Cold turkey is what I think works best. It may take a week, it may take a little longer but it won't be long before your children move on and stop really thinking about it.
How old are your kids? Depending on their ages, you might want to have some conversations about what you are doing and why. But you probably don't want to ask for their permission or understanding. Just don't make it punitive (not that it sounds like you are) in the "we've all turned into much brains bucause of that darn tv, etc." Just focus on the postivie--all the fun things we'll do this spring, etc....
AS for what non-tv kids are like---well, I would have to say that my kids spend a lot more time arguing with each other than tv-watchng kids do. There must be something in the water here or something because my normally great kids are cranky little beass this week. So, I guess I'd have to say non-tv kids are imperfect and very, very normal.
However, my kids are very talkative, creative, artistic, engaged and interesting and interested people. They are very busy with their own things, and read a lot and are very self directed much of the time.
Do they get all slack jaw when they do get access to tv or movies? Yes, for a bit, but they never get crazy, crazy about it. For example, at my mothers a month or so ago they watched tv one rainy afternoon when I went out with old highschool friends. When I came back I was a little peaved that they had sacked out in front of the tube but I kept my thoughts to myself (only my mother regularly volunteers to watch all 4 of my kids, though she usually comes to me so the tv isn't an issue). But the older two had drifted away after the first hour or so and found some old legos to play with. My 5 yo and 2 yos did watch for about 2 hours. O well.
They never asked for it in the days that followed, though my oldest boy did ask if we would ever get a tv. WE had an interesting conversation about it, and he basically said he doesn't really miss it but that he likes watching baseball better than listening on the radio.
So I really don't tv is a powerful forbidden fruit for my kids. If anything, they pretty much see it for what it is--a distraction from more interesting things to do.
I think overall it is one of the best things I've done for my kids and myself. We read together everynight for an hour---everything from picture books to classic novesl to science textbooks and the newspaper. We also play a lot of music, dance, do art, and hang out.
One thing I would suggest is getting the kids invovled when you are cooking and cleaning. They can make messes faster than I can clean them, and the tv is often a temptation when people want to make dinner or get the house clean. If they are helping you or keeping you company while you work they can't be tearing up the house, which is very very good.
Happy mom to DS2000, DS2002, DD2004, DS2006 and DS 10/2009: