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TV-free, an episode at a time

January 01, 2006|CHRISTINE ZIEMBA

Lose weight. Exercise more. Get organized. Find a better job. Most of us jot down one or more of these resolutions every Jan. 1. But who can find the time to actually work on them?

Now there is a way to squeeze an extra hour or two out of the day -- if you consider that Americans watch an average of more than four hours of television a day. (String all those hours together and that adds up to two continuous months of boob tube viewing each year.)

For some addicts out there, quitting TV might just be as hard as giving up smoking. It's difficult to break the routine of a Thursday night habit that moves from "The OC" to "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" to "ER." But if you're serious about trying, here are a few suggestions:

1. Choose just one choreographed celeb-reality show. Why watch celebrities dance when you can watch them skate? Nothing says entertainment better than watching Nancy Kerrigan trying to teach a triple salchow to Todd "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Bridges on Fox's "Skating With Celebrities."

2. Draw the line at crime. Stop adding more police procedurals to your viewing schedule. Just say no to "CSI: El Paso." How many more music montages set to dusting for prints or collecting epithelials can a viewer take?

3. Play the field. Tom Cavanagh in "Love Monkey," Heather Graham in "Emily's Reasons Why Not" and Jenna Elfman in "The Jenna Elfman Show" are just some of the familiar faces fronting new single-in-the-city-type shows. But if more dating is on your list this year, then you might do better to sign up with a service such as or instead of living vicariously through your TV.

4. Work up a sweat. No matter what ESPN says, Texas Hold 'Em poker and competitive eating aren't sports. Go outside and play.

5. Spend time with the family. "The Sopranos" will be back on HBO in early 2006 -- so why bother watching anything else?


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