Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The TV Guide of Yesterday...Today!

The library I work at got a sample issue of the new, full-sized TV Guide shrinkwrapped to our copy of Advertising Age. The flier that came with it boasts, “New Size. New attitude. New magazine.”

I realize this is Old Fart talk, but…does TV Guide really need an “attitude”? I mean, c'mon, it’s just listings of the TV schedule (which frankly I now pull off the Internet when I need them) and a crossword puzzle that is to its ilk what Murder She Wrote was to the whodunit. And how will this presumably totally phat attitude manifest itself? ‘Yo, dawg, tonight’s special episode of Hope & Grace totally represents! Da-ammmmn!’

According to their flier, they did a lot of market research, and found that people wanted “the inside scoop and behind-the-scenes stories about the shows, characters and television moments that become watercooler buzz the next day.”* ‘Watercooler buzz’? Apparently their ‘new attitude’ is from the ‘80s. Perhaps they’ll also reveal which shows are so bad that they gag one with a spoon. Or maybe they could righteously declare how this isn’t “Your father’s TV Guide!”

[*The sentence following the one quoted above is “Not surprisingly, [readers] want a larger canvas that is visually more robust and compelling.” Wow! If the new format is as robust and compelling as that copy, mission accomplished!]

Perhaps the most hilarious assertion, however, is that the new TV Guide is “A lighter, faster read.” Thank goodness! Apparently those forty page Stanley Fish articles deconstructing the semantics of Yes, Dear! will be a thing of the past.

Let me clue these guys in. With daily newspapers increasingly printing what is already old news by the time they hit the street, the idea of a print weekly having it’s pulse on ‘what’s now’ is…problematic. They mention that they will have a 48 hour close. Well, that would have been amazingly impressive even ten years ago. Now, however, it’s literally what snail mail is to e-mail.

Good luck with that.


At 10:41 AM, Blogger Zack Handlen said...

I realize this is Old Fart talk, but…does TV Guide really need an “attitude.”

Damn straight. I'd prefer to read my TV listings with as little "edge" as possible, thank you. What does that even mean? Can a schedule have any emotional presentation? Are we going to come to a day when they trumpet "The New TV Guide- now with more Indistinct Longing!"?

At 1:49 PM, Blogger sideorderofninjas said...

TV Guide's "new attitude" is more concerned with removing as much of the television listings from the magazine as possible.

At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Chris M said...

I'm waiting for the "attitude" phase to go away, maybe with the next generation. At some point, doesn't western civilization have to mellow a bit? Maybe in twenty years MAXIM will be touting "less in-your-face than ever before" and "now with 20% less swearing"?

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing I've noticed about life is that things can always get worse, and usually do.

At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Jack said...

TV Guide? Guide? Guide where? In the old days it used to lead you to programs like a good guide should.

My household research has come to an objective conclusion: The new TV Guide doesn't guide. It sucks.

Action Jackson

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous thepantedpuffin said...

Pfft, you old fogeys need to get with the times, dudes! Maybe it's good enough for you to know that Jeopardy is on from 7 to 7:30, but I for one want to read about how the totally hot reality show where the questions are the answer is gonna rule the airwaves for an EXTREME half-hour from a super-cool 7 to a radical 7:30!

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous thepantedpuffin said...

Actually it's just ridiculous how those magazines pretend to have the "scoops" and all have at least one "insider" on staff, as if they were getting their information from some deep-planted mole in every TV exec's entourage rather than via communiqués and press releases that get sent their ways by the networks and studios.


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