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Picks and Pans Main: Tube

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I look forward to the intrepid new world of 500 channels in every HUT (that’s Nielsen-speak for Homes Using Television). But I have some concerns about quality control. Even the four networks, with their vast resources, have trouble filling up three hours of prime time every night with decent shows. Viewing options are already thin as diet lemonade. Imagine what it will be like when we seriously dilute them. Right now I get approximately 50 channels. One of them, as far as I have been able to ascertain, is devoted entirely to an endless loop of a young man with bad hair and skin, sitting at a piano in a rented tux, singing a medley of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “The Girl from Ipanema” and “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” with his eyes closed. This lounge lizard had better expand his repertoire, because very soon, by my calculations, he’ll have 10 channels all his own.