Is Sunday Night the New “Must See TV” Night?

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Ok, did I miss something? …When did Sunday Night become the new “Must See TV” night? Do you remember when that was Thursday night?

Yep!….The terminology was coined by NBC in the 1990s when their Thursday night line-up was doing gang-busters in the ratings. Actually they were scoring high since the 1980s. The line-up goes like this; The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court, A Different World, Seinfeld, Mad About You, Wings, Frasier, Friends, and Will & Grace, as well as such drama series as Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and, I mostly definitely remember, ER. These shows dominated prime time for the network.

Unfortunately for NBC, their track record at the moment is quite the contrary. Even when their Thursday night ratings began to wane a bit, in the mid-to-late 2000s, and the theme was replaced with Comedy Night Done Right, I am confident they didn’t anticipate the low numbers they’re experiencing these days.

The other networks clued in, and followed the patterned where they too scheduled their best performing programs on Thursday night, thus making the days of the week a marker for what is working in the television business and what is not.

From all observations it appears that Sunday night is now the night when many just must watch television. Whether its ABC’s Once Upon A Time then Revenge or CBS’ The Good Wife, Downton Abbey on PBS, and now NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. The Cable Stations are in on it as well. When in season that’s the night fans are sure to catch Homeland on Showtime, Game of Thrones on HBO, Army Wives on Lifetime, The Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo (the network’s highest rated of the series), The Walking Dead on AMC…and the list goes on and on, and on – particularly depending on the season.

I am reminded of a story. On one such Sunday night I was enjoying some of my Sunday night Favs when my phone buzzed with a text message from a friend inquiring whether I was checking out another popular Sunday night show. To their dismay, I was unable to engage about their program but it got me to thinking how difficult it was for me to keep up with all that was airing that night. Anyway later on, I texted another friend to learn what they were taking in and to my surprise they were watching yet another program that I totally forgot was on. If it seems all too confusing, believe me it is. These days to keep track of all the shows I enjoy on Sundays, it requires a schedule and relying on recordings for future viewing.

Now some may argue that Thursday night is still a pretty good night for television – especially the plethora of Scandal fans who epitomize the definition of appointment TV watching. Still, Thursday does not compare to Sunday with the quantity of eligible programming available currently. Of course it’s not brain surgery, it’s only TV but it is comforting to know, in the words of a Discovery Communications professional; “TV has made a come-back”. …Now excuse me as I get my Sunday night line-up together.

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32 Comments

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

32 responses to “Is Sunday Night the New “Must See TV” Night?

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