Monday, March 12, 2018

Scientology TV!

Scientology is creating its own cable network! Here’s what we think its future lineup will look like...

Friday, March 9, 2018

Failed Cable Networks: Lorimar Sports Network

Before the days of ESPN’s dominance, there were other cable channels that sought to bring sporting events to television. Oddly enough, television syndicator Lorimar threw its hat into the ring with the Lorimar Sports Network. Mainly a conglomeration of regional sports team rights, the channel struggled and eventually died on the vine. Lorimar put the network out of its misery after it had lost all of its rights deals.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Happy International Women’s Day

Failed Cable Networks: CBS Cable

While the networks pretended that the burgeoning cable industry didn’t faze them in the early 80’s, they still worried about the potential effect that hundreds of new channels would have on them. While they weren’t losing sleep over it, they still tried to deal with them in some way. NBC mostly ignored cable. ABC sought out partnerships with outside entities, which resulted in channels like ESPN and Lifetime. CBS actually tried to go it alone, which resulted in the creatively named “CBS Cable”.

CBS Cable tried to be an upmarket version of the broadcast network. While CBS had long been nicknamed “The Tiffany Network”, its programming was decidedly lower brow than its management wanted. When it came time to program a smaller, more targeted network, they sought to go higher brow than they could on a broadcast network. CBS Cable featured operas, Shakespeare and classical music. It was a disaster. CBS ended up closing the network, selling its programming and meager Station lineup to A&E- one of ABC’s partnership channels.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Failed Cable Networks: The Festival Channel

Imagine if you could watch HBO, but without all the nudity and profanity. Sound like regular TV? For a short time, HBO itself started up a premium channel that offered just that. 

In the late 1980’s, HBO created a channel that aired family oriented programming and edited films without commercials and for half the price of regular HBO.

Festival was billed as a family friendly alternative to HBO and for half the cost. The channel would pull from HBO’s vast film catalog, only airing the edited versions. This was meant to be a competitor for The Disney Channel, though its iffy branding didn’t necessarily scream “Family”. Even worse, Disney actually aired unedited films after 9PM under the “Disney After Dark” banner. Festival never gained traction in the market and died a quick death.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Failed Cable Networks: The Puppy Channel

Yes, The Puppy Channel is real! Started by an executive who was disgusted by gavel to gavel coverage of the OJ Simpson trial, the channel was supposed to feature footage of puppies 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week. Despite its alleged success in focus groups, the channel never went national, only running on a few cable systems on a trial basis.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Failed Cable Networks: Cable Music Channel

Back when Music Television was still playing music videos, it was the 800 pound gorilla in the Cable world. Being at the top of the heap made MTV a big target for just about everyone. Religious groups said it was immoral and satanic. Others blamed it for being too violent. These “controversies” made MTV the biggest channel amongst the highly coveted tween and teen demographics. Enter the “King of Cable”, Ted Turner.

Ted Turner had proved that a 24/7 news channel could be hugely successful and he was looking to grow his empire with new cable channels and concepts. Thus he created CMC- The Cable Music Channel. Unlike MTV, Ted Turner’s Music channel would not show videos deemed to be too violent, sexually charged or satanic. CMC promised to be the youth pastor version of MTV. With a selling point like that, how could Ted Turner possibly win?

CMC premiered to great fanfare but it quietly died out. It was eventually sold to MTV then shut down. In recent years, Ted Turner claimed that CMC was merely a ploy to help cable operators in their carriage negotiations with MTV. MTV was planning to dramatically increase the fees it charged cable operators due to its popularity. CMC gave cable operators a “challenger” that they could point to as an alternative they could air instead of MTV. He claims this actually worked. Regardless of his actual intent behind starting up CMC, it remains a rare misstep for Turner Cable Networks.