It may be hard to imagine why the Antiques Roadshow is among the top shows on PBS. It might seem like a show for the senior citizen set or the very rich. The truth is that while PBS’s Antiques Roadshow does draw followers from those two societal groups, many other viewers turn in to the show with great regularity. The appeal of the Antiques Roadshow crosses age, gender, income, regional and racial divides. This kind of attracting force has helped the Antiques Roadshow to maintain its high level of popularity now for almost 15 years. So what about Roadshow lures viewers away from what one might consider more mainstream fair?
Down to Earth Content. Even though the Antiques Roadshow is, on the face of it, a program about reviewing antique pieces and rendering an on air evaluation, the people who are on the show are people you might meet in the grocery store, at a little league game or in church. There is no one type of person who shows up on the Antiques Roadshow to share his or her treasure. Some are straight as an arrow, others are quirky, some are downright entertaining. The appraisers and those bringing in pieces center their conversation on the work of art, sculpture or collectible but along the way they often discuss the history of the piece and how it came into the owner’s possession. The conversations are simple but interesting and different every time.
No matter how rare or valuable any piece might be the show holds to its down to earth format because the people who bring in the articles appear to be so down to earth and real. When viewers can easily imagine themselves in the place of the person showing his prize teapot or football card, the show gets to be very interesting, compelling and attractive to many viewers.
The Variety of Treasures always keeps the show from getting boring. Obviously if the whole show was about just one thing like antique lamps, viewers would be turning off by the droves. But there are few repeats within any given show and generally a nice mix of interests receive the focus.There can be pieces of furniture, Civil War memorabilia, a truly unique collectible and something found in someone’s cellar all in one show. For a lot of folks this is what keeps the show from bogging down and losing their interest.
Feeling like you are really learning something. can help to keep people coming back for more. There are lots of television viewers who really don’t like the idea of sitting in front of the television for hours and coming away no more informed or enlightened or even entertained than they were before they turned it on. PBS is known for its informative programs but Antiques Roadshow doubles it up by being both informative and entertaining. So many times viewers find themselves thinking or in some cases saying out loud, ” Oh, I never knew that.” Being able to watch a show, enjoy it and also feel like you have added to your personal knowledge is likely to bring you happily back for the next offering.
The Feeling of Excitement and Adventure viewers draw from the Antiques Roadshow is often a real surprise. You really do get involved with the treasure and the owner and there is building interest in learning whether or not the treasure has more than sentimental value or not.
It is really almost impossible to watch Antiques Roadshow and not begin to wonder if perhaps hidden away in your attic or among your collectibles is something of great interest and value. The show almost invites you to turn your imagination on full throttle and pretend for a moment that you are learning that your special vase is worth thousands of dollars. You just can’t get that on every show. You celebrate with the owners if they have made a good find and commiserate with those who have been less fortunate but you also wonder about your own chances.
There are lots of reasons why Antique Road Show has made its way into the company of other top PBS shows like “The News Hour”, “Nova” or “Masterpiece Theater”. At bottom however the main reason that folks turn to quality PBS shows like Antiques Roadshow is the quality of the show compared to standard television fare. Imagine a show you can watch that is not filled with violence, inappropriate language, sexual innuendo or really poor quality writing! There aren’t many. For lots of folks who are tired of such limited offerings the natural choice has become PBS and the shows that are among its top favorites like Antiques Roadshow.