Where has the Family Viewing hour gone?

When television began broadcasting shows in earnest, circa early 1950s, many of the programs were family friendly.  The entire family could sit down in the comfort of their living room and watch a television show that made them laugh, that made them think.  TV shows, like Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, My Little Margie, I Love Lucy, are but a few examples of such television fare viewers could expect.

When I was growing up, in the 1970s, there were still family shows where we could all gather and watch a program without being embarrassed by the content.  Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family.  After the 8:00 hour was done, my brother and I knew cop shows usually reigned supreme, Hawaii 5-0  or Kojak, and then at 10:00, when we were tucked in for the night, more adult programs would be on, like Police Story.

In 2012, no such family hour exists anymore and I don’t know why or when it began to disappear.  Today’s sitcoms, I don’t let my younger children watch them, and if I were to watch them with my parents, I’d  feel very embarrassed.  The major networks have been lamenting for years the loss of viewers to cable.  Maybe  the families  have left, looking for programs worthwhile for a family to view.  I am sure some television executives would simply give out that all too often excuse, “We’re just following the culture”, but I think they aid and abet and influence the culture much more than they give themselves credit for.  If networks want viewers back, then bring back the family viewing hour, with programs that are uplifting and wholesome, and go back to showing the crass and profane at 10:00, when the children are safely tucked in for the night.


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