These Are the Kinds of TV Shows People Watch?!

Earlier today I decided to see what was on TV so I could just zone out for a while. Sort of the calm before the storm of classes starting on Monday.

As I scrolled through my YouTube TV channel line-up, here are some of the 4:00 pm options I came across:

  • 60 Days In – In the series, volunteers are incarcerated as undercover prisoners for 60 days.
  • Accident, Suicide, or Murder – Explores the unbelievable true stories of suspicious deaths.
  • Very Scary People – Revisis the twisted lives of some of the most frightening, diabolical characters in recent history. The stories trace the heinous, criminal acts of these elusive miscreants and the eventual road to justice.
  • Border SecurityAmerica’s Front Line follows the work of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agents as they clear travelers at land, air, and marine ports of entry, inspect cargo, and secure America’s borders. In search of illegal travelers, weapons, and contraband, there’s never a dull moment for the men and women who work for CBP. It also seems like there are Canadian and Australian versions of this show.
  • American Greed: Scams, Scoundrels, And SuckersThe business-reality program focuses on the stories behind high-profile corporate and white-collar crimes, betrayals, and scams in American history,
  • Most Terrifying Places in AmericaEach episode featured the legends and stories of several reportedly haunted locations throughout America.
  • Naked and Afraid XLThis series is a spin-off of Naked and Afraid. A group of people are given the task of surviving in the wilderness for an extended period. Each survivalist is only allowed to bring one or two helpful items of his or her choosing. They are not given any other items, clothing, food, or water.
  • The Incredible Dr. Polan American reality television show on Nat Geo Wild that follows Dutch-born veterinarian Jan Pol and his family and employees at his practice in rural Weidman, Michigan.
  • Drugs, Inc.: The Fix – Enhanced episodes of “DrugsInc.” provide a comprehensive look at society’s most abused drugs: cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana.

I’m not sure what this list of TV shows might be saying about the state of TV watching in America, but to me, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of what seems to entertain some people.

Now, this is not meant to be judgmental; I am sure there are some people reading this post who watch some of these shows.  I’m as guilty as the next guy since I opted to watch 60 Days In, and immediately became hooked. For whatever reason, I’ve always been fascinated by prison shows, since it is an environment that is so different from what I am used to (Oz was my all-time favorite). Unless there’s some demand among the prisoners for a juggling accounting teacher who can bench press about 60 pounds, then I know I would only last about 30 seconds before I either have a panic attack or start crying. If I had to go to prison, I think I would prefer solitary confinement, but I hope to never find out. You can be sure I would never volunteer for being a participant on 60 Days In.

There were also lots of other TV options available, perhaps a bit more mainstream. For example, there were several sports options, a wide range of movies, cartoon shows for kids, and a few comedy shows. There were also a few cooking shows, but I have zero interest in those shows.

I’m sure the various broadcast and cable channel executives know what kinds of shows appeal to people, and are simply, and sometimes sadly, meeting that demand.

Let me close with a song that was running through my mind while writing this post: 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On) by Bruce Springsteen:

78 thoughts on “These Are the Kinds of TV Shows People Watch?!

    1. good point; I should have mentioned that there have been some wonderful shows on TV, thanks to the streaming services. Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bosch, and Ted Lasso come to mind.

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  1. I couldn’t agree more with that Springsteen song. We pay a few hundred dollars a month for cable, yet there’s only a few channels I bother to watch. I’d like to cut the cord, but my wife won’t let me. She loves to channel surf.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve always been a sports junkie, and I envisioned that I would watch a lot of sports when I retired. Oddly, I’ve never watched less television or sports. I’ve gotten interested in many different things, and now I’ve got the time to explore all of the things I never had time for before.

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  3. I think a lot of people are getting their entertainment from streaming and alternative sources like YouTube. Nobody really watches TV anymore

    If you check out the ratings by year here you can see just how dramatically things have change
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top-rated_United_States_television_programs_of_1950%E2%80%9351

    I actually think this might be a positive thing. Television as a medium is a very passive form of entertainment, which puts the viewer solely in the role of consumer. The internet is much more interactive, and offers much more choice. It’s not the best thing for the brain, but I think it’s healthier than TV.

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    1. thanks for that link; interesting how things have changed. Seems like variety shows used to be quite popular, and now we have more scripted type shows. And I agree the internet is more fun to surf than tv channels…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I just have plain vanilla You Tube and find enough to watch. There are a couple of channels with great old movies from the thirties and forties fallen out of copyright, a documentary film maker I follow who put all his shorts up for free, cooking and food shows, shows and best of all since I am fixing up an old house, some great channels by contractors willing to do DIY construction how to. Since you can’t get a handyman or contractor for love or money where I live it’s a double blessing. Best of all, you get real feedback and interaction and support the little guy, which is just as you say the internet is more interactive

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      1. I agree – there is a wealth of good stuff on YouTube. I should probably watch more of those how-to videos, rather than just always hiring someone else to do the work…

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  4. I don’t watch crime stuff.

    Dr Pol is really good!! Old episodes used to be on broadcast tv on weekend mornings. He treats every kind of pet and farm animal and has a dry sense of humor. And he’s super active despite being pretty old.

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      1. Only watch Dr Pol if you like vet reality shows. I watch Vet Dream Team and a couple others if they happen to be on… but I don’t seek them out. I liked that Dr Pol included his family and home life rather than just the office.

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  5. I avoid all reality TV.
    After the 6pm news, my husband (a former Met policeman) watches programmes about old UK crimes before I come to watch around 8 or 9pm. He always tells me if a former colleague comes up on a programme (one has fronted an entire series). I’m afraid he doesn’t like the US crime programmes though. He changes channel when they come on.

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    1. I’m guessing your husband likes to try and solve the crime shows and offer his opinion on the skills of the policemen. I wonder what the difference is between a UK crime show and an U.S. one…

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      1. The fictional ones always like to show the worst. Here, as far as national agencies go, MI6 is still retentive. Police co-operation wasn’t great between counties until Holmes (computerised records) but now there’s total co-operation.

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  6. I seem to always settle on a good documentary when I am hard pressed to find something to watch. I may not be completely captivated by the program, but at least I will learn something. I have visited a few prisons, but never want to be a resident. Not sure how much I can bench press, I just know I am way too pretty to go unnoticed….😁

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  7. perfect song choice for this post. I do watch the ‘greed’ show and I’m still shocked by the lengths people will go to just for money. I also think the show about the vet and his family might be interesting, especially seeing they live in my home state.. the reason they have gone to more reality shows is that they are so much cheaper to create, the ‘talent’ already exists, don’t have to pay a boatload to stars, a minimal staff needed, most don’t need a complex ‘set,’ a studio, a live audience, etc. – network found this out when they created the first reality shows (recent), like “the real world.” from an advertiser’s pov, they loved them because they got huge ratings, and the loyal rabid viewers loved them as an escape from their everyday lives, either feeling better about themselves, or losing themselves in the show. that being said, my fav shows are not these, I preferred ‘schitt’s creek,’ ‘arrested development.’ and ‘the office’ any day.

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    1. the song was a good fit; funny that it came out nearly 30 years ago, and in that time, the problem has just gotten worse.

      the greed show did sound kind of interesting, and hopefully there’s lesson there that eventually you pay the price for such greed.

      and you list some of my favorite shows as well; I’d throw in Curb Your Enthusiasm and King of Queens as well…

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  8. It’s the same here: a diet of unmitigated drivel. I’ve not heard of any of those, but we have loads of rubbish like them. We do have a UK Naked And Afraid, but ours isn’t XL: I’m assuming that’s the version for fat people?

    And I was wondering how long you’d resist the temptation to include that song by The Boss 😉

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  9. Jim, you out did yourself with all of this impeccable research. I can always handle listening to The Boss. My wife and I have become addicted to “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Gunsmoke” (especially with the original cast).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What was the Field of Dreams saying: “build it and they will come”? TV execs may think “put it on the tube and they will watch.” Cheap production costs on most of those shows you mentioned.

    Too bad the NYC concert got rained out last night. The Boss was one of the headliners.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t watch any of these. I know Naked and Afraid is a popular one. I think I tried a couple of minutes once and just switched it off. The undercover prisoner seems intriguing, though definitely dumb. Like you, I think I’d enjoy solitary confinement.

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  12. Since Bruce did that song it’s gone to more like 357 channels and nothing on. The silver lining of the pandemic might be what I see happening on You Tube. When people put up old shows, many long forgotten, like The Defenders or Man with a Camera (starring Charles Bronson) , the comment sections are filled with people looking for quality and discovering or rediscovering these offerings with surprise and delight. The old fictional show were more real than any new reality TV IMHO.

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  13. My kids watch a variety of shows, but as a family, together we watch one show at a time… and that’s the only show my wife and I watch. Right now it’s Bob’s Burgers. An irreverent show about a close but snarky family. I highly recommend it, but caution you, the language is pretty bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve literally never heard of those shows before and I doubt I’ll be watching them any time soon except Very Scary People- that one sounds interesting not going to lie lol. Loved the song by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank goodness for The Donna Reed Show, The Brady Bunch, Leave it to Beaver, and many more family TV shows back in the day. When our kids came along, there was Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. There is great stuff on Discovery and National Geographic and PBS. Regular TV has me worried for kids.

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