What’s on TV?

Imagethief has a theory that at any given time, any given American cable TV system will be broadcasting an episode of “Seinfeld.” Admittedly, I tend to cruise the channels late, but that’s what I see.

Recent travels have given me an opportunity to surf not only the channels on offer at my mom’s house in Palo Alto, but also those at my in-laws’ apartment in Singapore, and on my own system here in Beijing. (I’ve recently been watching more Chinese television, as my wife and I let the satellite package expire through a combination of disappointment with the offering and garden-variety laziness.) From what I can see, every culture has it’s “Seinfelds”, those shows or genres that are always on some channel somewhere, day or night. For what it’s worth, here’s what I observe:

Seinfeld's Law: Shows being broadcast at any given moment.

Seinfeld’s Law: Shows being broadcast at any given moment.

Make of that what you will.

I’ve also observed that the available amount of quality programming on offer does not increase in proportion to the number of available channels. There is, in fact, a sharply diminishing return. This appears to be some kind of power-law relationship, and whoever works out the actual math will, I am sure, earn themselves a Nobel Prize.

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