How Much Television Do You Watch Per Week?

That divot in your couch where your ass usually sits got even bigger in 2010. According to the New York Times, which mined data from Nielsen Research, the average American watched 34 hours of television each week last year. That's an increase of one percent over 2009's record-setting numbers.

If that number seems a bit steep, it should. Simple math reveals that it shakes out to almost five hours of TV per day, and all told it's just six episodes of Lost shy of a full-time job. Plus, 34 hours is just an average. Somewhere out there at the far end of the Bell Curve, someone is boob-tubing for 60+ hours every seven days.

I'm guessing that television as a background distraction is becoming pretty commonplace, and has helped to inflate the numbers. Case in point: Even when I'm not watching one of my many programs I follow, my TV is on—usually with something like CNN or ESPN. And what of all those folks who've become unemployed over the last calendar year? They'll get right back to working on that job application as soon as they finish a few hours of Oprah and get through some Big Bang Theory reruns.

But the real reason that we're spending more hours in front of the warming glow of our screens is the abundance and availability of content. Cable continues to grow, and devices with which we can consume shows are more portable than ever. Instead of flipping through four or five channels like our Mammies and Pappies used to do, we have hundreds of networks at our disposal, many of which are aimed at niche audiences. There's really no excuse for not watching television, because there's a network out there for you no matter what kind kinky stuff you're into (how else would TLC survive?).

What's more, those who make television (specifically the studios) are more attuned to the show-creating witchcraft that helps grab our attention. Sitcom writing has been reduced to a formula after decades of tweaking what works, dramas have been dumbed-down to attract the biggest audiences, and reality programs, still in their infancy, have developed a lethal combination of crafty editing and car-crash personalities that not only sucks us in, but can be made on a shoe-string budget. That's not to say that all television is bad. With cable surviving more on licensing fees than ratings, quality programming has departed the major networks, drawing yet more people to their screens.

You can try and resist television, but it won't be easy. More so than other forms of major media, television has adapted to us, and the result is that we are watching more and more of it. We'll probably hit an average of 35 hours per week in 2011... even if it's only because we can't wait to see what will happen on the next episode of The Bachelor.

How much television would you estimate you watch per week?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I thought I'd weigh in, since you all have been so kind as to do the same.

Here's a stat from my house, a co-habitating professional 'straght' couple with a cat.

My partner works from home; I work evenings so we even each other out.

Our stats:

Together: one hour per day average.

(One movie per two days)



She watches an additional 1 hr/day of Breaking Bad, Raising Hope.

We watch one episode of Game of Thrones or Saving Grace per week.



Not too much.



Our sources:

We watch shows together, usually streamed for free. We have exhausted Ted.com (as our fave); YouTube is a bit random so we tend to go there for specific researched content or random crap only.

Additionally, she downloads 'her shows' off of free-streaming sites such as 'LetMeWatchThis.com'; we don't have cable. Having to stream sites makes us chase content and often the extra effort needed when wifi isn't that fast just makes us turn-tail and find something better to do -- like relate with each other. :)



Cheers, all

--Vancouver
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I'm down to watching 1 hour of TV per month, which I do solely for my father, because he enjoyed it so much, it was a 'connecting' point where we could laugh for a few minutes together. But I am going to scrap it entirely. TV and Movies are a serious sickness and dementia of the mind, which totally fragment society and have created an epidemic of ego separateness. By watching Television, you WILL NEVER get in touch with your heart. You will never find out who you really are, when your watching these actors pretend all day long, while your pretend to be them in your own head. It is a sad disease, and the destruction of personal thought and freedom of mind.
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I watch a lot of TV but not insanely as much as people from here. (I only watch at night times as those are when my favorite shows come on and well...there isn't as much to do at night time then on a day time.) These are the shows I currently watch that are still airing and aren't canceled: Chuck, Lie to Me, The Event, Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly, Men of a Certain Age, Hawaii Five-0, United States of Tara, White Collar, Pretty Little Liars, The Hard Times of RJ Berger, Southland, No Ordinary Family, Glee, Life Unexpected, Raising Hope, Parenthood, Glory Daze, Hellcats, Blue Bloods, Blue Mountain State, The Defenders, $#!t My Dad Says, Community, The Big Bang Theory, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer, Fringe, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, Californication, Dexter, Shameless

Recently canceled shows: FlashForward, Gary Unmarried, Kyle XY, Lincoln Heights, Lone Star, Sons of Tucson, The Good Guys


(S#!t My Dad Says, The Event and The Defenders are my least favorites..)
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Do DVDs or On Demand count? I don't watch much broadcast TV anymore. I only just finished all 3 seasons of Arrested Development the other day, rented them & watched in a matter of weeks. Since every TV show is there for the asking whenever you want, why bother to watch it as it comes on when you can see the whole thing later on. I can wait.
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I watch A LOT of TV! But I work full time really hard and I don't make excuses or try to justify it. It's escape, entertaining, informative and sometimes company. This is America and we can watch as much as we want!!!
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Roughly 24.

Working nights I watch from 5a.m. to 8 a.m. when the house wakes up.

Add a couple more hours over the weekend and, there you have it.

Got Netflix for Christmas so the total number could change this year.
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Oh god! What a scary question! I don't even know I just know that...whenever I'm not doing school, I'm watching TV.
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Well let's put it this way, the tv is on now and has been since i got off work and probably will be till the sleep timer kicks it off after I've been unconscious for an hour or two. That's a normal thing at my house but in my defense I'm only actually paying attention maybe a third of the time.
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Well let's put it this way, the tv is on now and has been since i got off work and probably will be till the sleep timer kicks it off after I've been unconscious for an hour or two. That's a normal thing at my house but in my defense I'm only actually paying attention maybe a third of the time.
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Since I started using my computer as my TV I've gotten away from daytime TV, although I try to discipline myself not to watch during the day. And it's hard to watch a video on a machine that you're trying to play a game on. :) Still, I probably average about 4 hours a day, or at least 4 hour long shows which without ads is more like 3 hours.
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It's always hard for me to guess...it varies enormously from day to day, but I watch at least some almost every day, because there's always at least one TV on to which I will pay at least partial attention for at least a minute or so, lol. My mom leaves the kitchen one on all day and that's how I get my doses of TV news and weather, soap operas, and Britcoms. I don't usually watch the 'popular' shows because I generally find them boring or ridiculous or just 'okay.' But I will surf through my numerous movie channels (plus AMC, TCM, & Fox Movie Channel) and all of the rest and follow my favorite programs...the channels I tend to like best are Animal Planet, GSN, Hub, Hallmark, Travel, Nick, Jr., Boomerang, Discovery, Science, National Geographic, Planet Green, Chiller, ABC Family, WGN, Sprout, Lifetime, TV Land, Oxygen, WeTV, HGTV, DIY, Scifi, Bio, History, PBS, Reelz, Comedy Central, Ovation, BBC America, Bravo, G4, Ion, RFD, CMT, GAC, & local ones like NJN. Oh, and of COURSE there are my Nickelodeon, Disney, and Cartoon Networks, although those were all considerably better in the 90s and prior. All told, I guess my average might be somewhere around the 34-35 hour mark...but again, it varies, and a lot of that time isn't precisely spent sitting/standing in front of a set and watching intently.
More+
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I don't know. It's kinda difficult to measure one's consumption of television, isn't it? There were only two shows I followed deliberately.. that's 50 minutes, tops. Everything else is just.. random I suppose. I watched the "news" every now and then.. when I felt like it or when wondering what that road block was about. It's kinda scary to think that my TV was running at least 10-20 hours a week when I really just wanted to watch two 20 minute shows; it's a blur. I definitely watch at least 10-30 hours of television in one week but since the dawn of Netflix, Instant Streaming and the Internet, regular television is not where I'm getting it from.
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I think I watch too much and I'm still below average in viewing. However, I just spent almost a month away on Xmas vacation and only had the last original episode of NCIS on the whole time...and that was IT! (and that was a waste of time, too). Generally, its not likely about watching, as Tim says (jeez louize, am I agreeing with the guy??) its about white noise...when life happens, most folks let life happen and TV be hanged.
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I follow several shows and I watch the most on the weekends. It's kind of shocking about how much TV is watched.
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I'm below average as well?!?! you people are sick!
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I have my shows that I watch every week, a total of four, depending on which week. Since I started college, I haven't been watching any extraneous television, so I'm glad to know that I'm not part of that 34 hour a week average.
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Wow I'm below average?? that seems kind of off, I guess most people have the TV on and dont really watch it most of the time..

I think I get to around 15-20 hours a week, including the news and comedy reruns..
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5 hours a week tops. And when I say TV, I mean watching shows on my notebook.
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Way too much!
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Too much for me. Also, Internet isn't helping. :)
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wow you people are addics i rarely ever watch tv anymore for me the majority of shows i watch are older shows that arent on anymore like the twilight zone etc. there isnt that much on tv anymore the only channel i ever watch is comedy central and fox sunday.
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i watch a lot like 40 hours or so but sometimes it does become just background noise. it was these psat two years that i just started watching a lot of shows, i have become obssessed with some shows. lol
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I watch 20 / 25 hours of tv per week. Most part of it are tv shows.
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What a shock! People are watching more TV than ever before. Growing up we got like five channels and there was a time when they all went off the air for the night. Now it's hundreds of channels, 24 - 7. I would have to say that on average I watch up to 30 hours a week, about half on the weekend. I still manage to read about two dozen books a year and I'm online about an hour a day. My job (48 hours a week) is outdoors so I like to be inside when I'm not working.
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My TV never goes off.....
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And you wonder why we have record obesity?
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i watch 20 hrs. of my shows that are on all through the year and news and maybe 5 more hrs. of dvd's or syndicated reruns of cancelled shows( charmed, 7th Heaven, Gilmore Girls, OC, Ugly Betty). The shows I watch or dvr are: Gossip Girl, 90210, ANTM, Hellcats, Life Unexpected, One Tree Hill, Desperate Housewives, Nikita, Vampire Diaries, Covert Affairs, Pretty Little Liars, Make it or Break it, Drop Dead Diva, Hawthorne, Rizzoli & Isles, Skating with the Stars, Raising Hope, Desperate Housewives
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I estimate 30-50 hours per week if not a lot more depending on whats going on.
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Well With part time job so im up in around 80hours at week that include Downloading Shows too, but i have a study income and 80hours at week is only in the winter. Summer time im down too around 42 hourd at in the week.
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I'm in college, so a lot of the time I'm working from my desk at home, which means the television is on because I can't work when it's quiet... Although I'm not really watching anything, that would mean that according to the numbers, I'm on the full-time-job schedule.
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Television = 3 hours per week. Television shows online or on dvd= a lot per week.
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6 hours per day... So far to much!
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Much too much! Before I was placed on disability I rarely watched, just a couple shows. Now my TV is on probably 12 hours a day. The saving factor is that I'm not watching it that long. It has become a background filter for me. I am usually reading a book and only watch the boob tube when a specific program comes on. The bad part is that my levels of what is acceptable programming have fallen quite a bit!
So yeah, I'm one of those idiots at the far end of the Bell Curve!
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roughly 9-12 hours a week if all my shows have new episodes and and if I watch allot of news.
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I watch a lot of TV, but not much network programming other than Big Bang Theory, Mike and Molly and Modern Family, because most of it is crap. Ill usually watch old sitcoms or TCM or MLB Network or ComcastSportsnet or one of my MASH DVDs.
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definitely no more then 25 hours a week. I hope
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For me, the question should be - when DON'T I watch TV. I have a TV in my office and I sleep (3-4 hours)with one on. Other than commute time, a TV is on! Been that way since I was a kid. Thank heaven for Direct TV!
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I watch maybe 12-14 hours in a week, but usually on catch up what's been taped, usually on my day off. I'm not really one to watch serious sh**te, unless I'm bone tired and want to disengage the brain.
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When all TV series are running at least 20 hours a week
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Some weeks I barely watch an hour and it's recorded stuff since we don't even subscribe to cable.
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These are my current shows, lots of them are pending or are on break, but when they come back I'll be watching them :D
Amazing Race, The
Being Erica
Big Bang Theory, The
Bones
Castle
Fringe
Greys Anatomy
Hellcats
How I met your mother
Lost Girl
Melissa and Joey
Mentalist, The
Merlin
Nikita
Secret Diary of a Call Girl
South Park
Spartacus: Blood and Sand
True Blood
Vampire Diaries, The
Bleach
One piece
Nauto
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6 hours max in a week.I only watch ncis and the news thats all.Most of the time i'm to busy doing other things.
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A LOT, and all I can say is it takes us (added up) the whole weekend to watch what has been DVRed!! That's why we need glasses (LOL)!
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My TV is usually on all day as background noise for when I'm doing housework, cooking or reading on-line......"Judge" shows in a.m., MSNBC in afternoon and whatever shows are appealing in p.m. Guess that makes me a "Super User" but not necessarily a "Watcher".
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I probably watch 40+ (including background). I keep a calendar with the on demand offerings, so I watch what I have to live, and catch the rest on demand. Then there are all the dvds I own and get from Netflix...
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i never watched much tv until i became disabled with a clotting disorder. i am very grateful for tv these days. the more i watch the fussier i get howerver. and for whatever reason i don't watch sitcoms???
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I watch about 15 to 20 hours a week, when the new shows are on. When reruns are all there is, it goes down to about 5 hours.
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"...someone is boob-tubing for 60+ hours every seven days. "

Put me down as one of those. And it's not the boob tube any more. Plus I am practically shut in, and television and the computer are my friends.
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Let's just say a lot! I'm a uni student in England and when I'm not doing work I'm not doing anything besides watching my favourite US shows!
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tv guy watch about all day movie
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