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The TV Junkie's Guide to the Perfect Television Viewing Schedule

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 17, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 17, 2011 |

When I consider how much television I watch a week, I often feel gluttonous about the amount of time I spend in front of a screen, even though I am a pop-culture critic, and it is my job to watch television. But if you look at the statistics, the average American watches approximately four hours of television a day. Add it up, and that’s more television than I watch in a week, even as someone whose profession requires television viewing. I watch 29 hours of programming, but if you subtract the commercials, it’s probably closer to 25 hours.

Twenty-five hours. That’s a lot of television, and I’m sure that many of you assume I must be watching it during the day while I’m wearing my pajamas and eating bowls of Cocoa Crispies in front of my computer. Not true. The business of running a website, of writing and dealing with administrative duties, as well as taking care of my family takes up my entire day, beginning at 6:30 each morning and running until around 7:30. Like most of you with regular jobs and family responsibilities, I only have time to watch television at night, and in order to fit that many hours of television into my day (in addition to weekly NFL programming), I have to manage my time well. There is some multi-tasking involved — certain low-concentration shows, like “Psych” or “Hart of Dixie” can be watched while I’m making dinner or exercising (one must exercise if one is a blogger, lest one become a giant sack of self-hating sh*t), but for the most part, it’s a matter of putting in the hours, of avoiding time-killing TV, and taking advantage of both the DVR and Hulu in order to maximize the television watching experience. If I want to go out, that’s fine; I just have to make up the time, typically between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. Wednesday and Sunday nights are evil. You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to next week’s reruns.

But if you are someone who spends most of your evenings at home watching television, I’m here to tell you that it’s possible to watch all the great shows that run each week (plus a few lesser guilty pleasures) and still manage to watch less television than the average American. I’m not suggesting that anyone watch this much TV (in fact, for your own sanity, I’d discourage it), but if you allowed yourself a little time-shifting, you can watch 36 television shows (or, approximately 25.5 hours of television) each week without giving up your full-time job.

This, folks, is A TV Junkie’s Guide to the Perfect Television Viewing Schedule. Feel free to swap out “Fringe,” “Hell on Wheels” and “Boardwalk Empire” with “Chuck,” “Hart of Dixe,” and “Psych,” as personal preference dictates.


8:00: “Once Upon a Time”
9:00: “The Good Wife”
10:00: “The Walking Dead”


8:00: “How I Met Your Mother”
8:30: “Dexter” (from Sunday night)
9:30: “Homeland” (from Sunday night)
10:30: “Enlightened”
11:00: “The Daily Show”


8:00: “Bored to Death” (from Monday night)
8:30: “Hart of Dixie” (from Monday night)
9:30: “New Girl”
10:00: “Sons of Anarchy”
11:00: “The Daily Show”

8:00: “Up All Night”
8:30: “Suburgatory”
9:00: Modern Family”
9:30: “Happy Endings”
10:00: American Horror Story”
11:00: “The Daily Show”

8:00: “Community”
8:30: “Parks and Recreation”
9:00: The Office”
9:30: “The Middle” (from Wednesday night)
10:00: “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
10:30: “The League”
11:00: “The Daily Show”


8:00: “Chuck”
9:00: “Psych” (from Wednesday)
10:00: “Boss”
11:00: “Survivor”


8:00: “Raising Hope” (from Tuesday)
8:30: “Parenthood” (from Tuesday)
9:00: “Revenge” (from Wednesday)
10:00: “Top Chef” (from Wednesday)
11:00: “Beavis and Butthead”
11:30: “Saturday Night Live”

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.