So I was watching the Rose Parade — please don’t judge — and kept confronting something odd: Commercials.
Real ones, telling me where to bank, which cell phone to use and, especially. which drugs to take. “How can they have commercials?” someone asked. “Isn’t the whole parade a commercial?”
It is, but there used to be an escape route: When I watched this every year — remember, I asked you not to judge — it was on HGTV, which did it commercial-free; as a bonus, it had announcers who were less likely to gush.
This was a pleasant tradition. Each year, the parade was followed by a full day of specials and season premieres. But this year (shown here), that quietly ended.
Maybe HGTV doesn’t need it any more. It’s into stars and ongoing shows — “Property Brothers,” “Flip or Flop,” “Christina on the Coast,” the upcoming “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” reboot. And that has worked.
Variety, the trade paper, has just published a ratings comparison for the top 50 broadcast and cable channels. HGTV is comfortably at No. 9. It’s down 10 per cent, but the fiction-driven networks, which are hit the hardest by streaming networks. The drop was 14 per cent for TNT, 17 per cent for TBS and OWN, 18 per cent for USA, 21 per cent for the terrific FX, 22 per cent for AMC.
That leaves HGTV with almost twice the audience of FX or Lifetime … and more than twice as much as Freeform, MTV, Syfy and more. Maybe it doesn’t need to cover the parade any more. Still, this will take a while to get used to the cascade of commercials upon commercials.