No! Just NO! If you really want widescreen, tell your TV to use a 16:9 (zoom) aspect-ratio. But don't cut off precious filmed material just to cater to "young audiences". That's wrong.
Agreed. I hate it when TV stations do this. I've seen this done with TAS.
If that wasn't bad enough, TV stations even do this with interlaced SD sources, which of course looks uglier than necessary, due to the complexity of resizing interlaced material and its already low resolution to begin with.