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Skipping the inauguration on TV? Here are 10 other things to do

Elton John isn’t going. Moby declined. Dozens of Democrats, including civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, will not be attending Donald Trump’s inauguration. And now, legions of home viewers are following suit, boycotting the Friday event by changing the channel on their televisions or simply turning them off.

An online campaign has been making the rounds on social media this week. It reads like a middle-school word problem, but the logic claims it sends a strong message. By tuning out, it’ll decrease the percentage of viewers watching the inauguration while keeping ratings on other networks up, thus encouraging dissenters to turn to a different channel rather than turn their TV off.

According to, however, that’s flimsy thinking. Because Nielsen uses a random sampling of Americans to calculate ratings, the majority of viewers, whether they change channels or abstain from television entirely, will have little effect on the numbers. Unless you’re part of a “Nielsen family,” it’s doesn’t matter how you boycott: Your message won’t be heard.

But that might not deter people who are boycotting based on principle. The Pew Research Center reports that only 30% of Democrats plan to watch the inauguration, and 46% of Americans overall. (That’s 21% less than those who planned on watching Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.) For those potential viewers, it’s the thought that counts.

So, all those skipping inauguration coverage are going to need something else to entertain themselves this weekend. Whether you’re abstaining from the inauguration in political protest, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir just isn’t your thing, here’s a list of alternatives.


‘Sherlock: The Final Problem’

Die-hard Sherlock fans may have already torn through the feature-length finale of Season 4 (and possibly the series), but for the uninitiated, here’s a good excuse to binge watch the show, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, from start to finish.


Netflix releases its latest original series, an 18th century drama about the North American fur trade, on Friday. The show follows an attempted take-down of the Hudson Bay Co. by a rogue outlaw, played by “Game of Thrones’ ” Jason Momoa.


Idina Menzel reprises Bette Midler’s role (with Nia Long as Barbara Hershey’s character) in a remake of the 1988 film “Beaches,” which premieres Saturday on Lifetime.

‘Puppy Bowl: Where Are They Now?’

This one-hour special airs Friday on the Discovery Channel, where Animal Planet “catches up with nine past players to look at their road to the big game, how they’re spending their retirement and their adventures with their forever family.” Really.


M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller, about a man with disassociative personality disorder, starring James McAvoy, premieres Friday in theaters.

‘The Founder’

Michael Keaton stars in this biopic about Ray Kroc, who built McDonald’s into the most successful fast-food operation in the world. It also opens on Inauguration Day.

‘xXx: The Return of Xander Cage’

For fans of “xXx”  and “xXx: State of the Union,” this is the third film in the franchise, starring Vin Diesel. Xander’s back and racing time to save the world from Pandora’s Box, a weapon that controls every military satellite in existence. 


‘Difficult Women’ by Roxane Gay

The author of 2014’s “Bad Feminist” released one of the year’s most anticipated collections of short fiction earlier this month. Our reviewer described Gay’s stories as revealing her to be “a writer as interested in form and language as she is in social commentary.”


‘Ponzi Supernova’

An audible original, this podcast, narrated by New York Magazine contributor Steve Fishman, puts a new spin on the true-crime genre by investigating white-collar criminal Bernie Madoff.

Austra’s ‘Future Politics’

The Canadian electro-pop band’s third album is dance music to brood to, but the first single, “Utopia,” is a banger.



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