The 2013 fall preview edition of TV Guide Magazine (with listings covering Monday, September 16th through Sunday, September 22nd) hit newsstands early last week. I don’t subscribe to the magazine but do collect the fall preview issues. I believe I have every issue going back to 1967, most of which were given to me by a family member, and hope to one day put together a complete collection. I have been waiting for this year’s fall preview issue to come out but almost missed it. I had to go to three stores this morning before I found one that carried TV Guide Magazine.
The cashier, upon seeing what I was buying, was very surprised and said she didn’t even know the magazine was still being published. I’m sure she’s not the only one. TV Guide Magazine is nowhere near as popular as it once was. In the late 1970s, the annual fall preview issue sold over 20 million copies and was the single best-selling issue of any magazine in the country.
This year’s fall preview issue is the 60th to be published. The very first, covering the 1953-1954 season, was released in mid-September 1953. At the time, DuMont was still a full-fledged network. Most of the new and returning shows would premiere in October. Among the new shows were Jukebox Jury, Marge and Jeff (DuMont), Make Room for Daddy (ABC), Letter to Loretta (NBC), Topper (CBS), My Favorite Husband (CBS), and the second version of Kraft Television Theatre (ABC).
This year’s fall preview includes a list of the top ten new shows according to TV Guide Magazine: Hostages, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Mom, The Originals, The Blacklist, Back in the Game, Reign, Almost Human and The Michael J. Fox Show. Each of these shows is given either a nice write-up or an interview with cast members. The rest of the new shows are broken down on a night-by-night basis, with a paragraph about each. Senior Critic Matt Roush gives his take on all 36 new shows. There’s also a pull-out guide and a page devoted to PBS.
I don’t buy the the fall preview issue every year to read about the new shows premiering this fall. I buy it because I consider it a tangible connection to television’s past. For six decades, TV Guide Magazine has released one of these fall previews every year. For a long time, the fall preview issue was a must for television fans eager to see what the network’s were offering. While it’s promotional power has greatly diminished over the past twenty or thirty years, there are still plenty of people who look forward to its release every year. I’m one of them.
Bonus: You can watch commercials for the 1962 and 1979 fall preview issues here.
(For the record, TV Guide Magazine is currently owned by OpenGate Capitol. TVGuide.com is owned by CBS Interactive. TVGN, formerly TV Guide Network, is co-owned by CBS Corporation and Lions Gate Entertainment.)