Why L.A. Times readers are not happy to lose TV listings



Nearly 200 letters were received from readers unhappy with the decision to discontinue the TV listings we published from a syndicated national service. Here are some of those letters.

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I was shocked, but not totally surprised, by the L.A. Times stopping TV listings [“A Note to TV Readers,” May 2]. As a longtime subscriber, I have seen many changes in the paper (all bad). But with the new owner, who claimed he would make everything better, I was hopeful.

I can go into all the great writers who were fired or left, sections being cut out or some a few times a week. Most days the Sports section reads right to left and Calendar has been cut down so much that it is a downright shame since we are in the hub of entertainment.

But today was the last straw for me. As stated there will no longer be TV listings for the day. Blaming it on streaming services etc. is just another way of cutting out something that many readers, especially the ones over 50, looked forward to seeing not only what is on TV but also the specials and new series starting.

Yes, you are right we can Google it or find other ways of seeing what is on TV. I can also Google the news and sports. What I don’t need anymore is your paper or your e-edition. It is a very sad day for people who still read.

Thanks, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, for ruining one the great newspapers of this country.

I doubt if you will print this but I have done my best to say what many Angelenos are thinking.

Alan Geller
Westlake Village

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Dropping the daily television listings because of streaming is like dropping the weather section because people have windows.

Tom Avildsen
Running Springs

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Even after reading the explanation, I really don’t understand why the small column with nightly TV listings is gone. It was a great quick overview of the evening’s programming.

No more dedicated Food section and now this. Sigh. I wish you’d bring both back.

Sarabeth Rothfeld
Woodland Hills

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As a longtime subscriber, I am disappointed in your decision to discontinue first publishing the TV grids in paper and now the TV Highlights.

As you so correctly mention in your column, this was one of the most “familiar services” the newspaper offers, also it made it easy to catch good shows, to either watch or set up the DVR to record.

Because we spend so much money to subscribe to your paper, (we receive the print copy seven days a week) we are careful and limit which streaming services we subscribe to. I felt your explanation of why you were dropping the service was clear but what the “evolution” of this new service looked like was very unclear.

I don’t need assistance to find out when the Academy Awards is going to be on, the added value is when there is a PBS special that does not receive the press coverage such as the recent Benjamin Franklin documentary.

If you continue to diminish what the L.A. Times offers, it won’t be long till your subscription base will totally evaporate.

As a disappointed customer, I look forward to seeing what the “evolution” looks like and then decide if it’s time to end my long-term relationship with your paper.

Rick DuFresne
Huntington Beach

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Sad to read that TV Highlights will no longer be a part of The Times. People like myself, who are not digital-savvy, rely on the info in the column. Losing David Lazarus was bad enough, now this.

With the recent subscription hike, it’s time to consider whether it’s worth keeping my subscription.

Alma Koki
Rosemead

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Matt Brennan’s “A Note to TV Viewers” [May 2] may have pushed me too far. The paper is getting smaller, the writing is worse, and the price keeps rising, but I believe in supporting print journalism so I have persevered.

I am not surprised that your subscriptions are disappearing. Your paper service to customers is also disappearing. I have subscribed to your paper for over 50 years. You may be misreading your readership. Some of us do not stream TV and have relied on the TV column for information. The e-edition was also helpful, with its complete listings.

I was disappointed when you discontinued publishing the daily TV grid but figured out how to search, find and print it on your website — not as convenient but we all have to adjust to changes.

I was sad and discouraged to find that it is no longer possible to even do that now.

Subscribing for your service continues to offer less and charge more.

I am not a happy camper and will look for a more convenient service.

Elizabeth Patterson
Pasadena

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There is so much I miss that used to be in The Times. I miss the old Food section and Russ Parsons, Chris Erskine, Dan Neil’s car columns, an actual Sports section that didn’t begin on the back page of the California section, thus forcing you to read backward to finish a piece.

I get that print advertising has dried up and everyone is being pushed to digital. Yes, I read the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, and WSJ online. I cannot help wanting a little more from my actual newspaper, the one I pick up off the porch every morning and read with coffee.

You know, my paper. The one that helped me plan my weekly viewing. Such a small column, lately, it seems like so little to ask. I ask that the editors reconsider this decision.

I want a heads up when a new season of “Barry” launches, a “Masterpiece Theatre” episode or something that might be of interest on National Geographic. I should not have to look for this information. It should show up in the Calendar section where it’s supposed to be.

You devote more pages to where to find weed shops, entire color sections of fashions no one will buy or wear and endless city council debates.

I think there are still many of us who have not only a preference but a reverence for print. We are neither geezers nor Luddites. We simply appreciate finding information in the newspaper, and are saddened by the dwindling resources to be found there.

I don’t need to spend half my day trolling Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV and a thousand other sites to see what’s on TV this week.

This is a service that newspapers provide their readers.

After 40 years, I’m out.

Karen Lawrence
San Diego

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I have been a daily subscriber of your paper for 49 years.

I am so disappointed with your decision to cancel the daily television listings.

I am a senior and look forward to seeing what are my selections for my TV viewing and I don’t want to consult the web.

Maybe I’ll cancel.

Jo’Anna Kahn
Woodland Hills

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A note to readers. Just a blip on the radar. No biggy. A tiny announcement by The Times that it will no longer provide readers with television listings.

I’ve been reading the L.A. Times for about 68 years. TV is admittedly a big part of my life.

What will replace television listings as The Times makes changes to honor its name? This sad announcement represents an end for me.

Gini Hassing
Arroyo Grande

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TV and Food are the comforting parts of the paper and the reasons that I have continued to subscribe all of these many years.

Please bring them back to your loyal subscribers and the demographic that still reads the paper and watches network television.

Think of adding other streaming options to be more fair, if that truly is the issue.

Cancel culture goes both ways and I would hate to have to do that.

Karen Donato
Santa Paula

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In today’s “A Note to TV Viewers,” you announce the end of daily TV information in the print edition of the L.A. Times, a logical end to your discontinuance of the prime-time grid that you stopped publishing during the time of COVID (at just the time most of us most needed it while stuck at home with only the TV to connect us with the rest of the world).

For those of us who are of a certain age and who do not have access to the digital version of the L.A. Times and who do not subscribe to streaming services and do not subscribe to your newsletters, this is just another nail in the coffin of the print edition.

Why do I pay more and more for less and less until the print edition of The Times disappears altogether? I’ll die soon, anyway, so it doesn’t really matter to either of us.

Good night and good luck.

Henry Hespenheide
Hermosa Beach

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I suggest you drop the name “Calendar” from this section. The word suggests a listing of events, all of which appear to have been abandoned. Bad move.

Robert Lerner
Valley Center

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Surely you know that most of your subscribers still value the newspaper over internet news and we also watch a lot of TV. You took away movie theater schedules and now TV listings. The mini sports section is on the backside of California section. Watch for more people to unsubscribe.

Carol Lamar
Yorba Linda

Editor’s note: The movie theater schedules that appear in the paper are advertisements.

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Bring back TV listings, please. All of my favorite parts of the paper have disappeared. I’m not sure why I still subscribe but for loyalty — bring back the remaining helpful section of the paper — the TV listings or you might, and should, lose subscribers.

Susan Vance
Santa Monica

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One thing to consider: You have a loyal group of senior citizens who are accustomed to a “paper” version of the L.A. Times and do not have the skills, experience or patience to access online versions.

They subscribe to the paper for information and entertainment. As it is, today’s newspapers are an anemic version of what we grew up with but we have lowered our expectations and adjusted.

However, if you keep eliminating the few features we enjoy, we will be moving on to another method of finding ways to receive the features we want.

Linda Rodrick
Rancho Palos Verdes

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I put up with a lot in the totally left-wing propaganda L.A. Times because I like entertainment news, weather info, lotto results, comics and TV listings. Your explanation of the deletion of the TV listings section doesn’t even make any sense.

Bring back the TV listings within the month, or I will cancel my subscription.

Roy Midyett
Covina

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No. We want TV listings.

From a subscriber who will probably cancel.

Elinore Lyon
Murrieta

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I guess the L.A. Times has kicked the seniors to the curb and decided that they no longer matter at all. Many seniors are not computer-savvy or not online at all.

Please reconsider the decision to no longer print the TV listings in the Times everyday.

Laurie Kelson
Encino

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Noooooo! I read the column listing TV shows every day so I don’t miss what is new.

Parrish Hirasaki
Culver City

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As a reader of your paper for over 50 years, I am really sad to not see the TV guide.

Sometimes my DirecTV does not tape something or I want to check Hallmark/Lifetime movies to tape. Also, new shows coming up.

This is what I checked every day.

This guide has meant a lot to people and you did a great job at it. I hope you can help to get it back.

Ann Prevost
Villa Park

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Why would you discontinue daily TV highlights? How does that make sense? It’s one of the few things the newspaper does better than anything online. It’s the first thing I look at in the morning, followed by the comics. (You better not be thinking about dropping the comics!)

I don’t plan to cancel my subscription, but I think dropping the TV grid and now highlights is shortsighted and will result in others canceling their subscriptions.

I’m angry about this decision, but I’m also rooting for The Times to survive and thrive.

Doug Cox
Burbank

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I’d bet that a disproportionate share of your readers are older folks who want to see their TV listings. I think you are driving them away.

My biggest concern is getting notice of things on various PBS specials and unique shows on other channels that are not streamed.

Will they continue to be flagged in the Sunday edition?

Randy Garrou
West Los Angeles

Editor’s note: TV This Week will continue in print in Sunday Calendar and digitally in the Screen Gab newsletter (you can sign up here).

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I avoid all (anti) social media, and I do not (as of now) stream television programming, which I fully acknowledge puts me squarely “behind the times” — a place Matt Brennan tells me is a lousy place to be, at least if you’re a newspaper with the word “Times” in your name.

Silly me — I’ve always thought the role of a newspaper (or any other source of information) was to keep its readership apprised of news and information that is of use to that readership.

I fully understand that there are far more consequential events in our beleaguered world than television listings, but honestly — how much will The Times’ bottom line benefit from eliminating all coverage of “what’s on TV tonight/this week”?

It’s bad enough you deleted the daily TV grid from print — now you’re deleting that information entirely?

Subscription prices increase regularly, and yet the return on that investment decreases just as regularly.

I’d love to know how many letters The Times receives in favor of this latest cutback.

Beryl Arbit
Encino

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I was disappointed to see the newspaper will no longer include the TV listing grid in the e-edition. That is very unfortunate. It’s one of the most valuable and useful sections. I have been subscribed to the e-edition solely to have access to the TV listings. It was very convenient to see the whole grid on one page and made it easier for me to plan my day and setup the DVR to record programs for later viewing.

Another thing I’ve disliked about the newspaper is the first page of the Sports section being at the end of the California section. As I’m reading through the e-edition, I get to the Weather page and then there’s sports news at the bottom carried over from a page I haven’t read yet. Then I’m in effect reading the Sports news backward and end up with the Sports front page as the last page. Very awkward. Only Sunday and Monday have dedicated Sports sections. Weird, because your Sports section is the best around, yet you give the California section higher priority and stick the Sports at the back end. Not very smart, in my opinion.

Less coverage for TV is unfortunate for you and me and all subscribers. If you are forcing me to get TV listings elsewhere, then why should I bother looking at the Los Angeles Times? I can get sports news and scores from the ESPN app, and there are many online sources to get local, state, national and international news. In my opinion, you will continue to lose subscribers for reasons like this, and eventually you won’t have any left.

I stopped my printed copy daily delivery a few months ago, mainly because the TV grid wasn’t printed anymore. Once my current subscription has expired, I will not renew.

Gary Shockley
Palmdale

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Getting rid of the TV grid was a bad idea. When I pick up the paper and bring it in to read at breakfast, the first thing I look at is the TV highlights to see what’s on that night. I already know the news, what I want is useful information about what I can watch that night that isn’t depressing news.

I already checked out your Screen Gab and it’s useless. A whole page of apps I don’t want to click on.

I know what’s streaming already cause I have all the apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime and HBO and the rest. The apps tell you what’s new; I don’t need the L.A. Times for that. What I need is the regular TV schedule.

So, I have canceled my subscription.

Susan Beauchene
Santa Monica

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Please please bring back daily TV listings.

Everything related to TV entertainment was on one page and easily accessed. Now one has to jump through multiple hoops to find programs on different channels.

Betty Beckert
West Hills

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I am news junkie. My parents subscribed to The Times, and when I became an adult, I subscribed as well. I read it every day. Even when it is difficult, as it is now, as news is just hard to read.

One way to ease into the paper was to see what I could watch on TV each day. I accepted the removal of the TV grid; that did take up a lot of real estate. However, the sunsetting of the “What’s on TV” feature is a true loss. It’s not urgent information — it’s not a dealbreaker — but it was a bright spot.

What shows were capturing the zeitgeist? What shows are recommended? Who was going to be on the talk shows? I will miss this connection.

Jeannette Bronson
Los Angeles

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I travel a lot (although not as much as before the pandemic) and wherever I go I always buy the local newspaper. I can say that the TV grids provided by the L.A. Times online were the best anywhere. I would look there first, even in a different time zone, because it was always the most helpful.

And while newspapers have all gotten smaller the last few years, most still have some TV listings, and many still run TV grids.

And that makes sense because more of your readers are probably watching TV every night than are doing all the other things in your paper (going to movies, theater, concerts, reading books) put together. And that includes streaming.

Carl Adams
Santa Monica

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Just want to join the list of disgruntled readers who find it absolutely ridiculous that The Times dropped the daily TV listing.

The biggest newspaper in Hollywood actually kills the daily TV listings. You’d think the studios, networks and independent producers would be screaming about this.

Get a clue, L.A. Times.

Jan Furutani
Los Angeles

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What makes the difference in what newspaper you subscribe to?

One reason I subscribe to L.A. Times is the daily TV program summary, which my local newspaper does not have.

Andy Ott
Rolling Hills Estates

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I was deeply disappointed to read that The Times has decided to no longer publish television listings, courtesy of a national service. It always brought to my attention new shows that I might be interested in viewing.

I have subscribed to The Times for over 25 years and noticed that the paper has become far-left-leaning in the Op-Ed section as well as many daily reporting sections.

There are few Times paper subscribers left in my neighborhood. I can understand why.

Gloria Simms
Winnetka

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OK, so I know absolutely everything that goes wrong these days is blamed on COVID, so please tell me how that has caused the termination of one of the few remaining helpful sections in the L.A. Times?

I am referencing the daily TV listings. Movie reviews have become almost nonexistent and the book reviews are so one-note it’s not even funny. But at least the TV listings and descriptions of shows were unbiased and even funny in the weekly ones on Sunday — “I tells ya’”!

Maybe our subscription will be the next thing to disappear. Bring it back, please.

Deborah Hubbert
Newbury Park

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Bad decision. I am very disappointed. I TiVo everything I watch, and I often found things in the daily column that I immediately set to record. I would have missed these shows otherwise. So what if streaming is in its second decade? I’m fully into the digital age, but still really appreciated the daily heads up on talk shows, premieres, documentaries, etc.

Big mistake. I hope you reconsider if enough people are disappointed in this decision.

Doris Melnick
Newport Coast

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Stopping the TV highlights and listing grid is a mistake. You are not acknowledging the broad range of your readers. Most people that still read a newspaper are in the older age range thus also are the people that still watch the networks, etc. Or, like myself, watch “standard” TV and stream.

I also get much of my news on the internet. So this action will be part of my decision to continue my L.A. Times hybrid subscription.

Please revisit this decision.

Penny Van Dyke
Valencia

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So now the time has come for The Times to completely ignore the segment of the population that I belong to. The one who does not stream, does not want messages delivered to an inbox, who might not even have an inbox, and probably doesn’t live on a cellphone or other electronic devices.

By ceasing to offer even the limited bits of information about what is on TV, The Times is putting one more nail in the coffin of print newspapers.

Susan Greenberg
Los Angeles





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