- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2006

TV nation

By the end of this year, Americans will have spent nearly 10 hours a day watching television; surfing the Internet; reading books, newspapers and magazines; and listening to music. Yet almost half that time will have been spent in front of the small screen, Reuters news agency reports, citing data released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007.

The information — culled from Census Bureau surveys, data collected by other government agencies plus industry and trade groups and private organizations — projects that Americans will have spent an average of nearly 4 hours in front of the television each day in 2006, or 1,555 hours for a combined annual total. Another 2 hours will have been spent listening to radio and an additional 30 minutes listening to recorded music. The rest of the nearly 10 hours will have been spent reading newspapers, surfing the Web, playing video games and reading other media, Reuters reports.

Projections indicate per capita time spent with the Internet will exceed time spent reading newspapers this year for the first time. Overall, Americans spend about a half hour per day on each activity.

Holiday watch:

Seasonal fare airing on TV tonight:

• “Frosty’s Winter Wonderland,” 7 p.m. ABC Family. The 1976 sequel to the original Frosty special features Andy Griffith as the narrator while Jackie Vernon voices the fabled snowman — who fulfills the promise that he’ll be back again someday. When Frosty returns to town from the North Pole, the children build the lonely snowman a wife, Crystal. However, the new couple soon face trouble from a jealous Jack Frost.

• “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” 7 p.m. Cartoon Network. Here’s something from the vaults: Mr. Magoo plays Ebenezer Scrooge in a take on Charles Dickens’ classic story. The animated tale, made in 1962, features the voices of Jim Backus (later Thurston Howell III on “Gilligan’s Island”) as the nearsighted Mr. Magoo, Morey Amsterdam (“The Dick Van Dyke Show”) as Brady and James, Jack Cassidy as Bob Cratchit and a memorable score by award-winning Broadway tunesmiths Jule Styne and Bob Merrill (“Funny Girl.”).

• “I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown,” 8 p.m. ABC. This 2003 special focuses on the younger generation of Peanuts characters. Linus and Lucy’s younger brother, Rerun, asks Santa for one thing, while Snoopy’s own brother, Spike, comes to visit.

• “Off Season,” 9 p.m. Hallmark Channel. Rory Culkin, Macaulay’s little brother, stars in this 2001 made-for-TV movie about a youngster who, after his parents’ deaths, moves in with an aunt (played by Sherilyn Fenn of “Twin Peaks” fame). He soon befriends an elderly neighbor (the late Hume Cronyn, in one of his last roles) — who may actually be old St. Nick.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance from staff and wire reports.

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