Thursday, March 08, 2007


Fire TV Land and Nick at Nite execs

By Edward Copeland
This is something I've been meaning to write for quite some time, but I always get distracted or the networks in question make little tweaks that calm my annoyance for awhile, but last night TV Land did it again and since I had nothing else lined up to post today, I figured this was a good as time as any to beg the powers that be at TV Land and, to a lesser extent Nick at Nite, to get their shit together and stop ruining the lives of night owls with crappy and/or inappropriate programming.

I thought that perhaps the networks had overcome their inexplicable Three's Company obsession when the show finally vanished for awhile. (There were times when this '70s relic of mediocrity would actually be airing simultaneously on both TV Land and Nick at Nite. That cuts down on a viewer's choices.)

Admittedly, I keep weird hours, mainly due to medical problems, so I often wake for awhile in the middle of the night and like to watch comfort food in the form of TV shows to soothe me back to sleep. TV Land used to be great for that when it would air good shows such as Cheers and All in the Family and watchable shows such as Wings.

Suddenly though, the worm turned and everything started to get shuffled. They started shoving really bad original programming down our throats (the only exception being Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg which is worth watching.) Benson, not great but acceptable, came and went from the lineup with amazing speed. Lately, they'd settled into a mostly watchable schedule of M*A*S*H, The Jeffersons, Sanford & Son and Star Trek with only the odd inclusion of The Andy Griffith Show to screw things up. Don't get me wrong — I like Andy Griffith, but it's not a show I particularly want to see in the middle of the night.

Last night though, they upended their scheduled in a particularly annoying way. Suddenly, and according to TV listings, for the foreseeable future, Little House on the Prairie has been shoehorned in to the late-night hours. I know there are those out there who probably like Little House (though I doubt seriously any of them are up at 2 or 3 a.m. to watch it), but I think Mad Magazine said it best when they spoofed this show in the 1970s under the title "Little House Oh So Dreary." I remember the "Real Families" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati (there's a show that deserves to be on TV late at night) where Lucille Tarlek (Edie McClurg) described the show as being about blind children on the prairie whose homes burn down every week.

Things aren't much better over at Nick at Nite, where the only show I can stomach is Roseanne, provided it's not in one of its later awful seasons. Each addition to their lineup makes things worse. Woo hoo! Growing Pains! Let's all barf now. Last year, they actually added a good show to Nick at Nite in the form of NewsRadio but after a couple of weeks of late night marathons, the show only would appear sporadically and usually after 4 or 5 in the morning, depending on your time zone.

Why do they do this to late-night audiences? Is there really a sizable demographic who long to see Full House reruns at 3 in the morning? Since much Google searching has failed to come up with names and addresses for the guilty parties, I guess we have to go to the top — its corporate owners at Viacom, so I've found two e-mail addresses I'd love you to flood with complaints one for media relations and the other for investor relations. TV Land only offers a snail mail address at 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036 and a phone number at (212) 846-2550. The same address and phone number is given for Nick at Nite. You can send e-mail on their site by clicking here but it limits you to one topic and one show in the header instead of general complaints.

It probably won't do any good, but someone has to break through to these people. Whoever is this obsessed with Three's Company needs an intervention and psychological help.


how funny...your post is hillarious and your complain is reasonable.

i wonder if the shove shows like prairie in so people can tivo them and watch them as part of their boring lives.
First of all, if you're up in the middle of the night and want to go back to sleep, take it from this insomniac: nothing will bore you to tears more than Cinemax.

I passed 1515 Broadway earlier, and I thought about going up there and politely asking, pimpstick in hand, if they would please program more Edward Copeland-friendly TV in the middle of the night. Of course, I would probably have used this intervention to program some of the stuff I'd want to watch, and you'd be in even deeper trouble. Plus, I'd burn every copy of WKRP in Cincinnati. It's not that it's a bad show really. But it reminds me I used to live in Cincinnati...and must be destroyed.

I thought you exaggerating, but I went out to TV Land's schedule and saw that tonight's late night lineup is an hour of Three's Company (funny in small doses). an hour of MASH (which I hate), then an hour of Andy Griffith (Aunt Bea--what a hot piece of ass! Just seeing if you were paying attention...), then Li'l House on the Prairie, then MORE Three's Company, then Good Times. That's way too much 3's Company, plus the weird stuff inbetween does not flow.

I think if you complained, the folks at Nick at Nite/TV Land would try to sell you some DVD collections so that you can program your own late night schedule.

Since you love Little House so much, you should read that parody I wrote called "Snakes on a Plains." I'll E-mail it to you.
It seems to me like it's all a matter of taste. I love 3's Company and think it's a classic and I don't like Sanford and Son or the TV show MASH (you'll remember Rob Altman similarly hated MASH)
Actually, Altman said both that he didn't like M*A*S*H and admitted he never watched the TV version because he knew he wouldn't like it. Regardless of tastes and sitcoms, I don't think anyone wants to see Little House on the Prairie in the middle of the night.
Nick at Nite went downhill for me when they pulled Route 66, a show I was finally old enough to appreciate.
I used to watch Little House religiously when I was 10 years old, but since then I haven't been able to stomach it. The funniest thing is how it's so often cited as family-values-oriented programming, when, in my own personal experience, no other show has been the cause of more childhood nightmares. The episode where Mary's baby is incinerated alive when Albert accidentally burns down the blind school upset me for weeks, but the one where Albert's sweetheart is raped and eventually murdered by the blacksmith, whom she can't indentify because he attacks her while wearing clown make-up, was also fairly traumatic. Compared to those two, I think I took the one where Laura is kiddnapped by a crazed woman whose daughter drowned, then locks Laura in the basement in a psychotic attempt to re-create her dead daughter, in good stride.

And people who've watched the show know that I didn't make any of that shit up.

You gotta love how the dvd box sets are such a big seller with evangelicals - to be fair, when babies weren't being burned or girls being raped by circus clowns, they did talk about God a lot.
And now you know why they were talking about God a lot! As in, God is smitin' us again!

I had forgotten just how soapy Little House on the Prairie was! It was like All My Children crossed with de Lawd! And it was on at 8 o'clock, family hour! We weren't allowed to watch titty-rific Charlie's Angels (which was on at 9), but it was A-OK to watch John Wayne Gacy on the Prairie! And you wonder why I'm all messed up in the head?
I agree with Peter. In fact, I'm the one who keeps lobbying for them to bring back The Patty Duke Show.
I forgot in my original post to complain about another TV Land practice, which they thankfully seemed to have abandoned. For awhile, they would show cut-up theatrical releases on Friday night such as Pee-Wee's Big Adventures, No Way Out, etc. Nothing against the films themselves, but why is a network about TV showing cut-up movies? It'd be one thing if they were showing old made-for-TV movies (That would be interesting), but that seemed particularly weird.
I used to watch Little House religiously when I was 10 years old, but since then I haven't been able to stomach it. The funniest thing is how it's so often cited as family-values-oriented programming,
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