This Channel has Become History to Me

Have you checked out The History Channel’s programming of late? Guess what? It has little, or nothing, to do with history anymore. Instead, there’s pablum like "Ice Road Truckers" and "Modern Marvels."History_channel_logo

What became of historical documentaries? Or, "Movies in Time?" Or, a good, old World War II redux?

I’m not sure what happened. Did the cable network’s research team suddenly decide that viewers would be more interested in a reality series about Alaskan truckers? Or, that we’d love to know the engineering secrets of various buildings, famous or otherwise?

The Learning Channel did the same thing not too long ago. It completely lost its way and opted to steer away from programs intended to help one learn and, instead, began featuring circus sideshow material. Perhaps both are emblematic of the ongoing dumbing down of America?

I used to include The History Channel among my "must views." Now, sadly, it’s history. And, its image and reputation have become a joke (at least to me).

"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it," according to the old bromide. Well, I intend to tempt fate. Because, until they resurrect their original programming charter, I intend to not only ignore The History Channel, but to channel surf right past it.

8 thoughts on “This Channel has Become History to Me

  1. Thanks, Sterling. And, no, not at all re: the quote. The Discovery Channel is far worse. It’s a non-stop cavalcade of circus freaks and sideshows.

  2. MTV did this a long time ago. Not that I watch MTV (I rarely watch television at all), but I don’t even think they play music videos any more. Remember the very first one, Video Killed the Radio Star?

  3. Thanks for the post, Art. I wonder if there is any way to communicate to the management of these “lost” channels that they’ll be losing us as viewers? Is cancellation our only recourse? I miss the great programming that cable used to provide.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with you, Steve. The so called “speciality” channels on cable–not only The History Channel but A&E, Bravo, TLC, etc.–are all abandoning what they originally set out to do by following the network channels and producing mindless reality programming. While Jackie is right that they are cheap to produce, they also cheapen their brands. And they will lose core viewers like us. If my kids didn’t love Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel, I’d cancel cable TV altogether.

  5. Networks are increasingly turning to these reality shows because they are much cheaper to produce. No writers. To create good historical programs you need to hire smart writers who actually know something about history. I am sure those types are hard to come by these day.

  6. Thanks for the observation, Brian. What you say may be true, but how and when should a brand abandon its core positioning? And, should it alert constituents to the change? I would have liked some sort of heads-up from The History Channel that they were no longer focusing on historical programming. If nothing else, they should change the cable channel’s name. How’s The Miscellaneous Channel sound to you?

  7. Interesting take. I have been actually enjoying modern marvels and other shows, although the logging shows and ice road truckers annoy me. Basically, with the advent of tivo I can still pull the shows that I like and watch them when I choose, but the prime time programming certainly leaves a bit to be desired.
    All that said, I think they probably got tired of being referred to as the “Guns and War” channel and mixed up their programming a bit.