Picks and Pans Main: Tube

updated 04/26/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/26/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

There's another alarming trend taking root in television. Recently a pair of syndicated perennials, Hee Haw (25 seasons) and People's Court (12), announced they were striking the sets, sacking the crews and cashiering the casts. Yet both shows will stay on the air. Excuse me, kemo sabe, but exactly how is this possible? You may well ask. It seems the producers noticed that the ratings didn't exhibit significant variance whether they put on a freshly minted episode or a 10-year-old rerun. So, they figured, why go to the needless expense and hassle of producing new shows? It's a hell of a lot more cost-effective simply to recycle the old stuff. Of course this tactic doesn't say much for the discernment of the TV audience or the producers' respect for viewers. Then again, American viewing habits haven't changed all that much since the 50s. Many of us still use TV like a drug to induce a vegetative trance-state. All too often when the tube is on, our brains and our bodies slip into the same gear: park. Even in the age of the remote control, plunk us down in front of a TV set and we'll watch just about anything.

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