Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Civic duty

Sorry if I haven't been around to your blogs as much lately. But last week, I was called to that most noble of American duties. And it has been taking up much of my time. I know, I know, some people shy away or try and make up excuses why they can't do it. But not this American. I have answered the call.

Yes, friends. I, Bone, have been selected to keep a Nielsen TV Viewing Diary. And I take this opportunity, yea, responsibility, very seriously. For the past five days, I have been meticulously keeping a record of everything I watch on television. It feels good to be doing something that matters.

After all, how else will they know to keep airing Seinfeld reruns in syndication. That no one watches the CW, still. And that ABC's disastrous ratings are due, in large part, to such shows as Men In Trees, Six Degrees, and What About Brian. What, you've never heard of any of those shows? Exactly.

When you begin your Nielsen TV Diary, you are asked to answer a few generic questions about your household. Things like, how many TV sets are in your home? Is this TV connected to a satellite dish? Would you be interested in a reality show that was called, say for example, Dick Cheney's Prison Camp? I answered yes, although I don't really see how that is relevant.

Once you begin your diary, you learn there is more to it than simply logging the shows you watch. There are columns for "TV set off," "TV on but no one watching/listening," and "TV on but currently surfing porn." Again, I'm not quite sure what they're able to extract from this data. But ours is not to question why.

Let's dig a little deeper now. Beyond the ratings. A quick analysis of my Nielsen TV Viewing Diary reveals some interesting things about me, as a TV viewer, and as a person.

My logging week began this past Thursday at 5 AM. So basically thru five days, I've watched approximately twenty-six hours of television. That's more than five hours per day! As you might imagine, I was shocked to learn I watched this much TV.

Although if you subtract Saturday, when I watched about seven and a half hours of football (and about ten minutes of Cruel Intentions on FX), the average comes down a bit.

Breaking it down further, my twenty-six hours of television has included the following:
- 12 hours of sports or sports-related programming. (Unless you count Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team as sports programming. Then it's 13. And if you count High Stakes Poker as sports, then it's 14.25.)
- 7.5 hours of ESPN or ESPN2 (Included in the above sports total.)
- 4 hours combined between A&E and the History Channel (Cold Case Files, American Justice, Columbine Massacre, and the Manhattan Project.)
- 2.5 hours of General Hospital (Not counting anytime I may or may not have watched at work.)
- 2.5 hours of Seinfeld (Not surprisingly.)

My diary ends Wednesday night. Then it's back to civilian life. But I'm thinking of keeping one for fun after that. It's kinda like Quicken for time management. Find out where all your free time goes.

"Come and knock on our door. We've been waiting for you. Where the kisses are hers and hers and his..."


  1. I've seen one of those Nielsen diary thingees and allow me to say: Way to go!

    Those things are like Florida voting ballots, complicated to the extreme.
    I admire your diligence.
    Between the time consuming forms and my fear of discovering exactly how much TV I watch . . .Yikes! Nu uh.

    I do have a question though . . ummm . . Why did your diary begin at 5 AM???

  2. I love to watch the new CW on Sunday. They show really great bad movies.

  3. And here I thought you got picked for jury duty! But no! This is far nobler!

  4. Oh, and we watch Smallville on the CW. But other than that, it's a lot of NBC.

  5. Well aren't you impressive! I think all of that is pretty intersting. I don't think I watch much tv but I'm sure I'd be very surprised to find out I do. I know while I was working on my papers today I had the tv on with no volume. While not as exciting as surfing porn while watching tv, it was somehow helpful to me to have the tv on. One show I do NOT ever miss...Nip/Tuck. It's on in a couple of hours. I hope I can hang in there!

  6. Way to go Bone! The Nielson folks used to want to know what I was watching, but either they had enough of my demographic, I moved too often for them to keep track of me, or I watch really boring stuff 'cuz it's been a few years since I heard from them.

    I could make your Christmas Wish come true... but it would probably look like water when you got it.

  7. Scared: It actually was more complicated than one might think. Hopefully, my Seinfelds don't get thrown out due to a "hanging chad" or putting an X in more than one box on the same line. Geez.

    Hotpinksox: I love bad movies.

    Lass: Oh, right. I forgot about Smallville. It's been on for awhile. Must be pretty decent. Plus, any show with John Schneider can't be bad. Is he still on there?

    Carnealian: Oh, so you watch Nip/Tuck? You probably saw A.C. Slater's rear nudity scene then?

    Renee: That's OK. My new motto is: "I'm dreaming of a White Festivus."

  8. You left out how many hours were spent with the "TV on but currently surfing porn." :)

  9. Umm... wow. That's a lot of TV. I don't think I watch that much at all... but it would be interesting to log it for a week just to see how (in)correct I am.

  10. Dang! That is alot of tv! I dont get in but about 4 hours.... a week and that is with recording and fast forwarding thru all the commercials.

  11. LMAO

    And here you had me hooked on jury duty for the first paragraph! You are too funny sometimes!

  12. Big Man: It was negligible :)

    Blondie: I didn't think I watched that much either. I seriously think if it wasn't football season, my hours would be way down :)

    Kerry: Yes, it is. It disturbed me. So much so, that today, I watched less than three hours :)

    Traveling Chica: Thanks. That was my plan :)

  13. I know exactly what I watch and how much, 'cause I only watch the shows I record :-) Otherwise, I'm just watching music videos, because frankly, music is my life :-)
    And those 3 shows you listed, never heard of em, but that shouldn't surprise you too much, seeing as I don't watch commercials ;-)
    So how did you get picked for this thing?

  14. So how does one become involved in this Nielsen TV diary thing? It sounds right up my alley. One thing though...What About Brian is one of my favorite shows. If it gets cancelled I may hold you partially responsible.

  15. I'm afraid to sit down and calculate how much tv I watch if you think 26 hours a week is a lot because I'm pretty sure I watch more than that.

    Actually, now that I only have one tv and one vcr, I watch probably less tv than I did before but it's still a lot.

    And I'm online a lot too. No wonder my weekend's don't add up to much. :-)

    I used to watch the CW a lot more back when it was the WB and had shows on it like Buffy and Angel. I've never watched any of those angsty teen dramas though (like Dawson's Creek or One Tree Hill).

    I'm pretty much all over the map of network and cable television though for tv watching.

  16. I was watching cruel intentions this weekend, too! i have never seen that stupid movie all the way through.

    i'd be embarrassed at the amount of tv that i watch, so it's best that I not record it. ;)

  17. Somehow, I kinda figured it was. ;)

  18. No way! I'm so jealous!!!! You watch alot more intelligent TV than I do with the History Channel and what not.

    Sorry I've been AWOL. Our server crashed and we temporarily lost EVERYTHING. Email, blogs etc. My husband has been hacking away at this computer for the last several weeks and we're mostly back online now. My blog is back but it will probably be a few more days before I post something. I'm not sure I even remember my password to my blog page. LOL.

  19. Arlene: Um, I'm not sure. Probably has something to do with my Deal Or No Deal post a few weeks back.

    Or, nothing at all to do with that.

    Krista: Great, the show has 12 viewers and one of them happens to read my blog ;-)

    Admit it, you only started watching it because it comes on right after The Bachelor: Rome. And nevermind how I know that.

    Xinh: I used to catch Reba on the WB sometimes, if I was home on a Friday night. Although I probably shouldn't admit that here.

    Carmen: I think I actually saw that one in the theater. Which is rare for me.

    TravelingChica: Shaved your legs today? :)

    Chickadee: Good to have you back! I was wondering what happened.

  20. As a matter of fact... :)

    (well, the day you wrote that, but not today: they're still smooth)

  21. larsonbuckeyefans11/16/2006 10:49:00 AM

    I have done this many times and it's nice to see that I am not the only one who takes it seriously.I approach it as though it's the SAT's.After all,my vote counts and television is a serious matter.And how bout those Buckeyes? Will you be watching saturday? O-H-I-O .....

  22. Actually, John Schneider's character just got killed off.

  23. Traveling Chica: Good to know. Good to know. Uh, stay smooth :-)

    Buckeyefans: Wow, many times? I wonder if you turn one in if they're more likely to choose you again?

    I won't be watching, as I'll be at the Alabama game. But, I will be rooting for your Buckeyes :)

    Lass: Well, that stinks. Guess I'll just have to keep watching him on The Dukes Of Hazzard on CMT.

  24. larsonbuckeyefans11/18/2006 09:05:00 AM

    I've kept the diary about 8 times and they just called me a few days ago.Yes,I believe filling it out thoroughly will get you on their preferred list,if you will.They have other programs as well,such as "Scantrack".They send you a scanner for that one and you scan your purchases,send it over the phone,answer surveys and pick prizes from a catalog.Thanks for the root,have fun Saturday,be safe and think of me when you see our score...Go Bucks and Roll Tide...O-H.......

  25. Buckeyefans: Congrats on the win! Sounds like it was quite a game. Looks like Troy wrapped up the Heisman.

  26. larsonbuckeyefans11/21/2006 05:36:00 PM

    Thanks for the support,it was the best game ever.We're looking forward to bringing home the Heisman again.I can't wait till I drive by the stadium and see Troy's flag hanging beside Archie's and Eddie's.Wow,what a thrill.