Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Movie's Reach Should Exceed Its Grasp

I took a quick look at some of the series that debut this week, and one series caught my eye. ''Movies That Shook the World.'' It premieres on AMC this Friday at 10PM. According to the production company's website for the skein, the series will analyze the following movies:

  • Fatal Attraction (this Friday's ep)
  • The China Syndrome
  • The Graduate
  • The Birth of a Nation
  • American Graffiti
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The Last Temptation of Christ
  • Do The Right Thing
  • The Exorcist

  • That's a pretty impressive list, but these movies aired infrequently on regular TV in the last 20 years.

    Which theatrical films aired most often on TV? You should be able to guess some of these films right away since some holiday classics air almost annually. But a few of these movies will surprise you. Did you know that The Nutty Professor aired nine times in less than four years? Just enough to place it in the top ten.

    Here are the theatrical films that aired most frequently during the last 20 years (9/2/1985 - 9/4/2005, inclusive) on primetime network TV.

    (+/-)most-played theatrical films on TV


    Anonymous said...

    Dr. TV - I'm trying to settle a bet - which has been played more on TV - Jaws, or Feris Buelers Day Off. Is there anyway you can get that info or help me find it?
    Thanks a bunch
    - Awaiting victory

    dr. tv (mike vicic) said...

    I won't be able to fully settle that bet.

    First, those two movies are often repeated on cable and I don't add many cable repeats to my database. Secondly, both movies are often shown locally and that data is difficult to find. Finally, I haven't fully populated my database with pre-1983 network TV airings.

    I can tell you that "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" only aired three times on network TV (5/14/1989 on NBC, 3/4/1990 on NBC, 6/12/2001 on WB).

    I can also tell you that "Jaws" aired at least three times on network TV (11/4/1979 on ABC, 7/20/1986 on ABC, 5/6/2000 on ABC). I'm guessing it also aired a fourth time in 1980/1981, but I have no specific evidence to support this. Though it was typical for a net to air a movie in consecutive years.

    In December I'll be populating my database with network repeats for years prior to 1983 and I'd be able to give a better answer then about whether "Jaws" aired that fourth time or not.

    Finally, if you want to look at recent cable history. Between March 18 and July 8 of this year, "Jaws" aired four times (3/18 on A&E, 3/19 on A&E, 7/2 on AMC, 7/3 on AMC) while "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" aired only three times (4/9 on Spike, 5/20 on WGN, 6/29 on WGN).

    Jerry In Gladstone Oregon said...

    I completely agree with 18-9, however what are the top 8, most repeated movies?
    I'd have to think #1 Dirty Dancing and #2 Pretty Woman, am I close?
    Jerry In Gladstone Oregon


    dr. tv (mike vicic) said...

    Hey Jerry,

    Thanks for the note.

    Based on your comment and question, I didn't do a very good job with the table. The number is the number of airings and not the rank.

    "It's a Wonderful Life" was the most played movie from 9/2/1985 - 9/4/2005 on primetime network TV and was shown 18 times. "The Sound of Music" and "The Ten Commandments" tied for 2nd place with 17 airings.

    During that same time period, "Pretty Woman" only aired four times (11/1/1992 & 10/17/1993 on ABC; 1/30/1995 & 5/11/1996 on NBC) on primetime network TV. "Dirty Dancing" aired only twice (2/13/1990 & 2/9/1991 on CBS).

    Once you include cable broadcasts, all bets are off. I don't have access to that data.

    Jerry In Gladstone Oregon said...

    Thanks alot, I'll definitely check back some other time, I like this site.

    Someone has to have that info, wouldn't you think? (# of times any show has shown on cable or broadcast tv combined)?

    dr. tv (mike vicic) said...

    Hey Jerry,

    Happy to hear that somebody besides me likes the site!

    I would think that TV Guide, Gemstar or Nielsen would have the data you're looking for somewhere in their archives. Good luck prying it out of the cold, stingy hands.

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