What cable channel has suffered the most from network decay?

For those of you who may not know, here’s the definition of network decay, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Anyway, MTV and VH1 are the obvious examples, networks that were founded primarily as vehicles for music videos, but now exist mainly as platforms for D-list celebs to peddle their reality shows.

The History Channel is another that comes to mind. People used to bitch back when it was “The Hitler Channel,” but at least that was real history and not the pseudo-science crap like “Ancient Aliens” they show these days - that is when they’re not showing stuff like Pawn Stars and Ice Road Truckers.

But I think TLC has to take the cake. It’s easy to forget that they were founded as The Learning Channel. Today it’s seems to exist mainly as a showcase for wedding and fertility porn, with an occasional cooking or tattoo reality show thrown in, not to mention Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

So what are some other networks that have drifted far from their original premise.

The Food Network is starting to look that way. The cooking has been replaced by “challenges,” all of which involve Disney in some way. What a surprise. One more reason to loathe the Mouse.

MTV and AMC. Black Dog is NOT a classic. Neither is original programming. And the music on MTV has long been little more than incidental.

American Movie Classics has redefined classic movies to include … all movies.

While flipping through the channels in the evening, once in a while I would stop at “FitTV” and they would have an interesting general health or cooking show on, in addition to numerous exercise shows. It appears that their afternoon and evening programming has all been replaced by the remains of the now defunct Discovery Health channel - the medical examiner show, the adoption show, the “little people” show, the “didn’t know I was pregnant” show, etc.

XM/Sirius satellite radio is obviously not a TV network, but this has definitely happened to them! ALL four of my favorite channels (Beyond Jazz, XM Music Lab, Fine Tuning, and Special X) were eliminated over the last few years, in favor of stations that are closer to the crappy broadcast radio format. Feh.

I’m not sure it quite qualifies, but Nickelodeon (Nick at Nite) used to show old classic TV shows. Not stuff that finished its run 5 years ago, but sitcoms from the 50s and 60s, old game shows, and stuff like that. Now all they seem to show is B-list comedies and made for cable crud.

I agree with the OP, TLC is the winner. I used to love TLC util they started the house flipping programs and they went straight down hill since than.

All of the above are great choices, but I think ABC Family deserves an honorable mention. One of their shows, “Pretty Little Liars,” might as well be titled “Gossip Girl - Jailbait Edition” and then there’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” which is the worst written, worst acted show about minors having sex (for example, their term for “having sex” is… “having sex”) that you could possibly imagine. ABC Family used to be The Family Channel, which was actually owned by a Christian organization. Things changed, a lot, once it got into the Mouse’s hands.

AMC a very close 2nd.

All that stuff got shuffled over to MeTV.
Except for Twilight Zone (and maybe Alfred Hitchcock Presents) which I think is on SyFy.

**MTV and TLC **are the clear winners to me. They have nothing to do with their original concept.

I have to give an honorable mention to SyFy for including professional wrestling. I mean, it meets the “fiction” descriptor, but not the “science” one. It really is an odd placement.

Did the travel channel used to have shows about travel? Because now it seems like almost all their shows are about food.

Actually, I think the Food Network has probably suffered the least network decay. There are less cooking shows, but they’re the Food Network, not the Cooking Network. I can’t think of any shows on the channel that aren’t related to food.

And I will say one thing about MTV. Yes yes, they don’t have music anymore. Which would be pointless anyway because of YouTube, we don’t need a channel airing music videos anymore. But I love the fact the during most of their shows, they have a little feed on the bottom that says what song is currently playing in the background of a show. More channels need that.

Though in fairness, it is usually very good. This might be termed “Network Decay For The Win.”

A & E actually did used to be very artsy-remember the operas? Classical concerts?

What channel can you watch such fare on nowadays I wonder-if any?

Nick at Nite’s lineup has almost included shows that were canceled between 8 and 15 years ago. And it hasn’t included a show from the 60s in over a decade.


MTV. At least they finally gave up last year and took the “Music Television” off of their logo.

TLC would be my second choice.