHS only.


98 posted on 11/19/2006 10:17:00 PM PST by packrat35 (guest worker/day worker=SlaveMart)
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To: GoLightly
Yep. Starred Paul Reiser and Greg Evigan.

99 posted on 11/19/2006 10:19:19 PM PST by TheBigB (Do you think "Lady in the Water" is in Ted Kennedy's NetFlix queue?)
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To: Snickering Hound

100 posted on 11/19/2006 10:20:34 PM PST by The KG9 Kid
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