"How do you watch all that TV?"
I've been asked that question for most of my life, and my answer has always been the same - "Priorities."
When I was a little kid, I would transcribe the TV Guide that came to my house each week and align network programming grids. My dad introduced me to the genius of The Honeymooners and SCTV, while my mom preferred The Twilight Zone and Mary Tyler Moore. TV was in my blood. I dreamed about getting one of those giant satellite dishes, but the line needed to be drawn somewhere.
As I grew older, syndication and cable programming created more opportunities to watch, but the major innovation was the VCR. I could record programs, and made stacks of tapes of my favorite series. This made a huge difference in my viewing habits (and probably the size of my rear end) from all the couch time.
COLLEGE & MARRIAGE
In college, I joked with my housemates about when our favorite shows started to go downhill, and "jump the shark" was born. There was plenty of time to watch in college, and when I met my soon to be wife, she knew what she was getting into if she stuck with me long term.
As the years passed, technology aided my viewing habits with TiVo and the East and West coast feeds of DirecTV. Now I was able to record twice the programming, or catch an early prime time show at 11 or midnight on the West coast feed. Working on the Jump The Shark every night alerted me to TV trends and what was worth watching that particular evening.
I didn't miss any family moments or events as my kids grew up. I was there for the birthday parties, saw all the recitals, traveled to Disney, coached teams, you name it...and I was happy to be there for those special times. Watching TV also became part of our family routine, and being able to record stuff allowed for lots of flexibility.
These days I have Cablevision and DirecTV on the TV's in my house, all with recordable boxes. My main TV has an external hard drive for additional storage, a must with HD programming.
Sports is really the only thing I watch live anymore. On Sunday nights I record six to eight programs, and then I'll watch them throughout the week. On Monday to Wednesday, I usually watch and record TV from around 730pm to 10pm. Thursdays and Fridays I can stay up a little later and get some extra viewing in. I catch up on the weekends, and then it all starts over again.
I'm also aided by the networks sending me pilots and other episodes. Plus with On Demand, instant viewing on Netflix, and DVD box sets galore, it's much easier to catch up on practically any show these days. Let's face it, you don't even need a TV to watch with the advances iViewing has made.
HOW IT'S DONE
I've been married for 21 years and my daughters are now in their teens, but I still get my TV in. I learned to appreciate clever children's programming like Arthur and Yo Gabba Gabba and tolerated torture like Barney when my kids were little. Now we watch Modern Family together. I watched thirtysomething to appease my girlfriend in college, and now I'm watching Mad Men or The Good Wife with my good wife.
Another question I used to get asked was "How are you going to make a living sitting around watching all that TV?" Thankfully, I was able to figure that out too.
It's all about priorities.