Once again, you are so immersed in the world of popular culture that the real alternative doesn't even occur to you... You assume that everyone else thinks like you. In my own little informal poll of Catholics I know (conservative and otherwise), the overwhelming majority said they had no interest in what Hollyweird had to say about John Paul and chose to do other things. This may come as a shock, but there are millions of Americans out there who don't need the television to tell them what to think. There are also millions out there who don't bother with the cultural wasteland that television has become.
Is someone that is well versed in the science of pop culture automatically a TV zombie?
Well, not to make this all about me (you did already), but I hardly watch TV compared to most, and knowing about pop culture is part of my job. I catch some local and national news and maybe a handful of shows per week, but that's about it. I spend most of my time during the evening reading, listening to and/or making music, or some other non-TV related activity.
But back on subject, it's pretty clear that far more Americans do little more during their evenings at home besides watch TV. You can disregard Nielsen ratings and what they illustrate about the average American's TV viewing habits, but millions more Americans are buying all those expensive big-screen, flat-screen, HDTVs, etc., than those who, as you say, don't bother with the cultural wasteland that television has become.
Besides, if you've got a problem with the 'cultural wasteland' of television, you can thank your fellow Americans. They're the ones making it all possible by tuning in to their favorite programs which Nielsen subsequently — and accurately — reports as popular.