I encounter that attitude a lot -- seen it once, what's the point of seeing it again! I think it just means while they enjoy watching the skaters skate their programs, they don't enjoy it enough to watch it again. And I sort of understand that because I'm the same way about a lot of sports where I'll only watch a team I'm specifically invested in (re: soccer, I only watch our national teams) or only a specific game (re: gymnastics, I only watch the Olympics) and it's just the level of interest I have in the sport.
Personally I think this was a one-off situation. I have friends who are not figure skating fanatics that just like watching it - no matter what the skater is skating to. And enjoy watching the same program again and again. Charlie and Meryl's programs come to mind.
Besides, how is that different from watching any sport. In football the plays are the same. In basketball they run up and down the court and the last 2 minutes are pretty much the only ones that count. Most people can't figure out hockey or soccer. It just is what it is.
Same reaction from my parents. In the case of my mom it was "hey, he's wearing the same outfit he wore at the Olympics!".
But to be honest, if they change up their outfits, a lot of people probably wouldn't notice that they're performing the same program, unless the music is especially memorable to them. Or if it's a popular dance team with a signature lift ("The Goose" comes to mind - everyone in Canada still remembers that one lol).
The fastest way to learn something completely new is that must come along with our favorite's thing or people. In fact, someone will automatically learn how to know/understand/judge skating just because of their beloved skater, that was happen with many general Asian these years
Figure skating is a sport which is hard to figure out. Unlike in sports such as basketball and football where the winner is determined by the number of goals, or in tennis or volleyball wherein the most sets won is declared the winner, in fs judges are the rule. The best jumps, spins and step sequences are determined only by the judges and the system in a fashion not easily grasped even by fans, moreso casual viewers. Viewer education in any form such as documentaries maybe a good idea, or snippets explaining certain skating moves during a break in a fs broadcast.
I think the OP makes a valid point, though. Casual viewers are used to formats like So You Think You Can Dance, where the whole point is to come up with a new routine every week. A sport like hockey, not so much, because there is no performance art aspect to hockey like there is to figure skating.
That is one of the things that killed interest in professional skating on TV. For a while there, almost every week you could see the same half-dozen skaters doing the same routines and finishing in the same order in one "competition" after another. I lost track of how many times I saw Yuka Sato's "Hatful of Stars" finishing second to whatever Kristi Yamaguchi had that year.
Maybe there is an opportunity for the ISU to use the Grand Prix in a more imaginative way. Require the skaters to display a variety of programs in different styles, rather than just use the series as an extended practice for worlds.
The cost of choreographing multiple programs would probably take a toll on skaters. Not to mention, skaters need to develop a comfort level. I think if the ISU forced skaters to skate different programs, we'd see a lot of re-used programs, and we'd also see a lot of programs not live up to their potential. Obviously some programs start really poorly in the beginning of the season and are polished towards the end of it.
It's hard to think of ways to make competitive figure skating simultaneously fairly measure the hard work skaters put into developing their technical skills and also appeal to casual audiences who do not know or want to know much about skating technique.
For audiences who want novelty (frequent new programs from their favorite skaters), variety of skaters shown but also familiar faces they can bond with, music and dance styles they can relate to, exhibitions serve that purpose better than competition. But then you don't get the drama about who wins.
Reality shows with active competitive skaters could certainly educate audiences, but they can be distracting for the skaters who participate (or other skaters who compete against them or train at the same rink).
Reality shows with pro skaters doing entertainment-oriented numbers could be more successful as entertainment. But unless there are big names involved, without the tension of real sports competition at stake, the examples that have been tried in the US haven't attracted much attention. And if non-skater celebrities are involved, the level of skating will necessarily be much lower and focus more on lifts and other eye-catching partner interactions than actual skating skills. So audiences might be entertained but still wouldn't learn much about skating technique as measured in sport competition.
There have been some movies about figure skating, no major box office hits. Most tend to focus on melodrama and/or to portray skating as a joke, sometimes a loving one, with real-life facts often sacrificed for plot points.
The trick is to be hip in ways that appeal to modern audiences while taking the sport itself seriously as sport.
I fantasize about a scripted TV drama that features competitive figure skating. E.g., a soap opera set at a training center. Or a crime drama with one or more detectives who are also former competitors or high-level adult competitors. Get the details of the sport correct, but focus on the drama.
I can anticipate practical and cost barriers to making this reality, assuming audiences were even interested. Ideally the stars would be retired skaters turned actors. How many such individuals even exist, who can both skate and act at a level that audiences would find entertaining not painful?
So I don't expect it ever to happen. But I can dream.
I'm thinking that a soap opera centering on ice dancers who often switch partners on and off ice would have potential. More built-in drama than with singles, and more potential for choreography that retired competitors-turned-actors can learn each week but that looks plausible as competitive programs, even if the knowledgeable fans can see why it wouldn't challenge for real-life medals.
@ gkelly as a tech specialist:
In ballroom dance competitions, dancers perform the same routines to different music. What exactly makes it impossible in the case of ice dance?