What else is on? | Bleader

What else is on?


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Last year's Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers brought in an average audience of 111 million U.S. viewers—that's just over 30 million more viewers than the last episode of Cheers, a show that, aside from being loved by my mom, had early-90s Seinfeld as a lead-in and revolved around the life and times of Ted Danson, a bar full of drunkards, and mugs of beer. The Super Bowl often brings in the largest TV audience of the year and is built for rowdy viewing parties and the consumption of delicious, terrible-for-you food. For those who could give a shit about football, the overblown mess of television features celebs "caught on camera" pretending to enjoy football, nachos, and light beer; reanimated corpses of pop and rock 'n' roll legends playing the halftime show; and a slew of (wannabe) edgy and innovative commercials. (I have no shame in admitting that I was addicted to Crystal Pepsi in my younger years thanks to a mix of perfectly timed advertising and Van Halen's "Right Now.") In short, the game ain't just for run-of-the-mill Monday-morning quarterbacks.

But what else is on TV Sunday night? NBC has the rights to the Super Bowl this year—it rotates annually between Fox, NBC, and CBS—and will undoubtedly win the ratings war. But I always get a kick out of seeing what other channels choose to broadcast during the three-to-four-hour stretch of programming. Typically, network, and especially smaller cable networks, kind of give up, scheduling long blocks of shows that they hope will skim a little off the top of the game's ratings. Much of the programming is directed at pockets of the population that have no interest in watching football, regardless of how many explosions are set off and how many top-secret fighter jets fly over the stadium. To make it worse for these channels, there's not a lot of surfing happening during breaks—you know, because of the "innovative" commercials I mentioned above. So as a good deed, I did a sweep of the basic cable TV listings from 5 till 11 PM this Sunday night and picked out what I believe to be the most intriguing and intellectually stimulating alternatives to the Super Bowl. Check my compiled schedule below:

Nickelodeon: Two hours of SpongeBob SquarePants (5-7 PM)

ESPN: Four hours of behemoth dudes lifting six-hundred-pound sculptures of South America in the World's Strongest Man Competition from 2011 (5-9 PM)

FX: Ice Age 2: The Meltdown followed by Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (5-11 PM)

AMC: Sleepless in Seattle (5-7 PM)

MTV2: Four-hour block of True Life (5-9 PM)

ESPN2: Six hours of sunglasses being worn indoors and blank stares off into the middle distance in the World Series of Poker (5-11 PM)

Disney Channel: High School Musical 2 followed by High School Musical 3: Senior Year (5-8:30 PM)

TLC: Winning hours of Toddlers & Tiaras (5-6 PM) and 600 Pound Mom (6-7 PM), and then four hours of Strange Sex (7-11 PM)

TBS: The Wedding Date (5:15-7 PM), followed by Hitch (7-9:30 PM). Followed by Hitch (9:30 PM-11 PM)

Spike TV: Six hours of Auction Hunters (5-11 PM)

MTV: Four-hour block of Teen Mom 2 (5-9 PM)

E!: Sex and the City for eternity (5-10 PM)

Food Network: Five hours of icing in Cupcake Wars (5-10 PM)

VH1: 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 90s (5-6 PM) followed by five hours of the 100 Greatest Songs of the 00s (6-11 PM). I'm going to spoil the latter and just tell you "Crazy in Love" is number one.

Golf: Duh, Tin Cup and Kevin Costner (5:30-8 PM)

Cartoon Network: Two hours of Antonio Banderas acting the fool in Spy Kids 3: Game Over (5-7 PM)

Big Ten Network: College Wrestling: Nebraska at Minnesota (5:30-7:30 PM)

Animal Planet: The picture-in-picture-worthy Puppy Bowl VIII for six hours (5-11 PM). It's hard to deny a miniature football field filled with rollicking puppies, accompanied by a play-by-play announcer and instant replay.

Comedy Central: Tosh.0 (6-7 PM) and Tosh.0 (7:30-11 PM)

NBCSP: Goddamn motherfuckin' Bloodsport (7-9 PM)

History Channel: Pawn Stars for six hours in a row (5-11 PM)

Bravo: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (5-6 PM), The Real Housewives of Atlanta (6-9 PM), The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (9-10 PM), The Real Housewives of Atlanta (10-11 PM), your TV shoots itself (11:01 PM)

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