Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nielsen schmilsen

I'm definitely not Nielsen material, unless they need sporadic and unpredictable TV viewers to level out their viewership curve. No, I'm just not your average TV Guy.

Nielsen actually sent me information a few years back and asked me to log what I was watching on the tube for an entire week. They must have been horrified at the results, which showed I had only seen three programs, including a rerun of "The Andy Griffith Show.'' (It must have been a rare week, since I usually watch at least two "Andys'').

I never heard back from them.

With the exception of ESPN, I don't know the channels on my set. (I only know ESPN because it was drilled into me at the newspaper. I'd be holding the remote and the guys in the room would shout "Turn it to 27! Turn it to 27!'') I thought a downtown bar must have been burning to the ground; they just wanted the baseball scores.

Come to think of it, I can also find WEDU on my local cable lineup. It's great when Public TV stations secure low numbers so you don't have to click too long to find them (in my case, No. 3.)

Pretty much everything else is a crap shoot. After I nearly missed an inning trying to check on the Rays-Twins game the other night, I decided to start consulting my old paper's TV Plus. (The guide's getting mighty thin, I have to tell you, but it's still far superior to the competition's rag).

While scouting for shaded (not necessarily shady) movies I spotted "North to Alaska'' on something called "PLEX.'' What the hell, I thought, you can always do worse than a shot of the Duke. It's worth popping corn just to hear Johnny Horton sing the theme song.

I turned to the handy Channel Lineup on Page 2 and found PLEX, which apparently is short for Movieplex. Aha, Channel 62! I flipped to the channel, only to read an on-screen announcement stating that my cable company is no longer carrying Movieplex. (However, they are kind enough to offer two other channels for an additional $3.95 a month.)

I turned to old reliable, Ch. 27, hoping to catch highlights of the Brewers-Pirates.

And now, to guarantee that you get some true SSS value today, here are last week's Top 5 prime time shows, according to the Nielsen rankings:

1. "American Idol" (Tuesday), Fox, 23.96 million viewers
2. "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 23.95 million viewers
3. "Dancing With The Stars," ABC, 20.53 million viewers
4. "Dancing With The Stars Results," ABC, 14.73 million viewers
5. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 14.64 million viewers

Sadly, "The Jackie Gleason Show'' was nowhere to be found on the list -- even though I remember watching it.

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