Over the past few years, the amount of time I’ve had to plop in front of the TV and channel-surf has decreased (there is a LOT of online video to watch, y’all). Even with my TiVo at the ready, I still only watch about two or three hours of cable programming a week. Still, when TVWeek’s Daisy Whitney went cable-free and chronicled the experiment for her column, I admired the results but shrugged off the idea of canceling my own service as absurd. A former latchkey kid who could literally watch TV from the moment I got home until the moment my parents sent me to bed, having access to cable television has always been an important creature comfort to me. It is my solace when I am sick, my reward for hard work. It has been my friend for a long time. I never thought I’d have a reason to send it away.
Until, of course, yesterday. As one of the 13 million Time Warner subscribers who will be affected by Viacom pulling its channels from the provider, I’m steamed. So much so that I’m reevaluating my cable subscription — even despite having recently gotten a reduced monthly rate to go along with an upgrade to HDTV. Because while there are online alternatives for most of the programming I do watch, the fact is that more than half my reason for continuing the service will be going away tomorrow morning. After all, what is MSNBC without a Jon Stewart chaser?
And I’m not the only one who feels this way — according to Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily, Time Warner call centers have been flooded with complaints. I’ll be rising up with my 13 million brothers and sisters today when I call Time Warner to bitch, moan, and ask whether or not they will be providing discounted rates to make up for this outage. I don’t care which one of these media conglomerates is right. I want justice.
So Time Warner: You have a week. If this isn’t resolved by Jan. 7 I’ll be cutting the cord, too. After all, I have online options for the bulk of my favorite shows (thank you, Hulu), regular broadcast TV for major events like the Olympics, friends with satellite dishes for when Entourage comes back, and an XBox 360/Netflix hookup for when I just need to sit on the couch and watch bad movies. So I’ll probably watch the exact same amount of TV as I did before — just without paying so much for the privilege.