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Any woman who has ever tried to get her spouse or significant other's attention during a televised sporting event knows exactly who the phrase “glued to the tube� is talking about — men. A new report from Encino, Calif.-based research firm E-Poll offers some quantitative proof to bolster that assumption, finding that twice as many men as women say that when they watch prime-time TV, they do nothing else (12 percent versus 5 percent).

Even so, the vast majority of both male and female TV viewers (58 percent and 65 percent, respectively) admit that they are busying themselves with other activities at least half the time they're watching TV, according to the study, released in January. “Primetime Television: Battle of the Sexes?� polled 1,030 television viewers between the ages of 18 and 54 about their prime-time (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) TV watching habits. Respondents were selected from E-Poll's online panel and were weighted to reflect the demographic makeup of the U.S. population.

The survey was conducted to help television programmers and advertisers better understand which activities compete for the attention of viewers, how frequently they flip through channels and what draws them to new programs, says Gerry Philpott, E-Poll president.

The study found that certain activities are equal opportunity distractions, inviting the attention of both male and female viewers. For instance, 6 in 10 respondents say they eat while watching their favorite programs, and almost half of them surf the Internet.

However, the amount of time spent on other activities during TV viewing varies by gender. While more than half of respondents (53 percent) say they talk to others in the room while watching TV, prime time is a more social time for women, 58 percent of whom chat with others in the room, compared with 48 percent of men. Married women (62 percent) are especially talkative, which may not come as a surprise to husbands trying to watch the football game. Even when they're home alone, more women than men find a way to socialize in front of the tube: 37 percent of women in the survey say they schmooze on the phone while watching TV, compared with 30 percent of men.

Apparently, women's work is still women's work, and it's still never done. Half of the female respondents reported doing laundry and 39 percent say they cook during Must-See TV, while only 26 percent of men do laundry and 24 percent slave over a hot stove.

And then there's the battle of the sexes over the remote control: 40 percent of men admit they flip between channels at least 50 percent of the time, compared with just 21 percent of women who channel surf as often. Most women (42 percent), however, say they watch by appointment 90 percent of the time. Apparently, men have a more difficult time making a commitment.

For more information, contact Michelle Waxman at (877) MY-EPOLL.


Sixty-four percent of men and 68 percent of women say that they are most likely to tune in to a new prime-time show if they think it will make them laugh.


Think it will make you laugh 64% 68%
Particular genre 47% 48%
Known stars 42% 47%
Time of day it is on 38% 48%
Characters you can relate to 35% 47%
Situations you can relate to 35% 48%
A friend or family member recommends it 34% 44%
Day of the week it is on 33% 43%
Action-packed 37% 20%
Physically attractive cast 25% 11%
Known producers or directors 13% 7%
Note: Numbers do not add up to 100%, as respondents were asked to check all responses that apply.
Source: E-Poll
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