Prime Time for Reading? Survey Looks at Viewers' Plans During Strike

A study on the writers' strike revealed 42 percent of Americans would read more if the networks began airing reruns.
A study on the writers' strike revealed 42 percent of Americans would read more if the networks began airing reruns. (By Pam Lockeby -- Associated Press)
By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, November 15, 2007

This Hollywood writers' strike is already so huge universities are doing studies on it.

Like Pepperdine University, in Malibu, which discovered that 84 percent of people in the United States know TV and film writers are on strike.

And yet, even though luminaries like Ray Romano and Kathy Griffin have turned out to march with picketing writers this week, 75 percent of people in the United States are not very concerned or not concerned at all about the TV-viewing implications of a TV writers' strike, according to the study, conducted online Nov. 7-9 by the market research firm Synovate for the university's Graziadio School of Business and Management.

A full 40 percent of Americans said that if the broadcast networks substitute reruns for new episodes due to the strike, they would instead spend more time watching reruns.

You're gonna want to reread that sentence, so we'll pause here a second.

Even more people -- 42 percent -- said that if the networks have to resort to reruns to fill their schedules they would read more.

Interestingly, the study says, women were more likely than men to pretend, er, answer that they would read more if the TV landscape becomes littered with repeat programming.

A full 51 percent of women gave that answer; I'm guessing some of them may have sniffed a bit, too. Only 33 percent of men said so; sadly, the study does not say how many of those 33 percent of males said they'd read more because they thought it would help them get lucky with the woman in the room with them while they were answering the online questions.

Reading being an old folks' pastime, people age 55 and older were about twice as likely to say they'd spend more time reading as 18-to-24-year-olds, while the 18-to-24-year-olds were more likely to say they'd rent more movies or play video games, the study says.

And 13 percent of the people said they'd spend more time going to the movies. Of course, if the strike drags on, there will be no movies to go to because those writers are striking too, but the study didn't get into that.

Only 14 percent of the people who played along admitted they'd watch more reality TV programs.

That's exactly the same percentage as said reruns wouldn't change anything. Wait -- aren't they the same as the people who said they'd watch more reruns?

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