Faitthful cable channels

TV Arts

There have been a few threads about cable channels that have strayed
far from their origins. So, which channels have done the best job of
staying true to their theme?

I guess there a couple ways to look at that:

1. Staying consistent in programming over the years.

2. Changing the types of programs, but still staying with their base
theme. An example might be Cartoon Network, which doesn't show the old
WB, Hanna-Barbera, etc. cartoons much, but still shows animated
programs of different sorts. This is an example only, I'm aware that CN
now shows some non-animated stuff that might cause one to argue that it
as diverged.

You'll have to figure out what to do with channels that never really
had much of a theme, like USA.

I'd put IFC and Sundance on that list. Also TCM.

I have to disagree with that on IFC, partly.   I watch the channel
quite a bit but when they show movies like Blade Runner (not an
independent film by any means) I think they blurr the line a bit.   I
still think Blade Runner is an amazing film, but it was a studio film
all the way through.   Same with House Of A 1000 Corpses, made by
Universal, although released by an indy....
they also show Barry Lyndon from Warner Brothers
Disney and Nick are still pretty true to their origins. So is BET.
And Comedy Central. And various non-fiction channels such as
Discovery, Animal Planet, Food Network, etc.

On a historical note, the first cable channel I know of to change
thematic course was Lifetime. When they started out, they catered
to women, as now, but their primary focus was health programming.

I think it circa 1988 that they started filling out their schedule
with reruns of network series. If memory serves, the first couple
of things I watched on the channel were reruns of two short-lived
network series: THE INSIDERS (news drama with Nicholas Campbell and
Gail Strickland) and E/R (the sitcom with George Clooney, not the
drama with George Clooney).

Once they decided to pick up THE DAYS AND NIGHTS OF MOLLY DODD and
finance new episodes, their transformation was complete.
Disney started out as a premium channel, showing mostly old Disney
movies and shows.

CC is an interesting example of a channel that's stayed true to the
theme while completely reinventing itself within that. Remember the old
comedy VJ shows? For a significant time after the new channel was born
after The Comedy Channel and Ha! merged, their programming was largely
clips from movies and standup acts.

Food, as discussed earlier (and part of the inspiration for the thread)
is another that's made significant changes within the general theme.
Far fewer standup cooking shows than the early days, but every show
arguably features something about food, even if only traveling
somewhere and eating it.

Which has nothing to do, thematically, with its programming.

Your original post said (as one option for considering a channel
as being "faithful"): "Changing the types of programs, but still
staying with their base theme."

Disney might not be showing "mostly old Disney movies and shows"
nowadays, but they are still mostly airing Disney product. When
they first started out, the only material they had to offer was
the old Disney movies and shows. Since then, they've continued
to create new Disney product to air on the channel.

Their target audience has changed: they don't seem to be interested
in catering to the boomers who grew up with Disney, and are now
solely focussed on catering to today's youth. But the type of
programming they offer hasn't changed, thematically.

Quite so. I'd argue that you can say the exact same thing about
Animal Planet has started to backslide, unfortunately.  They rebroadcast 
some of the Discovery/BBC dinosaur programs, which are more science 
(paleontology) programs than pure animal programs.
That's splitting hairs (as opposed to splitting hares, which they'd
never do on Animal Planet). Dinosaurs are animals, after all. If
they broadcast WALKING WITH CAVEMEN, then you might have a point.

One might also argue that they veered slightly off course when
they started airing their fictional series based on Jack London's
WHITE FANG. But even that is covered by the animal theme.
I liked that show, but it starred Nick Mancuso, so it was destined to
die after 13 episodes.
Or the Muppet Show.
Women and gay men, you mean. It was even a running joke on /Will & 

The Discovery Channel
The Learning Channel
The History Channel
You mean the former Cable Health Network?

Remember the good old days of "Towards 2000", and then, "Beyond 2000"?  I 
loved those shows!

Once upon a time, they showed actual educational shows, like language 
lessons and adult education stuff.  Now, it's the Midget Channel.

More or less the same, but they used to air quite a bit of historical 
movies and TV shows in the old days.  I can remember watching the British 
soap opera miniseries "Tenko" on the History Channel shortly after it was 
added to our cable system.  Now, it seems like The History Channel is just 
A&E's Discovery Channel.

The Nashville Network?

Sorry, Ken, but you don't become a "new" cable channel just by changing 
your name.

And I can't believe nobody's said C-SPAN!
The History Channels used to be known as "The Nazi Channel". You could
turn it on pretty much any time and watch a story of WWII in Europe or
Hitler and the Occult. They have really gotten a much broader view, and
some of the reenactments they do with video-game graphics are really
good at showing how things happened. Dogfights is great drama, lessened
a wee bit by having the guy who was in the fight there to describe it,
but that makes it so much more personal.

Wild West Tech is pretty interesting, and I like Our Generation, but
that may be because I'm one of Us.

They still do too much "UFOs in History" type stuff, but that's because
any is too much.
Like Sci Fi doing ufo specials or the John Edwards (the guy who sees dead 
people, not have haircuts that range into 3-4 figures). There's a difference 
between science fiction and science fiction parading itself as fact.
I've already pointed out that Lifetime is actually the first cable
channel to shift direction. They started out as a health programming

You *do* know, don't you, that Spike started out as The Nashville
But Spike has stayed faithful to its mission since it started--while The 
Nashville Network, aka TNN, stayed faithful to its mission.
You put in "Spike" just to see if anyone was paying attention, right?
If you allow them a VERY generous definition of "classic". For
instance, right now they are running "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"
It's from 1966, but isn't there more to a classic movie than that?
At least in IMO a "classic" movie is a good movie from _any_ era
while TCM on the other hand, has a very narrow definition of classic.

The vast majority of the movies they show are from the 40's and 50's
(regardless of the quality) and they hardly ever show anything from the
Quality often isn't a criterion when deciding whether something is
a "classic". For example, a lot of people would consider an Edsel
to be a classic car.

Hogwash. I've seen a *lot* of movies from the 60s on TCM.

Hogwash again. I've seen a lot of 60s films during primetime, or
on the weekends. However, it's not unusual for 60s-or-later films

"adult" content oblige them to wait until after the watershed.

They've aired DELIVERANCE numerous times, to pick just one example,
but if you expect them to air it in the early evening, you'd be

they've shown during the day or early evening.