Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I Control Your TV

In its infinite wisdom, the Nielsen company has given me the power to decide what YOU watch on TV. I was hand selected from a pool of millions of TV viewers no doubt based on my discerning eye and robust intellect. They contacted me two weeks ago and the packet that I am to use for talent evaluation arrived in the mail yesterday.

Now I don’t know what went in to my nomination for this prestigious honor. I have long been known to dispense unsolicited, poorly informed advice. Perhaps word got back to them securing my election?

In any case, starting tomorrow May 8th, I’ll be recording every single show I watch on TV in a little paper journal. I’ll be doing this for a week. After which, the journal will be returned to Nielsen. Lives will be changed. Shows will be canceled. Others will be rewarded with bigger ad budgets. Advertising rates will be impacted. In short, my little scribbled notes will directly effect what you watch on TV. I have the power. I intend to use it.

Now, far be it for me to use this power for my own selfish benefit. I am nothing if not incredibly, incredibly humble. And good looking. However, if you really want to see YOUR favorite show score big in the ratings, I can make it happen. As a reminder, nothing in life is free. And I could really use a new bike…

So, what do I record in my journal? Of course, I’m not going to record what I actually watch. That would be embarrassing and contribute to the general dumbing down of American TV. Who needs more shows about mud wrestling midget love triangles? (Jerr-ee! Jerr-ee! Jerr-ee!)

Instead, I’ll need to shape these responses to match what I want TV to actually BE. I know, I know, this is directly contradictory to the rules included with the packet. But, hey, you got to give me more than $5 if you want rule compliance.* That’s how I roll.**

Being this is a running blog, I should note that I’m amazed there is no weekly TV show devoted to tracking the top runners and following them through their daily lives, rigorous training, nutrition, and competition. There are several hundred channels devoted to all sorts of garbage. Innumerable sports channels with weekly shows devoted to distinct types of fishing. You’re telling me there’s no room for a show following a group of hard training runners like Brooks Hansons or Team USA Minnesota chasing Olympic dreams?? I would love to see (and record in my little journal) a weekly show following the lives of elite runners – maybe interspersed periodically with tales of the Average Joe runner – as they prepare for world class events.

Maybe there is. In which case, I’m just amazingly ill informed. Inform me.

I am The Decider this week. (It’s cool, if you are in charge, to call yourself “the decider” right? Nothing arrogant about it? Just checking.)

My non-Nielsen tagged coworkers (I call them Nonniellies) claim I’m one of hundreds of people tapped for this task and that I shouldn’t be so self righteous about it. Or spit in the coffee. Nonsense! When Einstein invented the light bulb, did GE ask others to check his work? When Ghandi went on a hunger strike, did the British government go over his diet plan? Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Nein, sie tat es nicht.

I’m not going to tell you what I report back to Nielsen. Let’s just say that if you suddenly find yourself watching lots of The Family Guy and other sophomoric - possibly even freshmanic - entertainment as well as Detroit sports teams, well, you had your chance. You Nonniellies have to pay to play.

Happy trails.

* They gave me 5 wallet fattening SINGLES. Not even a singular fiver! The disrespect! Like I’m going to walk around with 5 bills in my back pocket and then sit all lopsided at my desk just to accommodate them.

** If I were circular. I’m not.

Two wonderful three-mile-shake-the-rust-off runs in the last few days. I can’t wait to turn up the mileage this weekend! This having no schedule thing is really liberating. I feel as free as a bird…that runs instead of flies and has a general feeling of liberation.


Sarah said...

I am amazed that the powers that be haven't figured out a way to do the TV rating electronically. I mean, TiVo knows that the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction was the most-TiVoed moment in its history; why can't Nielsen figure out a way to do something similar? Or at least have you enter your viewing habits into some kind of Web interface? What's with this PAPER AND PENCIL crap?

By the way, please watch The Office. Thank you.

P.S. And Dirty Jobs, since I wanna be Mike Rowe's love slave.

Xenia said...

So you're one of the people Nielsen picks. How terrifying.

Whatever you do, slag off American Idol. That show just needs to go.

Viper said...

Don't let them watch you! First they're in your TV and then they're in your bathroom affecting (that's the one with an "A," pal, minus 10 points) your "bowl" movements.

What would watching no TV do their ratings?

Marcy said...

I'm so with Xenia on the AI thing. That and Survivor can get the hell on outta here already.

The Madison Square Garden channel has a show on running. Called . . RUNNING LMAO. It's the most b-o-r-i-n-g half hour ever. Usually only aired on EARLY Sat (My kids get up early. BAH!)

As for the Screech comment, I won't even comment on that :P

Kevin said...

Wow. They chose you. no wonder there is nothing but crap on TV. How can you enjoy TV if you have to take lots of notes? They need to make this more interactive like a web site or a set top box

Marcy said...

Oops sorry, I meant the YES channel. Either way I'm sure it's not a channel you homies in Mich get ;-)

tange said...

Does that include the home movies and the rented movies that you watch?

I can see it now, in September NBC will air every week little Samantha's (or whatever your daughter's name is assuming that you have a daughter)piano recital. And CBS will air little Conner's (or whatever your son's name is assuming that you have a son)Tee ball game when he played against the Holt Yankees.

Then ABC will put up a blank screen on Saturdays and have the message scrolling "Nitmos thinks that all shows on Saturday nights suck, so go rent a movie or better yet stop making yourself dumber and read a book, perhaps Don Quixote.

nwgdc said...

"when einstein invented the lightbulb..."

HILARIOUS! I needed that!

My only request: Watch every new episode and rerun of "The Office."

MizFit said...


Im gonna out myself and ask for a LOT of BRAVO and MIAMI INK from TLC.

that's it

carry on.

Vanilla said...


I'm going to be seriously pissed if all I get to watch is the Lions and the Tigers (oh my).

RazZDoodle said...

Detroit has sports teams?
Tigers - on their way to getting swept by The Mighty Sox (that's right, I capitalized it)
Lions - Williams! Kitna! 2008 Lions fever! Catch it!
Pistons - The NBA is still on?
Wings - Aren't the playoffs on The Lifetime Network nowadays? Too bad Lifetime won't work in your Nielsen book.

They won't let us be a Nielsen family. Something about me working in TV and my wife in advertising. It's either that, or the fact that Nielsen considers me directly responsible for keeping Family Matters on as long as it was.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Don't fall for it! Beardsley sent that to you in order to derail your training. Don't let it happen!! Mayday, mayday!!!!

Mike said...

Dude, we need to take you to Henry Ford Museum i guess.

Mike said...

oh yeah, how long is that Cervantes book again???

Meg said...

Hello, I've been following your blog for a little bit now. Didn't you comment recently about the horrible state of tv? Maybe Neilsen reads your blog and wants your formal input. :)
Marcy, the YES network is horrible - far too much about the Yankees!

MizFit said...

I thoroughly enjoyed you controlling my tv last night.

next time could you turn it on?


sRod said...

Working in advertising, specifically in media planning and buying, I am not allowed to be a Nielson household. Apparently, in Nielson's eyes, if I were to determine ratings I shouldn't also determine where advertising dollars are spent. I think someone floated the term "conflict of interest" when I was in Ad Agency 101.

Fortunely, I don't have any clients on-air in Michigan. But if I did...I might have to ask you to tune into NBC little more than usual.

Lily on the Road said...

I'm with Chad, you're being Beardsley....

just don't sit there for endless hours watching the Simpsons.....
there may be a transmitter in your toaster.....beam me up Scottie...

audgepodge said...

That's so cool! I've always wondered who these Nielsen peeps were. My top choices: Lost, 30 Rock, The Office, How I Met Your Mother... those are the ones that I am willing to admit I watch anyway.

I'm surprised about the paper booklet - they can't get the inputs online?

SLB said...

Such will you sleep, well now you can stay up and rate all that late night quality TV!