What We Watch



Quick, what's TV's most-often-aired show in St. Louis?

The thrice-daily servings of Matlock? The quadruple bill of Everybody Loves Raymond? The five broadcasts of King of the Hill? How about those ubiquitous reruns of Law & Order? Nope, nay, nosirree and not even close.

Would you believe that last Friday (December 8th), That '70s Show broadcast no fewer than ten times (twice on Channel 11 and eight times on FX)?

And the runner-up? A "real" show from the '70s, The Jeffersons, which moved on up seven times.

Why should I care? Because we're a nation of television addicts. If we're going to take in an average of 4 hours and 32 minutes in front of the tube, shouldn't we know what we're ingesting?

Also, I was curious: Did the recent Michael Richards flap have any impact on FOX2's twelve weekly airings of Seinfeld? The answer is no, says station manager Spencer Koch. So popular is the show, FOX2 recently re-upped its contract to carry Seinfeld for another five years.

I got to wondering:

Is it possible to watch Seinfeld 24 hours a day? Using the Charter Channel Guide as my compass, I discovered that, sadly (at least for this critic), the half-hour comedy only airs two hours a day (twice on FOX2 and another two airings on TBS). Perhaps it's just the show's dozen years in syndication ("legs", Koch calls it) that makes it seem like an episode of Seinfeld is never further than a click away.

Earlier this month, the New Yorker identified a condition called "Law & Order Disorder," whose sufferers believe the crime drama is on every channel at all hours of the day. Clearly this is a delusion; Law & Order appears just twice a day in St. Louis (though its spin-offs, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and -Special Victims Unit get their own few airings each day as well).

Speaking of medical conditions, one wonders what type of mental state you'd be in if you watched all seven daily episodes of Dharma & Greg, or for that matter King of Queens? Were these shows funny once? What makes television programmers think they'll improve ad nauseam?

Below is a list of the most often-aired shows on the St. Louis television dial. You can draw your own conclusions as to which -- if any -- merit multiple viewing. (You'll note that while That '70s Show has the highest number of airings, it falls short in overall broadcast time. The winner of that category? Walker, Texas Ranger with six hour-long shows. Oh yeah! Mess with Chuck Norris and you get drop-kicked!)

-Chad Garrison


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