TV Guide Fall Preview Issue

 Curio & Co. reads through the TV Guide Fall Preview Issue. Collection of TV guides from the past with retro covers. Curio and Co.

When leaves begin to turn and kids head back to school, you know it’s time for a new TV season.

TV viewing habits have changed a lot in the last fifteen years. With the introduction of TiVo in 1998, we could start watching TV shows whenever we wanted. (Well, theoretically we could do that using the timer on a VCR, but I don’t know anyone who was able to master the clock on a VCR, let alone the timer.)

Then with the rise of the internet, viewers not only got away from TV schedules, they got away from TVs altogether.

One thing I miss in all this, though, it the TV Guide Fall Preview issue.

Sure, you can still get TV Guide (now called TV Guide Magazine), and they have pretty extensive coverage of the fall line-up on their website. But every year when the leaves change colors, I start to miss that fattened issue from my childhood.

This crucial issue, usually out in late August or early September, included detailed information about each network’s prime-time line-up of shows, and critics provided thoughtful insight to help you choose your half-hours wisely. According to this New York Times article on TV Guide’s drastic change in 2010, at the height of TV Guide’s power, “studios would clamor to get their ads placed next to the prime-time listings, knowing that the magazine sat on as many as 20 million coffee tables each week.”

For me, the Fall Preview mirrored my kid-sized hopes and fears heading back to school: Would I make new friends? Would I re-connect with old friends? Would I still be tormented by ones I wish had dropped out? It was all in the TV Guide.

Behold the brand-new shows which may just turn out to be your new favorite hours during the week! Feast you eyes on these returning shows that you will welcome with open arms like dear friends! Shed a tear for these cancelled shows that join the ranks of honored comrades that are gone but not forgotten! Get a load of these turkeys that you’re going to have to put up with all year!

When the Fall Preview issue arrived, I would curl up on the couch and peer into the future. Good or bad, it was all there, in glossy pages with our address sticker on the front. If only life had such a preview.