Less sexy, more filling

I‘ve been getting a lot of email about the lack of re-runs for The Screen Savers. There’s nothing I can do about it, folks. Management already knows what I think. You need to let them know what you think.
Sign Mike Demers’s online petition and email feedback@techtv.com.

TechTV’s programmers don’t believe help shows like The Screen Savers and Call for Help belong in prime time. I guess we’ve become the public affairs programming of TechTV: the shows they have to do but don’t really like. It’s part of the general sea change at the channel. They tell me it’s necessary as the network matures.

I can understand the need to turn a profit. And supposedly the new sexier, edgier programming is aimed at a younger demographic that’s more appealing to advertisers. It does make me feel like a little bit of an old shoe, however. Well, I’m going to just keep on doing what I do for as long as someone will watch. I may not be edgy, sexy, and youthful, but I do look good in a kilt. Wait a minute. That’s Patrick. Never mind.

154 Replies to “Less sexy, more filling”

  1. Quite frankly, the channel’s gone down the toilet. I tune in or TiVo for one hour a day now, and that’s for Screensavers.
    Thunderbirds sucked when I was a kid, and it still sucks. How many episodes of Robot Wars are we going to be bored with? The Anime thing.. well. I do know there are a lot of people that like Anime, but it’s not my cup of tea.
    The programmers need to realize that people tune in for things like the Screensavers (or at least I think they do) and should head back in that direction.

  2. Watching Unscrewed is like having a nice, slow root canal. If anyone can actually sit through an entire show my hats off to ya.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more Leo. I just hope we aren’t seeing the end of TechTV in a slow decline. My vision for TechTV… keep all the help and how to shows (ie. Call for Help, TSS etc.) Add several shows that are for the hard core geeks, ie. a Linux, programming etc. shows. Enhance and expand the “review” shows like XPlay, Fresh Gear etc. Make TechLive slightly longer each day. Finally round out the lineup with Discovery Channel like documentaries focusing on technology applications for example: the construction of the new airport in Hong Kong with emphasis on technology overcoming nature.
    The current lineup of new shows is terrible and if not for TSS and Call for Help I really wouldn’t be watching this station at all.

  4. Leo, I am a fan . I am a woman of a certian age that got hooked on the Screen Savers. I am techno challenged. None of it comes easily to me, but Leo makes it seem that even I could learn and actually keep up with my young adult college kids. For that I’m eternally grateful.

  5. I agree with Jason, we need to bring back Silicon Spin and stop the bs. I admit, I am a fan of anime, but i still think that the channel is called TechTV for a reason. There needs to be more tech oriented shows and less shows like Unplugged that barely talks about technology.

  6. Leo,
    The dumbing-down of TechTV seems to be an unfortunate, and continuing, trend which began when Ziff Davis stepped out of the picture, and a trend which seems to be accelerating. I have thoroughly enjoyed the shows you have been associated with, and for that I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks.
    Torpedoes away… (Petition signed, e-mail sent.)
    Allen Hilburn
    New Mexico, USA

  7. Is justice just ice?
    Governed by greed and lust?
    Just the strong doing what they can
    And the weak suffering what they must?
    And the gas leaks
    And the oil spills
    And sex sells everything
    And sex kills
    Sex kills
    –Joni Mitchell

  8. Hey Leo! If it makes you feel any better, The Screen Savers is on at prime time where i live in NY 🙂

  9. isn’t prime time after 8 o’clock? If so, then Screensavers doesn’t come on in Prime time in NY, it comes on at 7pm…which is kind of a convoluted time which is why i liked the 10pm time slot..i still find myself changing it to techtv at 10, just to find that damn Robot Wars is on.

  10. I think we need to get the tech back in tech tv. I have signed the petition not so much for the time slot issue (Dish PVR takes care of that) but as a protest for the recent change in programming at Tech TV.
    I wonder who Tech TV thinks their core audience is anyway? These are the types of programming changes that drove me away from the sci-fi channel.
    The only two shows that I watch on Tech TV anymore are TSS and Call for Help. I have tried to stomach Martin Sargent’s new show, Unscrewed. I like Martin, but I think the network execs are setting him up for failure. I am afraid that this is another disturbing chapter in the dumbing down of Tech TV.
    Please get Yoshi his own show. He needs to have a show about hacking hardware and modding cases.

  11. Oy! Demographics–who let the marketing genii at TechTV out of lockup? What next, are they going to talk about product, price, placement, and promotion, and then go on to do “social marketing”?
    By failing to pay some attention to the words written by loyal TechTV viewers, such as the ones at Leoville, TechTV management risks upsetting that group, and then losing them to other channels that offer technology information and content. It does not make any financial sense to throw away a valuable core audience by putting on shows with poor writing and production values that these people abhor.

  12. Just got done watching TSS on my Tivo. The only shows I catch are TSS and X-Play. All I have to say about the anime, sex, and Thunderbirds is that TechTV isn’t the place for them. Whatever happened to the shows like Audiofile? Just because it’s TechTV doesn’t mean that *all* of the shows need to be computer based (or biased, take your pick). Look at shows on other channels like “Good Eats” on foodtv. That show is has enough “tech” to be on TechTV. Innovate, don’t follow other channels like Mtv, VH1, etc into the dumpster.

  13. Hi Leo,
    I must agree with all the other viewers or ex viewers of Tech TV. The channel is going to hell. I remember the first time I stumbled onto Techtv, (then ZDTV), it was back in Auguust of 1998 a few months after you launched. So I’ve seen it all. All the changes, all the people who left, (and I miss,) I also agree with the other people who posted, that TSS, CFH, Fresh Gear, Techlive, X Play, (go back to Extended Play name,) made ZDTV back in the day. If they loose those shows, Techtv is dead. They need to make Fresh Gear longer with more computer products, hardware, and software. Same with (Extended Play,) more game reviews, previews, game gear, gaming consoles, and PC gaming upgrades. I like having two hosts like it use to be. Techlive needs to goto an hour like normal news. I miss the early hosts of that program then, ZDTV News, Victoria, Alice, Erica, Steve, etc. I miss TSS the way it use to be, product tests, questions and more questions. And don’t rush Leo or Pat on answering the question either. Spend time with the caller and you might keep your audience. Move the Blog Report, Curbin Report, Bit Chat to another program like Tech Culture. The Tech of is good. Bring more of that. I also think Yoshi and Patrick should do a hardware, hacking mod program. It’s new and growing area. Keep coming with the tivo hacks. Also if you want to do a late night show, well dumbass excutives out there, once upon a time there a show on ZDTV called Internet Tonight. It was boring yes but it was funny and I always got a laugh. Drop the Unscrewed junk. I tried it and I don’t like it. CFH is finally back to normal thanks Leo.
    Well let’s see where I can comment next on Techtv.
    The head jerk offs need to also realize they need to seed Leo and Pat out to locations again. I remember when I first meant Leo and (Kate) back when they visited York PA. You probably don’t remember me Leo, I thought you didn’t sign the pic of you and Kate and I asked if you would sign it. Speaking of Kate, I know she is off doing her acting and stuff but it would be a smart idea to bring her back. Kate & Leo were the pair. Sorry Pat you’re great and all but you can’t replace Kate. Oh did I mention I am 21 and I started watching when I was 16. You fat jack in the box excutives need to realize we turn to Techtv for tech news, information, help, gear, and games not Sex, Anime, Robot Fights, Spy School, Performance, Army junk, Unsunkered, and others. What happened to Silicon Spin, I admit it sucked @ times but John Devorak told it as it was in technology. I liked him and I didn’t like him, but overall I really liked the show. If you bigwhigs want to revive the network they need to look into the archive and return the old shows that made this network. This Sex, British, and Anime need to die NOW!!!!. The 7EST CFH and 9EST TSS need to return as well. I am not the only one to change my TV after CFH and TSS. I’ve no longer keep TechTV on 24/7 cause I can’t stand it. Need I mention Techtv has made more skilled @ fixing other people’s computers!! Techtv will die soon if not corrected, it will lose its fan base. Another word for those asses out there who make the dumbass choices, most of your viewers have Tivos. If you need feedback contact Tivo and let them track Techtv viewers. IT ISN’T THAT HARD. The old Ratings system sucks ass if it does it job ever.
    Sorry for the words but I am pissed Techtv is pissing it’s viewers away from the Network by adding “non tech” stuff. Oh by the way I bought your book Leo.
    Thanks Leo for fighting the fight and telling us. I am off to sign the pitition and fire off a message to your dumbass bosses.
    Jason Dellinger

  14. I can just see TechTV a year from now, 1 hour a day with an Eminem lookalike hosting “The B*tch & Ho Show” and 23 hours of pron and rap.
    YAY!!! I can’t wait.

  15. The head jerk off is a fat jack in the box excutive PAUL ALLEN BASTARD!!!! a$@Hole for letting Tech Tv go to the dogs.

  16. Dude… i was SUCH a huge fan of ZDTV back in the days of yonder (1998). I was a teen in high school who just discovered this awesome channel the day it premiered on DirecTV. I could even stand the first year of TechTV. But man, the programming sucks to boot now.
    I took for granted the cool shows and personalities i could count on at ZDTV. I was there from Day 1… DirecTV channel 273 as Leo once proclaimed… i would watch SILICON SPIN, INTERNET TONIGHT, ZDTV NEWS, COMPUTER SHOPPER, FRESH GEAR, THE SCREEN SAVERS, CALL FOR HELP, BIG THINKERS, THE MONEY MACHINE, CYBER CRIME, PAGEVIEW, ZIP FILE, GAMESPOT TV, etc… as you can tell the channel was on 24/7.
    Man, back in ’98, i felt like a kid in a candy store and absorbed so much information from this new channel. I started out as a high school kid who didn’t know how to create a new folder in a directory, to a self proclaimed Tech Enthusiast. I can seriously say I learned more information from ZDTV than i ever learned from a teacher in school. I learned about finance, computers, the tech industry, etc…
    I’m sticking by Leo and his show’s, cause thats all thats left thats worth a damn. I love Michaela and Sumi cause they’ve been there since the beginning! (But Even Their Shows have Nose Dived) Man, I think I still have an old tape of ZDTV and it seriously made me cry seeing Kate and Leo working together. I remember when the channel was a COMMUNITY, with viewers constantly in chat rooms or on TV net cams. Now it just feels like mush. Get the old personalities back: Jim Louderback, Kate Botello, Lauren Fielder, John Dvorak, Victoria Recano, Scott Herriot, Alice, Erica, etc…
    Now I’m 5 years older, in college, and much wiser. I can seriously owe a lot of that to ZDTV. The channel made me motivated, made me aim higher, get good grades, and made me ponder going into computer science (which i later decided not to go into… rather put my focus in business). Now, i wish Tech TV could grow up, and stick to it’s original motto (from ZDTV) “Amaze Yourself”. It’s new motto, “New things. Turn Us On,” describes its new direction, and I’m not going there with them and I’m sure the rest of you feel the same.

  17. I couldn’t agree with you more Will, I just graduated high school, and would not know as much as i know today if not for ZDTV. I have tought my computer teachers a lot of stuff, and they ask where I learned it, I use to say TechTV. But anymore, with me working to 6:30 every day, and not getting home until 7:30 sometimes 8, I can’t see any more of the last of my favourite shows. Instead I am force feeded robot wars and sex shows. Sad sad.

  18. Good news… sort of. TechTV Canada has seen the light and has returned the 10pm EST rerun of TSS. They even have a flashy popup add telling everyone about it. From what I have been told, TechTV Canada is the most sucessful “specialty cable” channel in Canada with over 500,000 subscribers. I guess the thought of 500,000 unsubscribers did not make good business sense and thus the return. Thanks to all who have signed the petition , hopefully TTV south of the border will follow baby brothers lead.

  19. Hey Leo, this is my first time on putting my two cents on your blog. As it has been said before, TSS and CFH are awesome shows. I’m glad that they are at least a few hardcore tech shows left in the world to get my geek on.
    I’m a huge gamer and anime fan, but I have problems with both of them on Tech TV. X-Play is not excatly the new show I wish it was going to be. Morgan is a cutie and all, but I dont know, it seems that her and Adam dont excatly spark a good duo like Adam and Kate did, and he did do the show very well solo. The reviews dont have enough content, they need more meat!!! And that annoucner guy, I so want to rip is head because he makes me pull my hair everytime I hear him speak!!!
    In all, X-Play is sort of what happened in Wayne’s World when the show went from the basement floor of Wayne’s house, to a big TV studio. Its too organized and controled it seems.
    Now for Anime Unleased. At first when I heard about this, I was excitied to see what kind of anime shows they would bring, and well, now I’m not so excitied. I mean, they show it too much and most of the shows, if not all of them, arent really worth watching. I recommed all of you that if you want to watch some GOOD anime, just watch cartoon network which has some great anime like, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Inuyasha, and of course the ever awesome, Dragon Ball Z and Ruroni Kenshin!
    And now for the rest of the show as a whole, its pretty awful. Wired for sex?! Jesus, talk about selling out, I havent watch the show yet from what I hear it sounds like a porn fest or something!! Look, there are channels dedcated to that kind of stuff, and if I want to learn about sex, I have a few friends that I can learn many things, I dont need a show to teach me thank you.
    Thunderbirds, or Thuderturds is more like it! I hate that bloody show so much!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why wont it die??? Its sucks big time!!!!!!!!!!! I want those puppets to burn and die!!! Ok, just to sum it up, I dont like Thudercrap. Lets move on.
    Robot Wars is ok, but it should be on another network, in fact, it was! It was on TNN and it was the American version, why do the TTV guys get the older episodes from GB? Hmmm, while we are on the subject of British TV, Techno games is boring as hell, I’m sorry, its just a bunch of dumb robots doing boring things, and Future Fighting Machines? Well actualy I do like that show (hehehehe, destruction, heheheh!!) :Ahem:
    What did happen to Audio File?? I liked that show, espeically because of Kris Kosach, what a hottie, at least she still does some segments on Tech Live, at least I hope she still does.
    Anyway, I’ve said more than enough, if anyone actually reads all of this, I commened you on a job well done and that you have infinite pacients.
    Keep up the good work, Leo, you rock!

  20. Well I’m not sure tech tv has instore for future programing but I sure hope it involves CFH and TSS
    These 2 shows are the main reason I watch Tech Tv and I’m sure I’m not the only one either.And if the Big guy’s at Tech Tv read this…Don’t you dare get rid of Leo or Patrick They are the are what makes the screensavers in my opinion and I hope to see them doing this even when they have to use a cane to get around…LOL!

  21. I agree w/ Nathan Smith techtv is becoming more
    mature! It is practicly not G rated anymore what
    with Martins new show “Unscrewed”.
    E-you l8r!

  22. I agree w/ Nathan Smith techtv is becoming more
    mature! It is practicly not G rated anymore what
    with Martins new show “Unscrewed”.
    E-you l8r!

  23. Wow..I ran into this and am impressed that Leo is doing this. The joke here is that Leo has carried the network since day ONE and it’s been interesting to see the life sucked out of him by management. My own story is plenty amusing (to be told someday — a gem). Despite the fact that Leo is a relentless promoter and even wrote that book for next-to-nothing I have never seen much from that outfit in the way of thanking him. The end was near when Leo was forced to stop wearing his jazzy Hawaiian shirts. Why? What was the point? Power trips? The shirts had charm. Ask Leo EXACTLY how much broadcasting experience he has had…then ask him EXACTLY how much advice they ask him for. ZERO — that’s how much. The fact that he has to petition his own employer is ridiculous. And my favorite example of this was the hiring of Chris Pirillo. Here’s a guy who knows online marketing, websites, etc. Not once was he ever asked for advice on the miserable TTV site. NOT ONCE. Weird. Everyone at TTV is an expert it seems — except the experts.
    I’m outta here..sorry for the intrusion.

  24. go leo, its your birthday…tss lan party tonite…hehe. i better get picked, or else.
    i dont even watch tech tv for the shows… i watch for leo, cfh, tss. if he is not on, i dont watch. we just need more leo!

  25. This post just sounds like all the others here, but I gotta throw in my $.02.
    I started watching when it was ZDTV. I loved it. I kept it no almost all day because I was learning things. CFH, TSS, Internet Tonight, Fresh Gear, all of them taught me something. And what I learned translated in to bucks for somebody as the tech shows influenced my buying.
    I watch TechTV for info on TECH hardware/gadgets, how-to’s on solving TECH problems, news on TECH issues and developments, etc. If I want cartoons and sex there are other networks dedicated to those things and who do it a lot better. TECHtv should be dedicated to…brace yourself, this sounds waaay out there…TECH!
    The turn the channel has taken means that where I once kept the channel on all day except for an hour or two here or there, I now never watch it and just TIVO The ScreenSavers. My attention and dollars are now tuned to the ‘Net instead of TechTV. I miss the 24hr technology channel.

  26. Leo’s Inane Comment:
    I cannot find any support for your inane comment that computer programmers “lose their edge” after age 30. I contacted various universities and experts. Not one of them ever heard of anything so inane and ageist. I am age 52 and still learning and improving my skills, especially C# .Net. And, so are my colleagues of similar age. I don’t see any “dwindling” whatsoever. Your comment was irresponsible. By the way, what is an “edge” supposed to be?

  27. I sure would love to see at least the first two seasons released on DVD. TSS is still a great show, but the Kate/Leo pairing was classic.

  28. “I’m part of the younger demographic people that the programmers think that they can lure me in w/ sex and crap…I loved TechTV more when it was a TECH channel…not a sex and cartoon channel.
    Posted by Nathan Smith, May 26, 2003 03:51 PM”
    I agree completely with Nathan. I am in the younger demographic but I hate the new shows. I think that TechTV should be a channel about technology, it’s implementation, and tech headlines. I miss the old programming, the one without cartoons and sex. I first started watching TechTV when it was still ZDTV. I loved it back then and I would watch it all of the time. I don’t tune in to TechTV much anymore because much of the programming is not about technology. The new shows are used to lure people in. I don’t need sex and cartoons to get me to watch TechTV. In fact just the opposite happens, the more new shows they add the less I watch TechTV. I wish TechTV would go back to it’s roots, a station for geeks. I think that The Screen Savers DEFINITELY belongs in prime time! That show is the main reason I watch TechTV. Leo I love your show and hope that it doesn’t change more than it already has.

  29. Leo:
    I was one of the poeple that left Tech TV as background noise all day, but now with al the changes I prefer to have the TV off.
    The way things are going I think that you and your team should start looking for another network to work on. Unless they get rid of:
    1.- Anime U.
    2.- Thunderbirds
    3.- Robot Wars
    4.- Wired for SEX
    and start broadcasting programs that follow the technical guideline.
    If I want to watch cartoons I’ll go to Catoon Network, and If I want to watch SEX ther’s always playboy.
    I hope that you and your team mates get a good offer from somebody that really appreciates your work and what you guys do. In the mean time You lead I follow just let us know where to!
    Good Luck

  30. Hey Leo, I just signed the petition. There is a lot of people so far, I being #1609.
    And may I say that TechTv is nose diving much in the same way that MTV did, when it abandoned its own music videos. I mean, music videos is how MTV got started. Now why in the hell would those slimy executives want to kill TechTV with non-tech programming?!
    I am part of the target audience, being 18, and I became interested in anything that was on, mainly because it pertained to me, the target viewer. But I soon tired of the same old stuff every day. And all these damn reality shows are driving me nuts. Every major channel has degraded themselves. At least TechTv hasn’t stooped that low. Or is that on those executives’ minds too?
    But for TechTv’s programming: I love TSS, CFH, and Fresh Gear, and X-play(Extended Play was a better name)is OK. Robot Wars has been exhausted, and that British guy has got to go! There are a lot of shows involving Great Britain like Tommorrow’s World and Future Fighting Machines. They can stay because Great Britain invents some great things. I haven’t been into Martin show much and I hear it sucks. And this Wired for Sex crap!? If I want to watch some old lady finger herself with a deluxe size automatic thingamakabob, I’ll watch E!. But please destroy, destroy, destroy Thunderbirds and Anime Unleashed!!! They have nothing to do with TechTv.
    And finally, where have all the original people gone? Where is Chris? Have they terminated him already? Was the Call-for-Helpathon cutting into his vacation pay? Or maybe he finally came in contact with the alien mothership that was waiting to pick him up. I’m kidding about that, but really, where is he? And what ever happened to redheaded Kate, or Kris from Audiofile?
    So, in conclusion, TechTV is simply succumbing to the money hungry wolves and a ratings contest for a viewer audience which really, by reading these messenges, is turning on them very quickly. TechTv, Get off your behind and start making quality technology information shows!
    TSS will never die!!!!!

  31. For years I’ve heard people my age don’t buy music anymore. The other day I read about half of the MP3 file swappers are over 40. I have far more disposable income now than I had at 20, and I still want stuff. I wonder how much of the advertisers marketing theory are dated now that us boomer’s have matured?

  32. Done and done! I’m tired of being treated as a second-class citizen! I *want* my tech, there are lots of people who agree, so why won’t TPTB serve a market that wants to watch and support a channel that meets their need?
    We want to learn more about tech, and then buy the tools and products that let us feed our need for cooler, newer, faster technology. We count on shows like The Screen Savers, Call for Help, and Fresh Gear!

  33. Oh, Leo, of course you are edgy AND sexy, lol!!!
    For what it’s worth, I just sent a letter to TPTB telling them that maybe some day they would realize that TSS and CFH are their best shows. I also signed the petition. Maybe we can get somebody’s attention!

  34. Yeah, the Screensavers is the ONLY show i actually enjoy on TechTV, I CANT BELEIVE they are trying to base the majority of their programming on horrible crap like reruns of Thunderbirds (ICK) and ‘FUTURE FIGHTERS’. Those shows suck, at least TTS is enjoyable.

  35. You would think they get the hint, that people like it the way it used to be. If its because the ratings are going up, they should also remember that a lot of digital cable upgrades are being made to people who wouldn’t be able to watch TechTV otherwise.

  36. I’m 25, and to be honest, the only two shows I ever watch on Tech TV are Call for Help and The Screen Savers. I like to consider myself a young demographic, but alas, probably not young enough for Tech TV’s target audience. We’ve got your back Leo!

  37. I didn’t realize how many people agree with me or I with them.
    I always turned off the channel when Marty was on and have no intention of watching that show ever.
    I now watch Call for Help, The screen Savers and sometimes TechTV. All are excellent but the others are really awful and not worth watching.

  38. Leo,
    TPTB just can’t get a clue. TSS and CFH for most people here are what make TECHTV.
    I’ve signed the petition and plan to send feedback also.
    Hey you and Patrick are edgy and “sexy” for the true computer geeks!!! And you both look damn good in a kilt!!!!
    Right gang!!???!!!

  39. Leo,
    Age is only relevant if you are wine or cheese. Otherwise it has nothing to do with Tech. I think you’re one of the most well rounded tech guru’s alive. I respect someone who can be objective about Technology. I aspire to be like you or Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. Us old timers have to stick together.

  40. I started to watch TechTV when it was still ZDTV. I would make my parents watch it to try to tech them about some to cool things they could do with their new PC. That was about 3 years ago. Now that they do not have digital cable of Dish Network any longer I can only catch TechTV when I am at their place. Lat time I was their I turn TechTV and tried to learn something new. I watch or about 3 hours and all I did was got depressed. WHAT DID THEY DO WITH THE COOLEST CHANNEL ON TV?
    It all vary sad. I hope they can turn thing around and become a tech channel again.
    Good luck to TSS and CFH.

  41. Consider it done Leo – please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help put the “Tech” back in TechTV!
    As far as targeting the younger demographic – don’t they know we “old” 30 and 40 somethings have much move disposable income than the 18 year olds who might come to watch and drool over the girls in their too tight tank tops, but don’t have much money to spend in support of the advertisers? Something to think about ….

  42. Haven’t we been through this before with
    thesite.com?? That’s when Leo was Dev Null. They yanked that one too. Listen, I’m in the porn
    business. I’m not a prude. But when I go to Tech TV I’m looking for info on how to get the friggin computer to work. There’s a time and place for
    everything. Unfortunately we’ve all chosen to live
    in a laissez-faire free market capitalist economy and until such time as we come to our senses and
    vote Socialist, these things are going to happen.

  43. I don’t know about you guys, but if you realy want TSS and Call For Help re-runs, you can always move to israel… 😉
    Here, the Tech-tv network is broadcasting 24/7 re-runs of TSS,Call For Help,Tech-Live, Extended Play, and a couple more…non-stop…. of course it’s very frustrating but, look at the bright side, you can watch as much as re-runs you will ever dream of… (-:
    ’till then
    Aviv avital, Israel

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