Why is Nothing Good Ever On TV At Night?

By: Brad Manock

Nocturnal People Need Netflix!

tvI have been working the night shift for the past three and a half years. I work at night and sleep during the morning. There are plenty of social oddities that I have uncovered in my time as a nocturnal individual, most of them involve the expectations of others and being viewed as lazy by “normal” people. However, one of the things that I have noticed is the fact that there is rarely anything good on TV from about midnight to six in the morning. This is usually not a problem since I have Netflix where I live, but when I visit family during weekends this lack of good TV content at night becomes very obvious. Even though nocturnal people work as hard as people with traditional working hours, we are part of a minority. I have noticed myself drifting more to the unbiased online culture as opposed to the mainstream culture since the mainstream culture doesn’t seem to exist during my active hours. In this article I will discuss some thoughts about why there is rarely anything good on TV at night.

Paid Programming?

When I go through the channel guide on TV during the night hours I see “paid programming” constantly. During my first couple months of living nocturnally, I thought “this paid programming show seems really popular!” I thought this might be some kind of drama show with an unusual name. One night I selected a channel with this “paid programming” show to see why it was so popular. I then began to understand how the nocturnal lifestyle would be a bit unusual as I understood that “paid programming” was a literal statement instead of a TV show. TV networks make money by airing content that people want to watch and then they sell commercial spots to businesses that want to get in-front of these eyeballs. More viewers equals more money. However it seems that it isn’t even worth doing business the same way during the night opting to, instead, sell the entire chunk of time to a business. It appears that it is worth it for TV networks to withdraw all effort from night time programming and use that effort during the normal, more competitive, hours. This is a huge reason finding something on TV at night is a challenge, the “paid programming” spots need to be sorted through to pick out the gems of legitimate content.

Hourly Repeating Content?

Usually when I surrender to the nightly “paid programming” takeover, I will watch a sports network. Ok, so “watch” might not be the correct word, it would be “listening to the show as ‘white noise’ while I do stuff on the computer.” These sports networks seem to have a daily show that lasts for an hour, for example; “ESPN’s Sports Center” or “NFL Total Access.” So what do they do after this live show has been completed? Apparently, repeating this show on a loop until the people that matter wake up. They must assume that people will watch the program once and then change the channel. Occasionally I will be so focused on some other task that the white noise of the TV seems to be suspiciously familiar at that point I will usually continue the search.

Best Bet?

Personally, I find the more education based channels: Science, Discovery, History Channels have the most interesting and diverse content for nocturnal people stuck without Netflix. These channels almost always have something delightfully unusual to watch: shows about hypothetical alien invasions, worm holes, time travel physics, how the dinosaurs lived, ect…

I enjoy these types of shows, but in this case, they win the TV wars by forfeit. I will usually watch these exciting yet educational programs until I feel tired and go to sleep. When I wake up I will spend the afternoon with my family and then escape back to my Netflix account the following night.

If I look all around the TV channels and see that there is nothing even watchable for the night, I will just put my ear buds from my Ipod in my ears and listen to podcasts or audiobooks while finding something productive to do.


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