Thoughts on TV Guide’s 2019 Fall Preview Issue

TV Guide‘s 2019 Fall Preview issue came out yesterday. In the past, I’ve had trouble finding a place to buy TV Guide but I went to a local grocery store this morning and found it right away. Multiple copies on multiple shelves in the checkout area. Assuming each shelving unit originally had more than one copy of the issue, several people had already purchased the issue before I bought my copy today. I doubt it’s going to sell out but if you’re interested in picking up the 2019 Fall Preview issue, it couldn’t hurt to look for it sooner rather than later.

I haven’t found TV Guide‘s annual Fall Preview issue useful for a long, long time. It’s the only issue I buy and I only buy it because I’ve been collecting Fall Preview issues for almost 20 years. This year’s Fall Preview is perhaps the most underwhelming yet. Like last year, new shows are grouped into categories but unlike last year’s issue, which included eight categories, this year there are only four: Comedy, Drama, PBS, and Sci-Fi. New shows on the networks, cable channels, and streaming services are lumped together.

Scan of the front cover to the 2019 Fall Preview issue of TV Guide
Cover to the 2019 Fall Preview issue of TV Guide Magazine
(© 2019 TV Guide Magazine, LLC)

Every new show is given a brief summary, some with cast or creator/producer interviews, others with detailed information about characters.

Eight new shows receive the TV Guide “Editors’ Choice” seal of approval: Carol’s Second Act (CBS), Perfect Harmony (NBC), The Unicorn (CBS), Stumptown (ABC), Modern Love (Prime Video), Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns (PBS), Watchmen (HBO), Batwoman (The CW).

There is no network prime time grid but there is a calendar with series premiere dates for new shows through November.

The magazine had about 1.2 million subscribers during the first six months of 2019, roughly the same as the first six months of 2018, so there is an audience for a print magazine with TV listings. I’m not part of that audience and never have been. After leafing through this issue, I have to admit I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep buying the Fall Preview issue of TV Guide every year. There are large gaps in my Fall Preview collection I’d much rather focus on filling in.


Do you still a TV Guide subscriber? Do you collect Fall Preview issues? Share your thoughts in the comments.

8 Replies to “Thoughts on TV Guide’s 2019 Fall Preview Issue”

  1. I’ve got fall preview issues going back to the late 70s, but I gave up when TV Guide changed formats and decided to ape Entertainment Weekly (which in turn has basically become Entertainment Monthly).

    1. Another publishing blunder! It was bad enough when EW started skipping weeks like TV Guide, now they’re down to half as many issues while still charging the same price for an annual subscription!

    2. “Entertainment Weekly” officially went monthly last month, and I WISH they’d change their name to “Entertainment MONTHLY,” because that is what it is now. Never mind what they said when they announced the change while retaining the brand name that it would allow for them to expand their brand to include more online, etc. content. “Weekly” on the print magazine is very misleading and it only will be a matter of time when a concerned reader or readers complain about it with litigation. It will take more than just letters and petitions to convince Meredith Corp. (EW’s owners as of last year) to correct that error. As for TV Guide I really, really miss those pocket-size issues from too many years’ ago now. And their Fall Preview covers were sights to behold with their original artwork. All gone …

  2. It seems to me they always missed shows, although did try to cover most of the major broadcast TV shows. Nowadays the big focus for new shows is streaming and I don’t think the magazine ever covered those. I could see it being of use to those with just off-air reception and limited or no access to the Internet.

  3. I believe I stopped buying the Fall Preview issues back in the early 1990s, and l’m surprised that, this year, one of only four categories is PBS, for I recall that network used to be ignored in the old Preview issues.

    On an unrelated TV Guide matter — I know a retired rural mail carrier, and recently I saw a photo from about 1990, showing her at the post office sorting mail into slots for every house on her route. About one fourth of the slots had a copy of TV Guide in them.

  4. In the early 1990s I found TV Guide very useful. I moved to Sweden (the first time) in 1994, and one thing that initially bothered me was that there was no equivalent of TV Guide in Sweden. (Don’t get me started on the effed-up way that TV works in Sweden….)

    I moved back to the U.S. in 2005, shortly before TV Guide revamped itself out of all usefulness. I think I bought one issue to see what it was like, and that convinced me how useless it had become.

    Of course, since then TV itself has become irrelevant to me.

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