7 Cable Networks in Desperate Need of a Name Change
Television is a business. The goal being to make as much money as humanly possible by providing you with programming you want to watch all the time so other companies will hand them barrels full of cash to put their product in front of your face. And like with any business, the name should be an accurate depiction of the product being provided so people can find what they’re looking for easily. For these eight television networks, the product being offered these days is so vastly different than what their name implies, it’s time to make a change.
Being in the radio business, I understand that in order to stay relevant, a network must cater to the ever-changing desires of their audience if they hope to stay in business. The same applies to any business really. It’s why Burger King sells chicken sandwiches. The difference being that chicken sandwiches haven’t become their exclusive item. It’s more of a sub folder on the hard drive that is their menu. Their focus still remains burgers, namely the Whopper™. The point being, you know what to expect going in.
The programming churned out by these networks nowadays is so far removed from the network’s original concept, it would be like Burger King selling hammers. Let’s begin.
AMC (American Movie Classics)
Original Concept: Launched as premium movie channel (à la HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime), it jumped to basic cable lineups in 1987 where it continued its focus on the golden age of film; broadcasting the older, black-and-white movie classics of days gone by.
What It’s Become: While the network still airs movies from time to time, to call them “classics” is a gross overstatement. Recent examples include the Sylvester Stallone / Wesley Snipes Sci-Fi action flick, Demolition Man, The Marine starring WWE wrestler Jon Cena, and the 1989 Eddie Murphy / Richard Pryor film Harlem Nights, where the two comedians portrayed 1920′s era gangsters who drop the f-bomb like it’s the word “the”.
As the years have passed, their focus has turned more toward original programs, and good ones at that with gritty, one-hour dramas such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men, all of which have become critically acclaimed, award winning, and must-watch shows for viewers. However, they’re not movies, and they’re not classics. Not yet anyway.
Original Concept: Essentially a televised version of the classes you slept through in high school, the network aired documentaries and specials that focused on the world’s history. Wars, countries, notable figures that left a lasting mark on the world, good or bad; things you found to be boring when you were 15, but for whatever reason began to appreciate as you got older.
What It’s Become: Every once in a blue moon, the network will still air some sort of historic-based program, the recent Hatfields & McCoys mini-series for example, but the bulk of it’s programming these days revolves around the dismal abyss that is reality television with shows like Pawn Stars (pictured), American Pickers, and, God-help-us-all, Only in America with Larry the Guy Cable Guy. Oh, and don’t forget the historically significant The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man about a man born and raised in the Louisiana swamp land whose house is a boat. The only thing historic about History these days are their historically poor programs.
A&E (Arts & Entertainment)
Acronym: Arts & Entertainment
Original Concept: Basically a PBS with commercials, the network focused on documentaries and shows whose subject matter skewed more “high brow”, such as art (painters, sculptures, etc.), opera, theater, and their respective cultures. Uppity British shows were also featured because anything with a British accent is automatically high brow, right? Well, maybe not EVERYTHING.
What It’s Become: The “arts” in “Arts & Entertainment” has been practically non-existent in the network’s lineup for sometime as they’ve jumped on the reality TV bandwagon spearheaded by a certain show about millionaire rednecks that everyone but me seems to think is the greatest thing to ever grace a television screen.
And let’s not forget about Parking Wars, a show about the intense world of meter maids which is entering it’s sixth season. SIXTH! How many ways can you film someone giving out a $25 parking ticket? Apparently enough to fill SIX GOD FORSAKEN SEASONS! Sweet Lord, take me now! I give up.
Sorry, I got off track there. The point is this network is not even in the same hemisphere as its original intention and needs to be renamed. Also, it is a terrible network. Just terrible.