By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Nov 21, 2008 at 11:45 AM

A few TV shows make me happy. "Entourage" and "Friday Night Lights." Generally, though, I wouldn't say that TV makes me any more or less happy.

A new study by sociologists at the University of Maryland concludes that "unhappy people" watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as "very happy" spend more time reading and socializing. The study appears in the December issue of the journal Social Indicators Research.

I wouldn't call myself an avid TV watcher, but I do enjoy it. Unless it's a live sporting event, the majority of our viewing comes from the DVR that records the following: "Entourage," "30 Rock," "Real Sports," "Costas Now," "24," and "Friday Night Lights." "Mad Men" and "Lost" also are on the list, but we're only on season one of "Lost" and "Mad Men" might be done. Oh, and add "Project Runway" too, but that's more my wife than me. All in all, that's enough TV for me, and a good mix of quality and "turn the brain off" programming.

These Maryland researchers report that spending time watching television may contribute our happiness in the moment, with less positive effects in the long run. I'd agree.

The researchers also found that self-described "very happy" people were more socially active, attended more religious services, voted more and read more news. By contrast, "unhappy people" watched significantly more television in their spare time. Hmm, do find me "socially attractive?"

"Unhappy people" watch an estimated 20 percent more television than "very happy" people, after taking into account their education, income, age and marital status, as well as other demographic predictors of both viewing and happiness.

I'm a happy guy and no researcher is gonna tell me otherwise. But this kind of stuff always interests me so I thought I'd share.

And, you? Does TV make you happy? Or, are you unhappy because you watch too much TV? Pry yourself away from that 40-inch screen and use the Talkback feature to respond.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.