I work from home and my shift ends at midnight. After work, I do a few chores, fix something to eat and sit down for a late night meal. I turn on Nick at Night to watch a few comedy programs and unwind before bed and what do I see? The exact same show that was on the night before. I don’t mean the same show as in the same sitcom, I mean the same episode. For some reason, Nick at Night airs the same episodes two consecutive nights in a row.
Currently, for the better part of the week, Home Improvement is scheduled for two episodes from 9-10 pm est. They are followed by The George Lopez Show from 10-11 pm est., and then Family Matters from 11 pm – 12 midnight est. Home Improvement is back on from 12-1 am est, and then The George Lopez Show from 1-2 am est. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air then comes on from 2-5 am est, and they rerun the shows from the night before. Roseanne is on from 5-6 am est, and then one episode of Full House from 6-6:30 am est.
Nick at Night has twelve different shows currently on their schedule. News Radio ran for five seasons originally on NBC. There are 97 episodes of this sitcom. The Fresh Prince of BelAir ran for six seasons and 148 episodes on NBC. There were also six seasons of The George Lopez Show originally airing on ABC for a total of 120 episodes. Coming in with seven season each are Designing Women from CBS with 163 episodes and Mad About You from NBC with 164 episodes. Lasting eight seasons on ABC was Home Improvement with 204 episodes, and Full House with 192 episodes. The Cosby Show also ran for eight seasons on NBC with 201 episodes. Not enough options yet? How about Family Matters? This sitcom ran for eight seasons on ABC’s TGIF lineup and then a ninth season on CBS for a total of 215 episodes. Roseanne was a weekly staple on ABC for nine seasons for a total of 222 episodes. Murphy Brown lasted for ten seasons on CBS for a total of 247 episodes, which by to days current standards is almost unheard of but the overall winner is America’s Funniest Home Videos from ABC for nineteen seasons and a whopping 407 episodes.
With the amount of programming available to Nick at Night, it is a puzzle as to why the network does not utilize more of it. Do they not realize, or possibly do not care, that the same viewers are watching their network night after night? There are twelve shows currently on their schedule and they need to fill seventeen half hour time slots between 9 pm and 6:30 am. There are six of these shows that are 200 episodes or above each. They could schedule one showing of each sitcom under 200 and two of the sitcoms above 200. One airing per night of News Radio, which at 97 episodes is the show with the least availability, would ensure that the series ran past a three month time frame without airing a repeat.
Another scheduling issue that I have is the sequence of the episodes shown. Older sitcoms normally presented a story which began and concluded in one episode. Several of these sitcoms, in particular Fresh Prince and George Lopez, contain storyline arcs. Nick at Night will air an episode from a later season and then right behind it air an episode from the first or second season without any regard to the continuity of the story. The same goes for Home Improvement. The first episode of the night may show the boys as teenagers and the second episode will show them as small children. Nick at Night also occasionally shows “marathons” of these programs. What this usually means is that the same sitcom is shown all week all by itself, which results in even more rerunning of the same episodes.
This matter is often discussed in forums on the Nick at Night website but it never seems to change for the better. Even with all the television stations available today, at that time of the night there is often nothing on tv but news or infomercials. When a network has a wealth of comedy programming at its fingertips, it shouldn’t be that difficult to properly schedule the programming to provide a variety of shows with minimal reruns and storyline continuity. With all the problems we have today, it is good for all of us to have something to laugh at every night. I would just prefer it is not the same thing I was laughing at last night.