Monday, April 21, 2003

Magazine Me XXIX

Reasons You Should Read TV Guide Even If You Don't Need To:

1. What I'm Watching This Week. Celebrities such as Leann Rimes and Shannen Doherty weigh in with their TV recommendations -- and why they watch them. On one level, who cares? But on another, the featurette gives a nice personal approach to TV viewing.

2. Cheers & Jeers. Like the Columbia Journalism Review's Darts and Laurels feature, this weekly commentary column takes on the best and worst of broadcast media. Items range from the snarkily shallow to the substantial.

3. The Robins Report. J. Max Robins' tracking of trends and developments in broadcast news lends the Guide a semblance of credibility and legitimacy in professional news journalism.

4. SportsGuide. The week's sporting events in a wide range of games -- at a glance.

5. Cable Conversion Chart. Hella easier to use than the little card that comes with your cable box -- or the online channel guide. Want to know what's where? Start here.

6. Close-Up. The Guide's more in-depth descriptions of and commentaries on programs -- while hardly at-length -- still provide useful insights on what might be particularly noteworthy on a given day.

7. TV Guide Crossword. 'Nuff said.

8. Easy multitasking. I've never really enjoyed watching TV while navigating the on-screen channel guide, program listings, or show descriptions. I'd much rather read while watching, and the Guide is something I can reach for when I need it -- and without reaching for the remote. If I wanted to watch TV Guide on TV, I wouldn't really want to watch TV, now, would I?

9. You don't have Tivo. 'Nuff said.

10. What it is. TV Guide interests me for several reasons. Beyond the actual listings and program grids, the Guide is equal parts users' guide to the television -- how we watch, why we watch -- and news source on the state of TV production and promotion. Oh, it's no Broadcast & Cable or Television Broadcast, but it's as close to a consumer-oriented sociological or anthropological look at TV viewing as we can get right now.

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