Interesting pieces of information.
If you have a computer and the net, you probably don't need to read a magazine to tell you what's on television.
If you have a decent memory you could recall when the shows you like to watch come on. Constant commercials may help.
If you read the local newspaper or USA Today it lists every show that is on that day. If you buy or subscribe to a Sunday paper you get a free TV listing with it.
If you listen to the radio they will often advertise what is on that evening in prime time.
If you have cable TV there is a channel that lists what is on and what is coming on for the next 6 hours or so.

If all or most of the above are true, it is somewhat interesting to realize that TV Guide is the most popular magazine in the United States, based on subscription.

You have to laugh so you won't cry

After a yummy dinner, the Byteme family relaxes in the living room for some TV. The new TV Guide has a bunch of new letters beside each show, and this results in some confusion for the average American family.

Mom: "Oh, look. Here's a made-for-TV movie about some family problems. The Bobbitt Shearing. That sounds nice."

Dad: "Let me see, hon. Oh, wait, there's an R on there."

Jr.: "That just means it's a rerun."

Sis: "No, it doesn't, you doofus! It means that it's restricted to grown ups. You'll have to go watch the Cartoon Network on your own little TV while we watch the Bobbit movie. Nyaa, nyaa."

Handicapped Baby: "Timmmmoy!"

Dad: "And there's an A and an N on here, too. Wonder what that means?"

Jr.: "That means she's gonna take up the tailpipe, dad. And the N means there's a bunch of Negroes doing the piping. C'mon; let me watch. PLEASE???"

Sis: "I know what the V is fixing to stand for in your case, buddy boy."

Dad jerks Jr. up by the collar and slams him face first into the credenza.

Mom: "Now, Burtram. Please don't break any bones. Oh, and I just read that the N is for someone being undressed. And the A is for just us grown ups. So, sis, I'm afraid you'll have to join Jr. up in the other room while your dad and I see what all this is about. Bring down that jar of lubricant before you settle in, OK?"

Baby: "Timmmmy!"

Jr.: "Get the fuckin' grease yourself, you four-eyed bitch!"

Sis: "L L L!!!"

Dad grabs Jr. by the ankles, swinging him around the room prior to releasing him, head first, out the picture window onto the nicely manicured lawn.

Mom: "He didn't fall in the flower bed did he? You know how hard I've worked on those pansies."

Dad: "No, hon. Your pansies are fine. And Jr. seems to be in *** shape."

Sis (laughing): "Oh, that would be good. We sure don't want another one around here in * shape, do we?" (She looks sideways at Baby.)

Baby: "Tim...Timm...Timmmmoouy?!?"

Mom: "**** joke, Sis. Your humor is always so obviously influenced by PG."

TV Guide is no longer owned by Rupert Murdoch as part of his News Corp.; it is now owned by a company called Gemstar which is best known for creating the VCR Plus device.

There are over 200 different versions of TV Guide each week in different parts of the United States. The main reason for this is that every metropolitan area has a different set of local channels available over the air.

Therefore, each issue of TV Guide is in two sections: one, printed in color on glossy paper, is the same nationwide (except for the cover some weeks); the other, printed in black and white on newsprint, contains the specific TV listings for a specific region, generally the one in which it is being sold unless the magazine distributor has screwed up.

The regions vary in size from a single metropolitan area to an entire state to bizarre combinations created to cover television markets that spill across adjoining states.

Those that cover more than one metropolitan area are the most interesting. In my early years, my parents received the Tampa Bay edition, which listed only stations from the Tampa metropolitan area, including Sarasota. Then stations from Fort Myers were added to the edition, and it was renamed Tampa-Sarasota.

At one point in my life, I got the Pittsburgh Metropolitan edition, which was slightly misnamed because in addition to stations in the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area, it also contained listings for Johnstown and Altoona, Wheeling and Steubenville, and Youngstown. Since the Pittsburgh network affiliates often pre-empted network programming for their own local news or sports shows, I could look and see what was really going to be on TV, in the listings for the other cities.

I now get the Los Angeles Metropolitan edition, which only contains listings for stations in L.A. and Orange County, plus one lonely PBS station in San Bernardino. Years ago, it contained listings for stations in Palm Springs as well, but those stations are now only included in the Coachella Valley edition.

There are about 110 of these regional editions, which cover every part of the United States except Alaska. The remainder of TV Guide's editions contain listings for a specific cable system or group of cable systems. If I lived in a different part of Los Angeles, I could subscribe to the AT&T Los Angeles edition through my cable company or buy it at the supermarket.

Confusingly, there is also a magazine called TV Guide Ultimate Cable, which is the result of TV Guide buying another magazine. It is "regular" size instead of a digest and has its program listings in a grid format instead of the straight listing found in the regular TV Guide. If you see one of these editions for sale at a supermarket, buy it if someone you've heard of is on the cover, and then sell it on eBay.

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