December 31st, 2009
05:03 PM ET

Another cable channel losing its niche?

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Every few years or so, GSN (formerly known as Game Show Network) tries to stray away from its original model of being the home for classic and new game shows.  Occasionally, those moves into uncharted territory have worked, such as the Sunday night staple "High Stakes Poker."

But, more often than not, GSN's efforts to tackle "reality" shows and the like have failed.   Anyone remember the horse racing-themed "American Dream Derby" or the Chuck Woolery-centric "Naturally Stoned"?  Neither lasted long.

Now, GSN is stepping out of its traditional realm once again.  Next month, the channel will premiere a "reality" show chronicling the life of "Newlywed Game" host Carnie Wilson, as well as a "hidden camera" comedy game called "Hidden Agenda."  The game show Web site BuzzerBlog is also reporting that GSN is also considering a "reality" show about women who play the dice game Bunco, as well as weight loss show.

What makes GSN unique is that, despite its flaws, it is generally a cable channel targeting a specific market - fans of game shows and games in general.  And it's one of the last of the true "niche" cable networks.

Years ago, many cable channels were like that.  Bravo and A&E used to be tailored to fans of fine arts, while TLC was home to educational fare.  MTV, VH1 and CMT were your homes for all things music, primarily videos.

Now, they all seem to be going after the same audience, broadcasting the same obnoxious "reality" shows and other "in your face" pop culture fare.  If it weren't for the network branding on the corner of the TV screen, I couldn't tell the stations apart.

I can understand why cable channels turn this way - it attracts the eyes of the demographics that advertisers crave, and leads to higher ad rates for the channels.  But shouldn't there also be room for entertainment channels that target those outside the demo?

Perhaps GSN will learn that lesson and stay true to its original calling when this experiment comes to an end.  Then again, I could see it following the leader and become just another channel.

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Filed under: television

soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. copy dvd

    You are right, in it something is. I thank for the information, can, I too can help you something?

    July 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    Last year I realized that although I was paying for 100 or so channels, I regularly watched 4 shows. All 4 were available to watch online. So in June of 2009 I canceled cable. I thought I would suffer withdrawal symptons, but was surprised to find that I barely missed it.

    It dawned on me that even though I only cared about 4 shows, I would sit like a zombie in front of the tube all night, then wonder where the evening went. Once I cut the cord, I suddenly had an amazing amount of time in the evenings and on weekends. I spend most evenings drawing, doing home improvement projects, or just going for a walk. Some days I don't even turn on the TV at all.

    I think most people are reluctant to give up cable (or all TV) because they feel like they'll be missing out on something. I understand, I felt the same way. But trust me, you're not missing a thing.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Amy

    There is rarely anything good on anymore. I totally agree and the channels that used to proved something of substance have given new meaning to the "idiot box". I too am considering dropping cable. It is way too expensive and you don't get your moneys worth. The few shows that I do like usually come out on DVD or can be seen on-line. I also subscribe to Netflix for like $13 a month and get an array of interesting movies, documentaries and TV shows that have gone to DVD. I agree that if we could just pay for the channels we watch then that would be fantastic but I doubt that would ever happen.

    January 5, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lori

    I had Dish for about a month last year and it was a huge pain in the butt. They say over 100 channels... they don't tell you that there are about 5 ESPNs, 2 Disney (east and west), 2 Cartoon Networks, etc. I kind of feel like at least cable is more honest with what you get, although I have basic, so maybe it is worse the higher up you go.

    We should actively boycott stupid shows, let the networks know we don't like them and demand better!

    January 5, 2010 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. JeffinOhio

    Ever since GSN let Mel Peachey go from the PlayMania show, I stopped watching. The network is horrible to watch anymore.

    Bring back Mel

    January 5, 2010 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. EJ

    Reality TV will fade away once people stop watching that dreck. Quit turning it on.

    January 5, 2010 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cal1365

    There is one exception to the reality tv format which is also PBS's first (and only) reality series. It's called The Winemakers and seems to be airing and reairing pretty frequently these days.
    The shows strays from the sordid drama synonymous with reality television and appeals to the sophisticated modern. I've also learned quite a bit about the making of wine and the tantalizing culture surrounding vineyard life.
    PBS is one of the few remaining pillars in television staying true to form and maintaining it's standard of high quality, educational and satisfying entertainment. I highly recommend The Winemakers!

    January 4, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. matt james

    'TV Land' should just change their name to "Reality TV Land'. "Class Reunion"? WHO CARES!!! go to your class reunion if you want a laugh, but to try to make a 'reality-drama' out of it? folks, the only person that gives a rip about a class reunion are the ones that GO to it. anyone remember when MTV used to actually have videos and nothing BUT videos?? do they show ANY now? most all TV is crap today, and they are wondering why they are losing viewers and advertising revenue in droves.

    January 4, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TV viewer from the Midwest

    how fun it is to read these comments from people all over the world about how tv is today! I don't have cable TV myself, only a converter box that gets me about 12 channels. I know people who have cable TV. and when I go there to visit, we watch things on Cable that are worthwhile, like the Food Network and the Home and Garden Channel. and TMC (Turner Classic Movies) has good stuff on there too. it annoys me to no end when they have all this special programming, ie. Storm Stories, it could happen tomorrow, etc. on the Weather channel when I'm trying to find actual information about the current weather conditions. and I know that some people enjoy these shows on the weather channel and that's cool and everything. but they're just not for me. I like to watch sitcoms and the news on my own TV, and movies sometimes too. and PBS has lots of good things for people of all ages. and I also have a channel with weather information on it 24/7 through the converter box. that's really handy to have, especially when the weather is bad (like when there's a major snowstorm coming, or something like that). I've never gotten into reality TV, I have enough of my own reality to deal with. and besides most, if not all, of these so-called reality shows are fake anyway. I have never seen this network called GSN in my life. but it sure doesn't sound like I'm missing anything. oh well.

    January 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robert

    Am I reading this right..Televison has something called "shows". I hope they do not interrup the commercials.

    January 4, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TAustin

    It is definetly cheaper and they are targeting the audience that grew up stuck in front of the TV. Those in their 20's love this stuff. I loved The Real World when I was young and knew nothing about AIDS and learned about it from there, now it's all about sex and getting drunk and making fools of themselves. Many of the earlier Real World "stars" can look back and not be to embarassed to watch it with their kids or even their spouses. I too and tired of having so many channels to choose from and can't find a real actor anywhere as it's all so-called reality TV. I will stick to my Netflix online where I can watch documentaries, period movies and see real talent and actually take something away from what I watch.

    January 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alaina

    TV today is a joke. My family and I have not watched in 3yrs.
    Even cartoons are nasty for the kids.
    What happend to family shows?

    January 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sam

    The reason there are so many reality shows is that they are cheaper for networks to produce than scripted programming. Jerry Springer taught us that.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Maryann Rose

    Wow – after reading most of these comments, I find myself in agreement, even though I'm a TV-junkie.

    Over this past loooong holiday weekend, I found myself flipping through 100's of channels looking for something interesting to watch, and found NOTHING! All those channels, and not one single thing worth watching.

    With the economy in the toilet, I'm now seriously considering cutting off my cable tv, and with the money saved, I'll rent Netflix.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rob Lubow

    The only good show on cable is Dr.G. Medical Examiner.

    January 4, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  16. pete

    cable/network tv is a bore. 200+ channels with nothing of merit to watch. i like dvd's, streaming netflix, and I can get my baseball and football games on internet radio.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  17. Warren

    I have not watched any reality show from start to finish. However, I have found that Survivor and The Biggest Loser shows are better produced than all the others combined. GSN should stay with game shows and also not repeat the same episodes so often. Carnie Wilson, Newlywed Game, is not a good host of that show and I do not think her reality show will be a success. I do not like Catch21; it's a stupid show with very little prize money and the host is annoying. Please cancel the show.

    January 4, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  18. soulsabr

    I have not watched cable in so long I've forgotten how bad it was. I turned it on while I was having lunch the other day and decided to crack a book open instead; at least I would be expanding myself that way. TV "entertainment" has dropped so low that it is no longer worth my valuable time to "enjoy". Maybe if they stopped playing follow the leader so much, like every other entertainment venue, I'll tune back in. Oh well, until then, Discworld has my full attention.

    January 4, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  19. Mark

    Please dump your cable or satellite service. Get an over the air antenna and point it toward the largest broadcasting towers. Send the greedy cable and satellite companies you want affordable, quality broadcast stations of your choosing. The over the air signals are free and in high definition. Paying upward of $70.00 to $100.00 to watch a handful of non over the air stations make no sense at all. The only thing that makes any sense is an "a la carte" package that allows consumers to choose only the stations they want and only pay for the privilege watching those stations choosen. That way you only pay for the 30 or so stations you want instead of the 220 stations you don't.

    January 4, 2010 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  20. Patz

    I am beyond fascinated by all the folks who "hate reality shows" but somehow are able to name them all and many of the players. Hey, that is why God created the remote control box and an "off" switch. Apparently, somebody is watching them or they would not have the ratings to continue broadcasting. On Demand from Comcast is worth the bill as is The History Channel, The Discover Channel, The Science Channel and PBS.

    January 4, 2010 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  21. andytw710

    This is one of the funniest section of comments I have ever read. Mot of them read like this: "I have a life now that I got rid of tv but I am going to post a huge long rant online to prove I have a life!"

    I would love to know the average age of people who posted these comments because they all seem like they are 50+ right outside of tv's target 18-49 year old range anyway. Especially with the comments of shows from the 50's and 60's and saying you only watch shows like CSI and Law and Order and long for the days of good wholesome television...give me a break. It saddens me that you can't seem to watch shows that have a serialized plot from episode to episode and like the whole story finished in an hour.

    I liked shows like I Love Lucy and Bewitched when I was younger and would watch them on Nick at Night with my parents but times have changed but shows like that would not work with today's target demographics. Reality TV is cheap to produce and gets high ratings of course cable networks are going to want to make even more shows.

    If you hate commercials get a DVR. If you hate reality shows get a DVR and tape all of your classics, I'm positive Andy Griffith and Dallas are on somewhere at sometime you just need to tape them. There are plenty of good shows it probably just seems that the market is so over-saturated with reality shows that you can't seem to find the actual good (and scripted) series that are produced today.

    If you hate tv in general and got a life, go and prove it. Cause anybody on here posting a rant against reality tv clearly doesn't have anything better to do with their time.

    January 3, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  22. matt james

    Know what I'D like to see? Show the old game shows, in their entirety, and throw in a few of the original commercials for nostalga purposes. Also – let the end credits roll! I am so tired of the end credits being chopped off for GSN to show us yet another shameless self-promo for the 'new-new-newlywed game', or some other GSN show – I would like to see what some of the consolation prizes were being handed out to the unluky bastards that came in last on the old 'jeopardy' & 'password' games... Like a copy of their board game! Talk about a SLAP IN THE FACE! Why not come out ans say, "you suck. Here's the home game, go home and practice more!"

    January 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Conic

    I got tired of Reality TV YEARS ago! I have since gotten rid of cable altogether. When I have time to watch TV, I pick what I want to watch on my Beyond TV PVR or Netflix. No commercials, 100% of the time is spent watching what I want. When I'm done watching, I'm back off to do whatever it is I want to do next.

    People who want to complain about Reality TV and commercials ought to come to realize that with the simple press of a button (the OFF switch) they can take back their lives.


    January 3, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Karen

    I got rid of the TV and cable in June 2009. I now enjoy Netflix and Hulu. Instead of a higher electric bill and cable bill I only spend $26 a month for entertainment. That is what I call reality. Hate those stupid shows.

    January 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Tracey

    As much complaining I see on here about reality tv there's been just as many bad regular scripted tv shows out there. I have seen many great dramas, comedies, etc get canned for terrible ones because thats what the demographics want. And it had NOTHING to do with any reality show.

    January 3, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Anne S.

    I haven't watched any of the reality shows since they first came on. Some I did try to watch, but they got boring, so gave up on them. So scratch them. I only watch one soap opera during the day. At night I turn to Turner Classic Movies. More my style than these movies they have out nowadays with all the violence, sex, profane language, etc. Anyway can't anyone think of something better that these reality shows?

    January 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  27. GeoNorth

    I have watched reality TV since I was a kid. Only then, it was called the Nightly News.

    January 3, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Ken Nambu

    Reality TV is a fad...a long, annoying fad, but a fad nonetheless. Many of these cable networks are going to fade away. Boy, do I miss The Nashville Network.

    January 3, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Rick Bergstrom

    "niche" channels ended when Sci-fi/SyFy started showing wrestling.

    January 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Chris

    Cable companies can expect a dark forecast for 2010. More and more people are sick of paying $100 per month for total crap. If the networks choose to offer their "already free" programming over the Internet why do I need cable tv?

    January 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Tim

    "Reality Show" is really an oxymororn; everything is staged for the sake of reality's perception...

    January 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Jennifer

    No more reality shows. Please!!!

    January 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  33. TDUB

    We cancelled cable TV about 2 years ago. Don't miss it all. We use netflix and have an xbox 360 to stream to our TV, works out GREAT and for 8$ a month...I think my parents are going to follow suit soon as well...they are getting tired of 180$ cable bill with nothing good to watch.

    January 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Nan

    The IQ of the average American seems to have SEVERELY dropped the Shows and "comedies" seem to be geared to people with the minds of a 12 year old. (even shows that are for "adults")
    There are only a few shows that actually entertain educated adults and the rest of the drivel they put out is should be considered insulting with people of average intelligence

    January 3, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  35. CD

    dump cable/satellite, get your TV from over the air. All you need is either a digital TV or a digital converter box. Save yourself some money and at the same time, it will tell the cable/satellite companies we have had enough gouging.

    January 3, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  36. BKOL

    Much as I hate reality shows in general, I try never to miss an episode of "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares." That's it. The only one, unless you count the occasional worthwhile documentary that pops up on History or Discovery when they're not running all their other worthless crap.

    January 3, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  37. Tom

    The Learning Channel is cable's biggest oxymoron. Is it really "learning" watching the insufferable Gosselin family, or watching a "documentary" on the secret life of Tiger Woods?
    They need to change their name to The Lurid Channel to reflect the true nature of their programming. TLC, take the lurid out of your programs and put back in the learning.

    January 3, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  38. BP

    Reality shows are exactly why I don't have cable. I don't need to pay $90 a month for 500 channels of crap.

    January 3, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  39. Jeff in Denver

    I am in agreement with most of the threads above. Reality tv is a lot cheaper for the networks to produce and air. But its at the cost of well written and acted television shows. You want an example, look at NBC. Even 10 years ago, it was the network you had to watch. But now, they have given over to the reality craze, putting Leno on 5 times a week during prime time. And as a result NBC is last in ratings. Except for House and Lost, I dont watch broadcast networks anymore. I watch cable for great shows like Saving Grace, Son's of Anarchy, In Plain Sight, etc.

    If you want reality tv, watch Ax Men, or Deadliest Catch or This old house!

    Im proud to never have watched Survivor, American Idol, Amazing Race...etc

    January 3, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  40. B

    I wish America would STOP watching all reality shows. Just stop watching. They are cheap to produce and the networks will keep making them as long as they have viewers. Most reality shows appeal to the lowest common denominator in society. Look at some of the titles at this site:

    So many of these shows feed off of degrading some segment of the population. Very few of them have any true entertainment value at all and are voyeuristic as a previous poster accurately stated. They are the equivalent of watching a train wreck and for a large, idiotic portion of the population, this qualifies as entertainment.

    January 3, 2010 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  41. texaslady2

    I have been so really angry about the dumbing down of so many formerly good cable channels that I would kick the cable out if it weren't for the fact that over the air reception may soon be a thing of the past. At least that's what some recent articles claim. I pay for over 60 channels, and watch maybe 15 of them. I have no use at all for the religion, Spanish, music or sports channels.

    I am very unhappy about the History channel's dumbing down to shows about "ax men", ice road truckers, and for pete's sake, pawn shop owners! Even the few remaining historical programs usually have a sensationalistic emphasis, such as the endless repetition of Nostradamus prophecies. It is just sad. I used to watch A&E, Discovery, TLC, etc., often, but not any more. They almost never have anything good on now other than reruns of scripted dramas like NCIS or Law & Order. I guess there's no money to be made from providing intelligent entertainment nowadays.

    January 3, 2010 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
  42. Marion

    whodathunk, just so you know, ESPN360 isn't free. They charge your ISP to allow you to watch their programming, a cost that the ISP passes along to you in your bill. Actually, this is a pretty controversial practice because the fear is that other sites will follow. For example, sites like Hulu, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, etc. could decide that, instead of trying to lure in paying subscribers, they'll negotiate with the ISP's and bypass the customers. You'll think you're getting free access, but you'll actually be paying for access, whether you use these sites or not. Kind of like the cable companies do now with their channels.

    January 3, 2010 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  43. John Travis

    Just like TV LAND has gone down hill because it's run by MTV little kids who don't even know what good shows use to be. This will ruin this channel by getting away from what works to chase a dumber audience who doesn't know good programming when they see it.

    January 3, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  44. PTByrd

    Reality Tee Vee . . . YAWWWWWWWWWWWN!

    How tired! . . . Thank gawd I have a computer and a dvd player and books. When is this reality crap going to die?

    January 2, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  45. middleroader12

    I have never watched a reality show. Never watched Survivor, American Idol or Dancing w/the Stars. Rarely watch CNN. Almost never watch anything that's not Tivo'd, so rarely watch commercials. Don't miss them. The sucker advertisers lose money on my family.

    12 years ago I decided that instead of spending evenings watching TV, I was going to spend that same amount of time learning to play an instrument. I now am the principal player for a local orchestra and I make a portion of my living playing that instrument for $$.

    Watching sick "reality shows" is a voyeuristic waste of time. People who do that have a sick kind of addiction and no life.

    January 2, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Gary A. Craig

    Cancel the internet, comcast, quest and all of this stinkin high tech crap, problem solved. Just stay with the old television style before this digital trash came in and screwed up our lives. Lets all just revolt against the government.

    January 2, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  47. qRagsdale

    Cecily – I'm going to follow your example and do the same. I have tons of books i need to read and all the great shows I like are on DVD / hulu... thanks for the advise. Until I can program my own network, this is my new television life.

    January 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  48. whodathunk

    Comcast pricing is absurd. I can either get basic cable (about 30 local channels) for $15, or I can get digital cable (another 200 channels) for $65+. There are no options in between. As a result, I've fired Comcast and turned to free internet sites such as Netflix, ESPN360, Hulu, and

    And don't get me started on "reality" TV. Can't wait until that trend is over. Jon and Kate – give me a freakin break.

    January 2, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  49. CathyG

    Why don't we all turn of the TV and pick up a book?

    January 2, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Janice

    I wish I had the good sense to just get rid of my TV but I'm not quiet ready for that just yet. I absolutley do not watch "reality" shows though. Can't stand them. I can count the shows I actually do watch on a regular basis on one hand but I still have over 250 channels to choose from. How crazy is that??? I am wearing out my remote flipping channels all the time. I have now started DVRing the shows I do watch, namely CSI:(Vegas edition), NCIS, Friday Night Lights and Numb3rs. See, all can be counted on one hand. The rest I flip, flip and more flip. Maybe I could develop that into a game/reality show.

    January 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Jana

    The only reality show I like is American Idol

    January 2, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Realitybites

    There was a time when I could tell you what time slot a particular show aired on and what network..... back when there were actually shows worth watching..... Its all garbage now.

    January 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Marion

    I was just thinking about canceling my satellite subscription earlier today, and I think I will. I have DSL that I use to stream Netflix to my Blu-ray player, but I might end up also picking up a Roku box to get video podcasts. Then I can watch what I want when I want. There are news and information podcasts, and I can supplement those with NPR and reading online news, which is mainly what I do now anyway.

    I'm paying over $70 for satellite with something like 200 channels, and, frankly, I think there was more interesting stuff to watch when cable cost $25 and had 20-30 channels. I'm done with this ripoff.

    January 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Mark

    If we all keep posting these type blogs maybe the cable and satellite industry will get the message. Unreality shows are stupid and staged. The $70.00 plus per month is outragous for the maybe 2 channels you watch. They are playing us for the money because they think we are all so stupid as to pay that exorbitant amount for so little. I have contacted all of the major cable and satellite companies about an a la carte for those of us that would pick for instance 30 channels for $30.00. Guess what, no response! We need to keep up the pressure for we are probably a vast majority that want real change in the broadcast industry concerning quality content and fair pricing.

    January 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  55. bill

    GSN is still on? I haven't turned it on since they dumped my favorite shows What's my Line and I've got a secret.

    January 2, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  56. diane

    I have to say that I am sick of the reality shows as well. I mean, I see young boys and girls emulating the obnixous and rude behavior that they see on tv. We act like these people like they are our role models when they are basically cheap, phony, plastic people that want their 15 minutes of fame. I was very happy watching the Twilight Show marathon and the Honeymooners this weekend. And no, I'm not 80 I'm in my 30's-I appreciate classic tv.

    January 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Royce

    Just a side note for everyone wanting Ala Cart. Remember the big ole C-Band Dishes? They still exist and they have awsome programming that is all ala cart. You can pick and pay for only what you want. And here is the big thing. Over seas they have channels and shows that dont have the rating limits we do. You can watch tons of programming from other countries for free. Yeah you got the big dish in the yard but I remember what that was cool. So what. Get C Band if you still want TV with out the other junk.

    January 2, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Shelley Truong

    I have never watched a reality TV program and never will!! I rather watch re-runs that are worthy of watching, such as CSI, LA & Order, Criminal minds etc ... as far as i am concern, reality programmings are garbage and i refuse to waist a second of my time on the.

    January 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Cal

    I wish we could go "back in time" to all the great shows I grew up with
    in the 50's & 60's! "I Love Lucy", "OZZie & Harriet", "The Carol Burnett
    Show", etc. Good, quality, family programming all the family could sit
    and watch together and feel really good afterwards!..Why aren't their
    any good entertainment shows on anymore, i.e.; Carol Burnett, Dean
    Martin, Lawrence Welk, Mandrell Sisters, & more. TOO BORING, I
    guess for today's NOW GENERATION! Now it is all SEX, SMUT, and
    Commercials. Oh, take me back to a better way of life! For all the
    future generations, I sure wish we could!

    January 2, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  60. John Black Hills/S. Dak.

    Reality TV aka Dildo TV, should be buried along with its developers from this time forward. I find it hard to understand why today's networks produce programing that is an insult to 99% of its TV viewing public. It's not "just change the channel" that's appropriate, stop developing programs that seem to be conceived by remedial thinking producers, and bought by remedial network executives.

    January 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  61. John

    James, have you also noticed the proliferation of shopping channels on both cable and satellite? The "reality" show has less to do with content and audience desire as it does with cost. How hilarious would it be for a federal mandate to put the cost of production in the end titles of each show? Each reality show costs way less to produce than even poorly scripted dramas and sitcoms. It's like Spike Lee said over ten years ago: "In Hollywood there is no black or white; it's all green."

    January 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Cecily

    I ditched my Comcast cable in June. Thought I would go stir crazy without it, but that didn't happen at all. There's always YouTube, Hulu, and podcasts. Plus, I'm reading those books I promised myself I would read years ago. Life is good.

    January 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Dave090

    Hate to double post, but I just remembered that it's going to worse if plans come true for future shows.

    Octomom is supposed to get a show, and other useless shows are planned. I would love to know who comes up with these show ideas.

    Another thing I find annoying is, sadly CNN, and how they keep putting on news about these kind of people and other celebrities, then have the nerve to say the country is obsessed with celebrities. While it's true North America is obsessed with celebrities and their ridiculous lives, it doesn't help when CNN has to report everything every 5 minutes about Jon Gosselin etc. This is one thing I hate about CNN, and they are the worse news channel for it. Other news channels don't report on celebrities as much as CNN does.

    There, glad I got that off my mind.

    January 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Grumpyoldlady

    I remember watching good art films on Bravo. I remember documentaries on A&E that I enjoyed and really learned from. I remember good videos set to actual music on MTV. I remember healthcare information on Lifetime. I remember when you could turn on the Sci-Fi channel and get science fiction, not wrestling. I remember when "reality" meant what was going on in your own real life, not the artificial scripted antics of wannabe and has-been so-called celebrities. Even the History Channel has fallen. Only things left are PBS and TCM – and they'll probably go soon.

    January 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Kris B

    Can Steve Jobs unplug Satellite and cable TV I Hope so !!

    TV sucks big time (I’m not referring to the shows). It’s the commercials that are absolutely out of control and ridiculous.

    I am so sick of reality shows; they are so fake, and the people whose lives revolve around watching this crap need to get a life.

    I get 10 minute segments of program and 15 or 16 minutes of commercials in between ridiculous.

    Dish and Direct TV going up $6 in February, with no extra channels and nothing on!!

    Dish wanting more money, It see that the satellite companies are not hurting, just the little people will be.

    I'm dumping my Dish television service and investing in a digital tuner. I can use FREE Windows 7 PVR to record programs from the main local networks coming through my digital signal.

    Dish Channels are a waste of money, And, HD not worth the money.

    ((Dish TV All thoughts channels nothing on.))

    January 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Dave090

    Agreed with most who are sick of the 'fake' reality shows. TLC used to be my favorite channel, until it went the way of Jon and Kate plus 8 and the other garbage they put on now. Now it's on my list of don't watch channels. It's funny how these channels are worried about loosing viewership, but yet they continue to put out garbage.

    I don't watch much TV due to my work hours, or just not interested in TV. I mostly only watch TV now to get news, or if there is an interesting/ new movie on the movie network. I have over 200 channels and only watch maybe 3 or 4 of those channels. Wast of money having satellite or cable. Most of the channels are the same, or have nothing on.

    It's stupid having 5 of the same channel. There are 3 or 4 CNN's, 4 or 5 family channels etc. etc.

    January 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  67. tg2251

    Is anyone else sick and tired of the non-stop commericials? 4 minutes of show then 6 minutes of commericals???? I thought the orginal reason for cable was to watch tv without all the commericals.

    One other question, can anyone explain why stations do white flashes during advertisements? What is the purpose for it?

    January 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  68. tad

    I made a decision to never own a TV when I left home for college and my life has been richer for it. There are very few characters on TV you would want as why let their blather into your home?

    January 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Bert

    I've read about these reality shows...I've never seen one. We quit watching television in `97 because the ratio of good/bad programming was so low. Now, we'll sample a series via DVD and if we like it, we'll buy it.

    If I could choose the cable or satellite networks I got, I would consider one of those, but to get one good network, you have to buy 40 bad ones. ALL packages include religious and sports programming, neither of which I want anything to do with.

    January 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Jim

    We don't do reality tv any more. Cheap programming for the networks equals poor programming for the consumers. It's no wonder that the public is seeking and finding alternative programming.

    January 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Harris

    December 31, 2009
    Another cable channel losing its niche?
    Posted: 05:03 PM ET

    Is it too much to ask - leaving aside the fact that it's a basic rule of journalism - that you identify a person in a picture, or at least run something that passes for a caption?

    January 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  72. Jon

    My wife and I have never had cable (or satellite) TV since we got married. Our house proudly carries an antenna on the roof and we pick up stations in HD from three different citites. We watch cable TV only in hotel rooms when traveling, Once upon a time we found CNN and the Weather Channel to be very useful at those times, but never considered them important enough to be worth paying $40 a month for "expanded basic" cable service at home. But that was when CNN actually had news and TWC actually had weather! First CNN drifted towards talk shows, then they created HLN for "straight news," then HLN turned into talk shows in the evening! And TWC started to fill up their evenings with "Storm Stories" etc.

    January 2, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  73. Katherine

    I wish like Hell my father didn't have cable. I might actually be able to TALK to him for more than 3.5 minutes at a time!

    January 2, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  74. TC

    "Earth Raping Lummoxes" on the History Channel, live-action shows on Cartoon Network, "Catwoman" on American Movie Classics... at the rate things are going, before long, "Fox News" will be showing actual NEWS.

    January 2, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  75. Ed

    I agree that the TV channels available now have sunk to a new low. I have DirectTV and find that most of the channels are junk.

    Especially, I despise the popup ads on the bottom of the screen and the "reminder" on the top left of the screen about an upcoming show. I noticed that some channels (History and Discovery, especially) will have a 30 second synopsis on the show of what happened before the commercial break. If they did not have such long commercial breaks, maybe we could remember what happened before the break.

    Also, I once was watching a movie on SpikeTV. The movie was to end at half past the hour (say 7:30pm). At 7:00pm, the commercial break started. It was going full force at 7:10pm. At 7:15pm and just before the movie restarted, SpikeTV announced that the commercial break was long so that they could air the last 15 minutes of the movie without commercial interruption. Talk about breaking the mood!!! I cannot get SpikeTV now and do not miss it.

    I now buy movies to watch instead of watching them on satellite. I have over 400 movies in VHS, CED, LD and DVD formats and watch what I want, when I want it without inane commercial interruptions.

    January 2, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  76. Anna

    The reason that television, cable or broadcast, is filled with reality shows is because they are cheaper to produce than quality programming. The reason that cable and broadcast news is filled with hack pundits is that investigative journalism is too expensive to pay for, so they just put their know-it-alls in front of the cameras to spin. You get one from the left, one from the right and a "news reader" to referee the whole thing. That is cheap folks.

    Like every other big business in this country, the way they do things today is so that the most money goes to their stock holders. It is no longer about providing what people need.

    January 2, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  77. minnesota

    My wife asked to cancel the Comcast very expensive cable service since she claimed we didn't watch that much TV, since I travel frequently for business, she is busy attending the home and our son is at school or playing outside in Summer or inside in Winter. This was the best decision ever, we saved a lot of money we can used to buy DVDs of what we really like, have more Movie-Pizza nights or even go to the Movie Theater more often and at the end have more family quality time, Think about it, saving over 100 bucks each month, How many DVDs you can buy in Walmart or Target and own them forever?.
    I prefer to pay the most higher internet connection and also see Hulu, and other free TV content program websites.
    You also can get surprise that the public TV can have some good content with much less "reallity" trash. We prefer our son watches PBS kids cartoons rather than the violent cable "kids" TV channels.

    January 2, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  78. carl

    I got sick of all the garbage on tv and cut my cable package back as well. I am saving over $ 50 extra a month.

    I watch more tv on the internet now than I ever did. I may get rid of my cable all together one day. I read how more people are going back to antenna tv. Maybe I will as well.

    January 2, 2010 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  79. Mark

    The "topic drift" observed in such phenomena as "Music Television" with no music, a "History Channel" with no history, and an "Arts" channel featuring only crime shows is not limited to television.

    There is a magazine called "Rolling Stone" which began life in the 60s as a counter-culture music magazine. Now, they cover fashion, movies, politics, and more fashion, with an occasional piece about music thrown in.

    After several years of this I switched to "Spin" magazine, which covered exclusively music. Now, "Spin" covers fashion, movies, politics, and more fashion, with an occasional piece about music thrown in.

    I've started reading my music news on the Internet, since magazines just can't seem to stay on this topic, just like MTV.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  80. Fan

    It's cheaper & easier to air mindless crap where people don't have to think. Another example of this country "dumbing down" & going backwards.

    January 2, 2010 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  81. Priscilla Norfolk

    Wow, I have never seen so many people in agreement on any one topic as this! I don't have to repeat what most others have stated re: Reality Shows, commericials,(too many per program), Infomercials, stupid shows like Jon & Kate plus 8, (thank God Octo-Mom wasn't put on the air) and all the other "junk" I have to pay for that I don't watch, not to mention the texting,pop-ups, and the huge station logo's on screen. I realize what channel I'm watching.Why do they think I need a constant reminder of which one I chose?
    Ala carte' choice is such a great idea! I love documentaries, true history,true medical shows, and for "entertainment" loved the old Variety shows,ie: Milton Berle, Ed Sullivan,Sonny and Cher, Carol Burnett, et al.
    Thought that TV Land would carry those, ....not! With the money the Cable companies get from subscribers,commercials,infomercials,etc. it is downright disgusting for what we end up with. Re: Reality shows, I once tuned in on one and saw "jerks" eating worms,roaches,etc to win ....whatever, and that was the only time I saw one. They climbed,and clawed their way to the top by the most devious behavior,schemeing their way to win money, with all the behaviors I avoided teaching my children as they were growing up. My motto to my children from day one was, No lying,cheating or stealing. Now we have shows to show them just how to do those things. People like Donald Trump are the "Principle" of that school of thought! Someone remarked about HULU above, and I will check that out. I too get my "news' on my computer via Internet. I also "read" the news from several on-line newspapers from the cities I used to live in which is another way to "keep up" with what is really going on in the world.The genre's of available music on satilite tv is a great way to relieve stress, re live the good times in my life, and relax while I'm doing chores around the house. I used to watch the Judge shows, but now all that they run are relatives suing relatives for idiotic reasons,just to get some "spending money" for the family during these difficult financial times. When my contract is over I plan to make major changes in my household re: television. You can "take it to the bank" that I will be on my computer more for news,weather, movies, and whatever it is that tv used to offer and no longer does!

    January 2, 2010 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  82. Zenzen

    It's funny reading these comments, its like every person in the world hates reality tv. Who's watching these crappy shows then?

    January 2, 2010 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  83. j

    I pride myself on having never watched a reality TV show. They are substandard bunk and not worth my time. I'd much rather read a good book or work in the garden.

    January 2, 2010 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  84. Jerry

    Until my elderly inlaws moved in with us last year, we had gone 16 years without cable. So I was curious to see what I had been missing. Didn't take long to find out...nothing. My 80 year old mother-in-law doesn't do computers, so I understand why she wants TV. As for the rest of us, my kids hardly even watch. They have video games, DVD's and social networking. My wife does crafts. I get my news online, watch football online, watch NASA TV online, read websites, blogs, & books. If a burglar stole every TV in the house it would be days before I noticed. Oh, and just as an aside, CNN, it's much nicer to have NPR deliver the news in a calm reasonable tone of voice in the morning, instead of listening to your (and Fox's) anchors going apoplectic over some kid supposedly floating in a toy balloon.

    January 2, 2010 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
  85. ebolooaaa

    Actually we are the "CHUMPS" paying for cable or satelite services has got to be the biggest RIPOFF ever. We pay for 24 hour programming and we get back to back to back to back informecials
    They are paying cable and satelite to televise their BS, and we pay the same people to watch their BS. I guess the programmers there have come to the conclusion that the American public that are idiotic enough to do this, they can force feed us all of these rabid reality shows along with at least 10 cartoon channels, 7 non english channels, wouldn't it be nice in this high TECH World that we live in, that the customers were allowed to pick the channels that they really want, then we wouldn't have to be stuck with all of these dumb package deals, and channels that noone watches anyway.....but they couldn't make any money that way, can they

    January 2, 2010 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
  86. Candy

    Say it isn't so! Aren't there enough channels to watch reality T.V. on? For that matter, I live in "reality". I don't need to turn on the T.V. for it.

    January 2, 2010 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  87. Greg

    Reality crap is cheap to produce, combined with almost 25% commercials these days, plus monthly cable bill = we get screwed, TV producers make tons of money. They need to wake up- blackmailing each other for higher fees and rates is not the answer to declining revenues – Crap TV is the thing that is driving viewers away.


    January 2, 2010 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  88. nfn

    I pretty much stick to PBS if I want to watch TV, which was great to re-discover. I grew tired of cable and satellite when, for example, GSN got rid of many of the classic game shows they used to show, MTV stopped playing videos, and SciFi stopped playing shows like Dark Shadows, Tales From The Darkside, etc. Reality shows are cheap to make. Cable networks love infomercials. YouTube is great because you can watch the shows that cable networks are too cheap to put on the air. It is about money and not the viewer.

    January 2, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  89. Brad

    When will we finnaly be able to buy cable channels "ala carte"? So I wont have to buy crappy channels like GNC or MTV in order to get the channels I want?

    January 1, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  90. RK

    Yup, got rid of satellite/cable/tv a year ago – I dry looped a DSL connection (32 dollars) 8.99 per month, and a live subscription of about 45 per year and stream netflix over the x-box – commercial free shows, no corner bugs, no ads – and I watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it.

    537 a year for high speed internet, all the commercial free programming you want, when you want it.

    I need a cellphone anyway, so there really was no use for a home phone.

    January 1, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Ryan

    I miss niche channels and I REALLY miss intelligent tv. I actually used to watch TLC's 'Great Books' marathons (if they ever come out on DVDs, I will SO buy them) and then go read the books. I used to love A&E when they aired reruns of Northern Exposure and produced tv movies and miniseries along with the partners such as the likes of the BBC. I even loved a good Friday night on Discovery with an episode of 'A Haunting'. But now every channel has been dumbed down and cheaped out with reality tv and destroyed their niches while claiming to be the same niche channel. Up here in Canada, The History Network is premiering a reality show about a Las Vegas pawnshop – how the &*%$ is that history? Channels are either trading in quality for the lowest common denominator and whatever pablum makes their advertisers the most money. A&E needs to change their name to C&R for Crime & Rehab since that's all they air now. And TLC should be called Homemakers & Homewreckers since all they air are home decorating shows and Jon&Kate wannabees.

    Meanwhile, a cheesy censored commercial-interrupted movie channel (AMC) is making two of the most praised and nominated drama shows on tv? Let's hope that's the vanguard of a tv rennaisance. I doubt A&E or TLC will be leading the way though.

    January 1, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Donna Schwed

    I will be cancelling my cable also. Too frequent "loud"commercials are annoyances. If there are any good movies, usually they are very late. SNL loaded with stupid humors, there is nothing to laugh at.
    Too many sports channels, football, baseball and others during a weekend on main channels 2,4,5,7.
    There are so many beautifull movies, entertainment programs, and educational programs from which our young generation can learn something good .Why can't they be broadcast more often.
    Programing should be designed to have more universal appeal, and
    more specifically not dumbed down to the least common denominator, because after all we are indeed paying for it.

    January 1, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Jo

    That's why I got rid of cable. I'm not paying all that outragous money, for all those channels of the same crap, when I can watch all those same local channels of the same crap. If I cared too. I have a movie collection that includes everything from the calssic cartoons, to retrospectives, indy, and today's classics. If there's a halfway decent, intelegently thought out show, it's canned. After 12:00 on most nights everything's an infomercial. All cable channels!. Forget it. I wanted to be able to turn on the T.V at 2:00am and watch the Beaver, or a music video. Not today. So sad.

    January 1, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Royce

    It is nice to see posts on an article where everyone is in agreeance. I have 10 children. Five are still living at home right now. I don't even own a TV. We watch movies on a movie projector as a family. I don't own console game systems either. My family gets along just fine without them. They play outside, they play together in their rooms or sit at the table and play board games and cards. We get our entertainment from select movies and we are active in a great church. We don't need TV. Someone posted saying they remember when there was no cable. How about when TV's didnt exist? How about when cell phones and computers didnt exist. People were still happy. In fact there is more conflict now with the "media" then there ever was.

    January 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Stephen - NYC

    In two weeks I will be canceling my Directv package since I have been unemployed for a year and can no longer afford it. I got an extra converter from my mom and will viewing whatever I can via OTA stuff and streaming things on various sites.
    But, I have stopped watching Mythbusters on Discovery since they put all the extra text on the screen (e.g., "New episode of Mythbusters – Monday @ 9"). And History & Nat Geo have become one big commercial channel with a little bit of entertainment in each episode. So, I've cut down on what I watch there as well.
    I never watch any 'reality' crap. I no longer watch TVLand & a lot of other channels (due to the same on-screen text problem). And if a channel goes to the also despicable practice of starting or ending at weird times (e.g., 9:59 or 11:01) then I don't watch them. I too love TCM, but the joys of Netflix let me rent some of those movies so I am not totally without them.
    I remember the days before deregulation (pre-1978) when you had a small, fixed amount of commercial time per hour. Watch an episode of M*A*S*H pre-1978 on your vcr and you'll notice that the episode has about 23 minutes or so of actual show, plus credits, so you only had about 4 or 5 minutes of ads in a 30-minute block.
    When SciFi announced with great fanfare a number of years ago that they were going to broadcast the original Star Trek series uncut, I was like, wow, they would be worth watching, since the show was pre-1978. But alas, what SciFi gave with the right hand it took with the left hand, as the show didn't run in an hour, but rather 90 minutes. So you still had the show cut, because you didn't get to watch it with the same commercial break schedule. So, I didn't bother to watch it.
    "Friends" & NBC kept adding 30 seconds of commercials in the later years because, well, it's only 30 seconds. And that argument might have made sense in 1979, but by the time "Friends" was into its last couple of years, the amount of actual show content had already slid down the slippery slope of commercials and crashed into the wall.
    I laugh when I see a show online and the progress bar shows it runs at maybe 43 or 44 minutes. But that includes the credits. If a network or cable channel wants me to sit through a show, then go back to truly limited commercial time. Don't make me forget what I was watching. No more than 5 minutes per 30 minutes. NO POP-UPS. NO ON-SCREEN TEXT MESSAGES. NO SQUISHING OF CREDITS TO SQUEEZE IN ads. And if you really want me to love your network, get rid of the logo from the screen too. Or at least minimize it.

    January 1, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Joe

    The last posting on this topic from Sam, at 5:23 EST, 12/31/09, couldn't have said it better. I too am so sick of reality television shows. I call it "so-called" reality tv. I'm sick and tired of people becoming "infamous" and then getting a reality show as a result; or becoming infamous because of a reality show. I don't care about the Gosselin's; he's a jerk and she's something I can't say here. The Kardashian's are nothing but no-talent losers who are only famous because of their famous attorney father; Robert Kardashian, who defended O.J. Simpson in the 10 month murder TV trial program in 1995. I would like to provide one piece of evidence as to how fake these reality shows are. Back in 2000 or 2001, I happen to be channel surfing one night, I have CBS out of New York on my satellite and came across the season finale of Survivor. Pretty boy Probst (Survivor host) was arriving in a helicopter on the back lot of Television City in Hollywood. It was sometime in May, the time change had already taken place. It still should have been sunlight outside. The on-screen graphic said "LIVE, 6:45 PM PDT." The helicopter was landing in the dark. Sadly, reality tv shows are low-budget endeavors, like most talk shows, so they are going to be around FOREVER. Yes, people like me can hate them, not have a clue what is happening on them, but they are never going away. I get all the info I need about reality TV shows from The Soup. That is the best reality tv show on tv right now.

    January 1, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Babyjazz

    I'm with you all. You hear that major networks. Clean up your lack of, dysfunctional TV line-ups. Whatever happened to the old TV Shows. Major networks CBS, NBC, ABC and all the other croonies. I will cancel my programming. And they will be filed under garbage like my credit cards, cell phone bill, mortgage payment. There is a life without these bills and so will it be without TV.

    January 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  98. jandoe

    Reality TV isn't really all that new, it's just changed forms. But I remember The Gong Show, Candid Camera, and that show with Art Linkletter talking to kids, and these shows all succeeded long before the cable era. Not to mention sporting events which are also a kind of reality show, and for that matter, game shows!

    I still find plenty worthwhile on TV. Channels that I don't care for, I just don't watch and I program my TV to skip right by them so I am not bothered by the channels that I don't care for.

    January 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  99. bobby

    Why GSN doing this? my wife love
    gsn now they it going to be like mtv,vh1 and vh1 Classic.
    please gsn no Reality craps.we need to E-mail to GSN stop this show.
    and don't watch it.

    January 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Justin

    Trig– Im sorry but I dont buy that cable companies can't do individual channels. I think they dont do it because it is not profitable to them. They won't get kickbacks from channels for promoting them and having them "bundled in". They COULD do individual channels if they wanted. I could call my cable company right now and order certain channels such as, HBO, Cinimax, Starz, Showtime, etc., and within 10 minutes they will be available on my TV! So why couldn't they just run that for every channel? I think because it wouldn't benefit them. With all the technology we have, I am sure they can get a cable box that can manage channel subscriptions with relative ease..... Just my 2cents...

    January 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  101. hector

    We haven't had television for 5 years and we haven't missed anything. Do yourself and your families a favor...and get back to reality (not the fake ones you "see" on TV)

    January 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  102. Trig

    I used to work for Adelphia/Time Warner Cable. As an employee I always understood the business model of "bundleing" and "packages". EVERY industry has, travel, restauraunts, you name it. No cable company could ever survive if customers were allowed to choose nothing but individual channels to their liking. The technical logistics nightmare alone would be catestrophic for both the company and the consumer. However, the consumer is truly the one with the power to change those business models, and I agree that a huge consumer revolution towards an archaic cable industry is most certainly on the horizon. With internet, DVD, Blu-ray and on-line delivery of programming direct to your TV, we are already seeing the decay and dissapearance of physical video stores, newspapers and magazines. The times they are a-changin'!

    January 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  103. Susanna

    So called Reality TV exists because it is cheap to produce. No pesky actors, not a lot of writing, etc. Watching one of these shows makes you feel so icky that you want to take a bath.
    A lot of the hoopla for these "shows" and their "stars" is manufactured by the media because, hey they gotta' sell ad time some how. Then they ram it down our throats and tell us it's because so many people are interested in it! Yeah, right.
    History Channel, what History Channel, they gave up on that a long time ago.
    And the commerical time! They run so many commercials on shows anymore that I forget what I'm watching!
    BBC America is a HUGE disappointment. AMC should rename themselves the "Godfather" channel. Don't waste your time on Ovation, they butcher the movies and other shows on the channel to get in more commercials.
    I'm thinking of cutting back on my cable because so much of it is crap.
    Doesn't anyone in Hollywood have a creative bone left in their body?

    January 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  104. stacy

    yes change the channel please...more sports channels...

    January 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  105. Marty

    My thought is in a sense Reality Shows actually puts regular everyday people in a show and give them an actual chance at stardom or a Grand Prize or whatever it be. It's actually a good things to give an ordinary person a chance at something extra ordinary. I don't myself enjoy a lot of the reality shows. But, I think it's great that an average everyday hard working person gets a chance at something. I think the term reality should be re-thought. Because as someone said in a comment once the cameras are rolling how much reality is there in that..knowing your on camera. But, the big T.V stars make so much and have so much more than the average working person. So, yeah let the little people get something too!

    January 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  106. mmarti

    So here's my thought (and I do watch a lot of reality programming)..In this fast paced world of multi tasking, reality TV allows me to "watch" without having to pay attention so I can be on line, on FB, or the internet, or working, catching up on emial etc......drama's, sitcoms, comedies, and even movies..... require somewhat more attention to be paid to follow a story line...Reality allows me to look up every once in a while and see something that catches my attention without having to really "stop" what I'm works for me!

    January 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  107. Terry from West Texas

    There is nothing real about reality shows. Twelve morons squabble like six-year old chldren for 50 minutes and then they vote one moron off the show. The camera pans in tightly on the weekly loser so we can see that her feelings are really hurt, which is what everyone is hoping for.

    Real reality shows are things like Cops and Funniest Home Videos.

    January 1, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  108. Donna

    We live in a remote area – no cable. We have to pay for satellite tv and satellite network. They charge you $100/month for satellite if you want a large bandwidth. They charge $135/month for satellite – as you have to pay for "good" channels extra and then they charge you for each room you watch tv in. So I'm paying $235/month to have tv and internet connection. That's almost $3,000 a year. I didn't realize how stupid that sounded 'til I wrote it down.

    January 1, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  109. GD

    Sorry...don't have Cable, Dish, etc. It's wonderful not having to pay to watch crap, commercial or otherwise.

    Just think how much better we'd all be if the networks suddenly disappeared.

    January 1, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  110. larry Benfield

    I have been without cable for more than 2 years and don't miss it. Between the internet and Netflix I can pick and choose quality programs over all the mindless garbage the networks produce these days. I can't understand why we pay such high premiums for a 100 or more channels that we never use. The bigger problem is not cable or the networks but the fact that the veiwing audeince is dumbing down and could care less about shows that have thought prevoking or stimulating stories. The networks following the cash cow and reality tv is what many Americans want so thats what they are going to produce.

    January 1, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  111. Jim

    I remember when Headline News used to broadcast... news. Hey, "HLN", when did "Headline" become "Head Line"?

    January 1, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  112. Al Chapman

    All of these channels should just become one huge channel and call themselves the "reality" channel. Every channel that was once really great is becoming garbage. MTV hasn't shown music videos in more than a decade (yet is still called MUSIC television). VH-1 (VIDEO HITS one) also shows very little music. All of the "niche" channels are fading away. It will be a great day when these horrible "reality" shows also fade away!!!

    January 1, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  113. sick of cable

    I don't even have cable anymore. Between infomercials and eality tv there is hardly anything left to watch. You can get two hundred channels, but only want 10 of them. cable is an unnessacary expense.

    January 1, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  114. Dave

    More garbage TV you'll have to pay for.

    January 1, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  115. Michael

    We dumped cable about six months ago, and I can't say I miss it. Like other commentors here, I got sick of channels (MTV, VH1, TLC, etc.) that abandoned their niche for lame reality shows and news channels that are more opinion than actual news reporting. There are a few network shows I still watch, but there's a lot more interesting fare for me on the three PBS channels available to me over the air in pure HD, not compressed as many cable companies routinely do. My local library has a great DVD collection (not to mention books, magazines, and CD's) that I can borrow for free, and Redbox for the occassional new movie rental.

    January 1, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  116. JoBo

    It seems that actual TV's are getting bigger and better and will probably be able to make our coffee one day in the near future. But what's the point of buying a brand new TV costing BIG bucks when there is less and less good stuff to watch .... not to mention the zillions of commercials that we now have to slog through. Why doesn't someone in the TV industry get on board and start working on better TV programming as TV manufacturers have done with their products?

    January 1, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  117. Amie

    Wow. This article seems to be a lightning rod for TV-haters. That's fine. Not everyone has to love television. But the entire medium is not beyond redemption.

    I, too, have no interest in the majority of these "reality" shows that follow around self-important, non-self-aware, vapid social climbers and exhibitionists (we all have to get over the label "reality" and accept those shows for what they are, regardless of what the genre is called). But I do find some entertainment in watching a small selection of some of the "reality competition" shows, and other well-written and/or entertaining scripted shows. That said, I also don't get any entertainment, personally, out of watching sports, yet millions of other people watch football and basketball and tennis and golf and make some of those events the highest rated programming on television. I don't feel the need to criticize any network for airing those lucrative things, or any person for enjoying them, and I'm certainly not going to cancel my TV package because I have about 8 sports-related channels I never tune into.

    Yes, there has been a proliferation of television programming that I have no interest in and which sometimes bewilders me. I simply don't watch those shows. But without our strange, wide field of cable networks there may not have been the opportunity for superbly written, gripping shows such as The Wire, Damages, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Dexter, Big Love, Deadwood, The Shield, and many others. None of these shows aired on the broadcast networks, and most of them could not. If it means some channels are going to segment out and show hours of programming of "celebutantes" and social climbers, that's fine. I have better things to watch.

    January 1, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  118. Deb

    Another addition to previous comment. CNN does the best job of reporting the news, but there are still too many side shows. Obviously I can go to CNN website for news on demand. (BBC news should be a model for all news networks).

    January 1, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  119. M

    I haven't had cable for years and don't miss TV at all. So many people I know go home and watch DVR'ed shows all night while they DVR more shows. Get a life. I would rather go for a jog and lose a few pounds than watch a dozen weepers crash diet their way through The Biggest Loser. Need a resolution? Go take a dance lesson when DTWS is on. Go to a local concert or karaoke night when AI is on. Organize a drawer, reupholster a chair, or plant a flower instead of watching HGTV for ten hours. Buy a new ingredient when Top Chef is on.

    The point is... do something. Don't watch other people live their lives while stepping back from your own. There's nothing wrong with a little TV, but I am sick of hearing about show schedules and who cried and all of those great ideas that are never put into practice.

    January 1, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  120. Dave Camp

    I live in an area, that doesn't have cable, so that leaves satelite. I dropped the satelite 10 years ago. I had withdrawals for about 2 weeks. Started buying DVDs. Now with VOD via the net, I can watch what I want when I want, with little or no commercials. Who needs it??


    January 1, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  121. Deb

    I am ready to pull the plug on expanded cable, too. Talk about quantity versus quality. I remember when HBO showed nothing but movies, MTV was about music videos. I could turn on the Weather Channel to find out what to expect from the atmosphere or the news networks to find the latest news. ( "NO" I do not consider Fox a news network). And the biggest disappointment–The History Channel. Wasn't it supposed to be about history? If it were not for PBS I think TV would supply anyone with a third grade education what he/she needs in entertainment and information. I hope my cable company doesn't notice that I have two PBS stations on basic cable.

    January 1, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  122. Justin

    I hate reality shows too for the most part. Got old really quick. I just like to pretend Jack Bauer is real... and Chuck Norris. Now if they could have a Chuck Norris channel, I would be all over it! 🙂

    January 1, 2010 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
  123. Dick Bacon

    i never watched any of this reality garbage. cancelled TV last summer and thought i would miss it. i don't.

    you can download decent shows from itunes and the internet is a much better source of news.

    now i control what i watch, not the network slobs.

    January 1, 2010 at 5:08 am | Report abuse |
  124. Rara

    I love the GSN, just wish they would bring back LINGO, try it again with a new generation. You actually have to use your brain on that show..

    January 1, 2010 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
  125. Comrade Rutherford

    The 18 – 24 year old market is the ONLY market segment.

    If you are NOT 18 – 24, the TV companies do NOT want to hear from you.

    Therefore ALL channels MUST put on what the marketing department decides the 18 – 24 year olds want to see. If you don't like it, to bad for you.

    There will NEVER be a-la-carte channel choices, as the cable worker mentioned. ESPN's fees are so incredibly huge that every one of us is forced to buy ESPN to subsidize it. (ESPN = socialism!) The vast bulk of your TV bill is the one fee for ESPN.

    I live in rural middle of nowhere, there is no cell service within 20 miles of my house, for example, yet I have Comcast (formerly Adelphia who were no where near as evil as Comcast). I must have high-speed internet, since I make my living on that. Comcast charges $80/month JUST for internet. If you get TV, they lower that fee to $60/month, but the TV adds another $60, so it's a whopping $120/month for internet and TV. Man, Comcast is evil.

    And the Dish, either Direct TV of Dish Network, is EXACTLY the same price as cable. The only difference is that you can't get high-speed internet with a satellite service.

    January 1, 2010 at 3:35 am | Report abuse |
  126. E

    I've gotta be honest here. With all the reality TV that's on, I can't tell that half of these channels even play anything else! I'm not that old, but what happened to MTV playing music? It's ridiculous. I stick to a few sitcoms on some networks and that's it. The rest? Forget it. It's almost enough to make paying for cable look totally pointless other than for some movie channels (HBO, Showtime, etc). Just goes to show how the intelligence of the general public is dropping.

    January 1, 2010 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  127. SW

    Why can't cable channels leave well enough alone and put the so called "Reality Show's" in their proper place, the cutting room floor. I only watch Food Network, DIY, Turner Classic Movies, GSN and CNN. The rest of the channels I have blocked. I'm 30 years old and have only watched 1 reality show and that was the original survivor and that was 10 years ago. Never really could understand all the hype about em. I could retch when I hear of a new million of em when the fall season rolls around. I actually watch more TV shows from the 70-80's online or the ones I have a season or 2 of on DVD or I pick up a nice big book and read that. BRING BACK QUALITY TV!!! Let the reality shows die and yesterday. That ship sunk before it began and put something entertaining on. And they wonder why kids today are getting into more trouble. It's the shows they have on now.

    January 1, 2010 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
  128. Mary

    TV has become "junk." Need to get back to reading books.

    January 1, 2010 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
  129. Amanda blue

    GSN should be showing GAME SHOWS. It was awesome when they would show classic ones from the 50s and 60s. Now the channel is garbage just like MTV (16 and pregnant isn't really music Television), A&E (where is the arts on that channel? It's all crime shows), TVLand and Nick at Nite (classic Tv does NOT include garbage from FOX in the 90s).

    SusieK: apparently you don't have the FOX Reality Channel on your Cable TV?

    January 1, 2010 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  130. Doug

    I see TV as a modern day barometer gauging our society as it is today, and a predictor for our future. As I see it now, TV hit its peek years ago and it's now on the decline, as is our own society is in decline. Our society is becoming a sicker society, tainted with interests around watching other people fail and getting a thrill from it – Reality TV. Yea I guess it is Reality TV. It's showing us for who we really are. On top of all this, money fuels it and helps drive the networks to gear shows to generate more money, regardless of whether or not it's right, or that we should have it. A self-perpetuating spiral that's getting more wicked, and deeper as the years pass on.

    January 1, 2010 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  131. Kate

    There is nothing real about reality TV. I stopped watching so called reality TV way back in 1995 halfway through MTV's real world London season. Whenever I see or hear about reality TV in way I turn the channel. I prefer scripted drama, sci-fi and comedy shows no matter the network. Reality shows are like a cancer that must be eradicated as quickly as possible because they are ruining TV and might have ruined TV forever.

    January 1, 2010 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  132. Kris Wood

    The only reason I have TV is for my kids, and even with their programming I've really had to watch what they're watching due to the amount of crap kid's channels have in them now...there's about 2 hours of worthy kids programming on every day, 15 minutes of worthy local news, and every so often a sporting event I can't get online. My TV is cheap, if it ever gets more expensive, I'm out. I just wish I could focus the money I pay on developing the programs I actually support rather than blanket-profiting all the shit on TV.

    And has anyone really questioned wether people are actually watching ALL of these reality programs, or are they simply leaving the TV on for noise? God knows that's all they're good for...Survivor Season 1 was the beginning and end of watchable "reality" TV.

    January 1, 2010 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  133. Joan

    Sam, all I can say to you is that if you are tired of reality shows, either change the channel or turn off the tv. There are so many channels and many shows that aren't reality shows that you shouldn't have a problem finding something to watch.

    January 1, 2010 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  134. Stolice

    Hate reality TV always have. And they've cut the number of episodes of many of the good series that are online and increased the number of episodes for reality tv. I've already cut the cable. I now watch what I want online exclusively, even if I have to wait for it.

    January 1, 2010 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  135. Paul Minzer

    When one finally finds a Program or movie worth watching, one third of the screen is BLOCKED with an advertisments poping up for some other program.

    I want my Computer Pop-up Blocker on TV!

    This happens more and more often, It is like being in a Movie theatre where people constantly walk back and forth in front of you.

    Destroys whatever one is watching. Angred by the interuption, one will NOT watch the "Pimped" show.

    Angry people Do Not Buy what one is selling!

    January 1, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  136. Lsxr

    Only reason I have satellite is for kids shows for the children. I no longer watch from any nielsen rated TV feed; I download shows and watch them on my terms. I have no time for insipidly pedantic "Reality" shows that are all 100% fabricated, scripted. The only thing worse are "entertainment news" outlets that serve to churn the gossip mill, fabricate drama and rake in $$$ in advertising.

    December 31, 2009 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  137. Jay Brown, Concord, NH

    Hey folks !! Newsflash...most of the shows you are paying $100 a month for are available on the internet now for FREE !

    December 31, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  138. jose

    GSN should try getting more recent shows or kids game shows. The reality-phony documentary type shows are way too plentiful.

    December 31, 2009 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  139. Su

    Quoting a reliable cricic: I'm mad as hell and I'm NOT gonna take it anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reality my eye. The only way to overcome this blight is to keep your money in your pockets. And since they seem to believe our youth are the ones with the money, don't give THEM any to spend either! Make them earn what they want to spend and they won't have time to waste on this trash. The entire generation we are cultivating next will be nothing but balloon boys without brains...

    December 31, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  140. Donnie

    I have a Sirius sat. radio and listen to the old time radio classics channel now instead of watching television and I enjoy it very much. I don't miss the T.V. at all.

    December 31, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  141. Donnie

    I hate what has become of television with all of the reality shows. The news programming stinks now (not news just opinions. The weather, what weather. I used to watch a lot of A&E, Discovery, History and TV Land until the programmers ruined them. Home and Garden channel used to be about homes and gardens and now it just stinks and should change it's name to the home buying and selling network. The one network I still enjoy is RTV (Retro TV) on a local TV stations digital channel and it's free over the air.

    December 31, 2009 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  142. Kathy

    I agree cable tv has gone to the dogs. Nancy Grace is a
    dis-grace . And Im sick and tired of Jon and Kate,
    and all the other crap they show . Bring back descent tv.

    December 31, 2009 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  143. RichardD

    Your local library is slam full of great entertainment. They are called books; you know, those things printed on paper. There are dramas, mysteries, biographies, comedies, everything. And no commercials every five minutes either. Many libraries these days also have DVD's to lend at no cost for those who just have to watch a screen. Try your library. The stuff there is a whole lot more fun, interesting, and attention grabbing than almost anything on our deteriorated TV.

    December 31, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  144. Kevin

    I recommend just getting rid of cable. Regular television is free. I don't need 100+ channels to flip through before realizing there is nothing worth watching. Its much quicker with only eight!

    December 31, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  145. Shawn

    Watching reality shows only allows one to escape their own reality. I choose not to watch any reality shows, and always skip the Fox Reality Channel. I pay for satellite and LOVE it. Beats cable any day, and i mainly watch movies and tv shows anyways (good ones, not reality crap). I'd rather go back to the good ole days and be able to watch music videos on MTV or computer/tech help on TechTV. That was the reason to get cable in the first place....all the niche channels. Anybody see that reality show on the Weather Channel lately???

    December 31, 2009 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  146. Hank

    A psychological study was done in 2004 to find out why reality TV is so popular ( The report is a bit on the heavy side of reading, but these were the main conclusions based on 16 basic human desires: (1) The results showed that status is the main motivational force that drives interest in reality television. The more status-oriented people are, the more likely they are to view reality television and report pleasure and enjoyment. People who are motivated by status have an above-average need to feel self-important. (2) Reality television viewers are more motivated by vengeance than are nonviewers. The desire for vengeance is closely associated with enjoyment of competition.

    December 31, 2009 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  147. BG

    I've been considering dropping cable (well, satellite) for a while, and reading these comments only make me want to take that next step. I get sick and tired of being pandered to like I'm an idiot, and dictated by networks as to how I should watch my TV. Contrary to popular belief, I don't need 200 pop-up ads telling me to watch "Family Guy-Sunday at 9:00", etc. In addition to pop-ups, I am sick of "shrinking" the closing credits of a show, so you can get another commercial for your crap programming.

    I stopped watching GSN a while ago, and they're joining a long list of cable networks that could go dark tomorrow, and I wouldn't shed a tear. As much as the companies charge, you'd think the networks would listen to more of what viewers want...

    December 31, 2009 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  148. John

    When I retired in 2007 I also got rid of cable, not because I couldn't afford it (I can in spades) But because of all the mindless banality. I haven't missed it. I have my books, my computer and if I really want to see something I buy it on DVD. There are alternatives to watching TV!

    December 31, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  149. Phil

    Reality shows are very inexpensive to produce and can easily make money for the networks, that is why you are seeing a lot of them. If one fails, they have another one ready to slide in the time slot. For the price of a "Friends" for example they could probably produce and distribute 100 reality shows.

    December 31, 2009 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  150. Eric Nicolas

    Yes – another diet show! There's nothing like laying on the couch eating a cheesburger and watching fat people lose weight.

    December 31, 2009 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  151. Carol

    Got rid of my cable a year ago, and I don't miss it at all. I only watch TV a couple times a month, and even then not very long because with 18 digital channels (yeah for old 50's tall antennas next to the house), it doesn't take long to tell there's not much on.
    I think it helps me to feel not so anxious about what's going on in the world (ie having news on all the time), and I don't feel obligated to watch every single thing which is usually a waste of time. Now I read a lot, check the news in the paper or online, and get on with my life!
    The world won't end of you ditch cable/satellite and all of the channels that they think you really need. Try it!

    December 31, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  152. Brandon

    Wow I'm surprised at how many people hate TV as much as me. I too got sick of all the boring and pointless junk on TV, ended up completely getting rid of cable.

    December 31, 2009 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  153. Dan Uff, Allentown, PA

    For those of us who enjoy Discovery Health, we have one more year before it goes away when "The Oprah Winfry Network" goes on in 2011.

    One more good cable channel going dark [sigh].

    December 31, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |

    I am just done with cable and especially the endless sea of reality shows. I'm to the point where I have no cable at all and either watch shows online or I rent them with my mail in blockbuster subscription. I do have to join the chorus of those who are missing the music video. I guess those days are long gone.

    December 31, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  155. DMR

    When will the various cable and broadcast networks start listening...NO MORE REALITY SHOW! Increasingly it is evident the shows are staged and they have become more and more twisted and sick every day. Clearly several of the so-called reality shows will not be satisfied until they kill someone, live and on the air. I would rather watch re-runs of "My Mother the Car" than a reality tv show.

    December 31, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  156. Sandra

    God, I long for the good old days of drama shows on TV. I lived for the Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Hawaii Five-O, any Quinn Martin production (Streets of San Francisco, Cannon, Barnaby Jones –once my parents let me stay up to watch the 10 p.m. shows). I liked the niche channels when they were true to their genre. The History Channel?? What is historical about Ax Men? A&E? What is artistic about Dog the Bounty Hunter? We watch the CSI franchises, the occasional movie on TNT, some of USA's original programming, and TCM. If TCM ever changes its format, it will be bye bye DirecTV. If we ever get a la carte programming, we will be happy campers! Then we won't have to pay for 20 shopping channels, umpteen sports channels, and other miscellaneous channels we never watch, but get stuck with to get the channels we do want. Oh, and the demise of free TV?? How long has it been since we could get decent reception for free TV? The minute they ran cable through our neighborhoods, the antenna reception went to heck! Tell me that wasn't a conspiracy!

    December 31, 2009 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  157. Indiana Pagan

    We dumped Comcast in August after eight months of bills that kept going up, unexplained charges, constant outages, and absolutely terrible customer service. I had to laugh when one of their reps came 'round earlier this month, asking did I want to schedule an installation? Yeah, right, go back to that? No, thank you. Not one time was our bill the price we were quoted when we signed up–not even allowing for taxes–and we were billed for an installation that was supposed to be free. Since we switched to ATT, our Internet connection is actually reliable, and our bill is less than half the price is was for Comcast. No way I would go back to that. It'll be satellite tv for us from here on.

    December 31, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  158. foofur2k

    Don't care about the bloody cow and her stapled/unstapled gut. And I HATE poker, I want Password & Hollywood Squares and What's My Line! They screwed up TV Land & Nick @ Nite, and it's happening all over again. Sure hope YouTube will put on the stuff I want to see.

    December 31, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  159. Susie K

    Maybe there should be a "Reality" channel. Reality show lovers could watch it 24/7, and the other cable channels could get back to their basics and give us some good entertainment again.

    December 31, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zeff

      It doesn't matter, though...if there were one Reality TV Channel, then all the other cable networks would still copy its content. They're literally all becoming afraid to veer from all showing the same things all at the same times–just like radio does with its content, and all the other media are doing with the "drift" thing fellow posters mention here. I am so tired of hearing about the so-called "18-35 male demographic" and media catering only to them. The thought that they are the vanguard of what advertisers think we, the general public, all want to be, do, have, and see in decades to come, is mind-numbing. Someday, TVs and computers will completely become one, and our living room televisions will be large-screen computers with Internet that we simply program to toggle screens, with viewing featuring pop-up or bottom-scroll ads. Otherwise, if it doesn't, TV as we know it is gonna shoot itself in its proverbial feet and die–good riddance! 😉

      January 8, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  160. Joe in PA

    I wish some of these networks could be economically viable enough to stay true to their initial ideas.

    A perfect example is G4, which supplanted TechTV. TechTV was amazing, but obviously a niche market. G4 added a great deal of gaming coverage which was popular and in my opinion, that was the best time for the network.

    Unfortunately, over the last few years, G4 has become a cesspool of inane programming, leaving only one true gaming show (X-Play).

    But the fact is that some things sell well and other don't. I think that GSN is following the same format. The idea of having a game show only network is great in theory, but when advertisers don't pay for it and people don't tune in, it's doomed.

    December 31, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  161. Karla B

    Reality TV is AWFUL. I got sick of it years ago. I too miss the days when there was quality programming on cable channels. TLC is rotten nowadays, what the heck TLC? And, oh yea, music videos on MTV, what a novel idea. I remember those days.
    Give me TCM (Turner Classic Movies) the good ol' movies and I'm happy as a clam! Wish I could pay for just the few channels I watch instead of all the crap they put on now.
    Cafeteria-style cable is the wave of the future...I'm in.

    December 31, 2009 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  162. Ricky

    Three years ago I dumped cable for iTunes. Even if iTunes goes with a subscription I will still buy a show or three a year because I do watch them over and over. Yes one is a reality show called Top Chef, but believe it or not it does what the Gourmet and Food channel use to do in a very compact way. Give me ideas on how to experiment with everything from junk food to over the top food. My yearly bill to iTunes for TV shows is les then $200, when my monthly was more for cable. Also starting January McDonalds will be my hi-speed internet with their WiFi-N free internet and cheap decent coffee. Sorry Starbucks not paying for over priced burnt coffee, over priced wifi, and no over priced cable or satellite.

    Oh and there is now a HiDef Video channel run by Google and owned by the music industry that is free and 24/7

    December 31, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  163. Pat

    I just want people to be happy. So if someone enjoys watching reality shows, that's great with me. Life's too short. Have fun and do whatever makes you happy as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Happy new year everyone!

    December 31, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  164. Jim

    I'm capable of turning my tv off. In fact, while I have GSN, I can't remember ever turning it on.

    December 31, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  165. Bluesman Doc

    It's easy to criticize reality TV. It totally sucks, but that is not the point. America sacrificed quality content to the almighty dollar decades ago. Networks have to turn a profit and the equation is: advertising revenue – the cost of production = gross profit. Reality TV is cheap to produce and it generates enough of an audience to make it attractive to advertisers. TV is going to get a lot worse before it starts getting better and the odds are we will never see another era where the networks compete based on quality. As harsh as this sounds, we are getting exactly what we are asking for as a society.

    December 31, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  166. LymaBeane

    I thought watching tv would be "an escape" from reality, not to watch someone elses. I agree with the one who said "al a carte" channels. I would love to be able for a price to pick my favorite channels. Yes news is opinionated either right or left or showing the same loop of video over and over of the latest scandel, even Nancy Grace did that over Tiger Woods and I thought she was supposed to be helping solve crimes. News channels are supposed to just be news. It's more tabloid than ever. I have Netflix so I watch my favorite sitcoms like I Love Lucy, Green Acres and the like. Guess that dates me. I used to love variety shows. Where did they go? The only type of reality shows I like are documentaries.

    December 31, 2009 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  167. Kevin

    I work for a national cable company and get a serious discount on what I pay for TV and internet service, so my cable bill isn't very high. That being said, I have a hard time feeling like I am getting my money's worth with the programming that is available. I don't watch ANY of those so-called "reality" shows, either, simply because none of them have anything to do with reality in the first place. Most of the channels that show movies will show the same 2 or 3 over and over and over, for days on end, and the rest are either showing something thrown together about one or more members of the Jackson family or an infomercial. Thank God I have Video On Demand and my internet connection. There is almost never anything worth watching On Demand, but I can anything that "floats my boat" through a quick search online.

    By the way... cable companies will never offer an ala carte subscription service, simply because of the prices they have to pay each of the channels in order to carry them.

    December 31, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  168. Jane

    Who needs Cable when you have HULU!!! It's Awesome! Forget Cable (ripoff butt load of commercials) Check it!

    December 31, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  169. Christine

    I agree with most of the above. As for GSN, in the very early days they mostly showed the good old black-and-white Goodson/Todman shows like "What's my line" and "Password" - which were entertaining and made you actually use your brain! Now it's mostly junk...

    December 31, 2009 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  170. Miztee

    There is still one good cable channel. I still enjoy Turner Classic Movies, which stays pretty true to its orignal format idea. Everything else on cable is junk!

    December 31, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  171. mattie

    I'm tired of shows about people's jobs. Crab fisherman, loggers, engineers, truck drivers... boring.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  172. Jayson

    Television as we know or remember it is on it's way out. Internet VoD is future. Reality tv can brushed to he side once that happens.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  173. Joel T.

    My wife and I are within days of slicing our Directv bill in HALF!!!
    That's right folks, we are sick and tired of living by the "idiot box".
    There are more things in life than the crap that today's Hollyweird is putting on tv.

    Our 13 yr old son is pitching a fit because we are going VERY BASIC.
    By God, I grew up in the days prior to cable and believe me I came out just fi... FINE!!! kidding.

    This will give us more time to interact as a family and stop staring at the tv and becoming LAZY!!!

    December 31, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  174. Craig

    I'd love a cable channel that picks up good TV shoes that were cancelled like Arrested Development, Pushing Daisies and Battlestar Galactica and shows not only their original episodes but puts them back into production and picks them up where they left off. 99% of those shows are better than 100% of reality TV and a lot of the bad shows that are on TV/cable now.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  175. Jack Meoffer

    If you actually looked at the background of these "reality" show contestants, you will see that most are wanna be actors/actress' and have been on multiple shows. Plus the way they talk is laughable. No one talks to the camera or to each other like they do. They talk like it has been scripted (which it is) and with the blankest of stares on their faces. I watched the first 2 seasons of Survivor but stopped when I found out parts were recreated with actors (swimming scenes, distant shots). At least HBO has shows that seem to think "outside the box". Some are good (Entourage, Bored to Death), and some are awful (Hung)

    December 31, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  176. Ralph - Joplin, MO

    I remember when A & E was Arts & Entertainment. Now it's no Arts and very little Entertainment. CourtTV is now TRuTV. Really, it should be called CrapTV. The news channels are opinion channels with very little news.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  177. Sepp

    "But shouldn't there also be room for entertainment channels that target those outside the demo?"

    Isn't that what PBS is supposed to do?

    December 31, 2009 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  178. ash

    I've never been able to stomach any of those so-called "reality shows". Maybe people should get a real life and be part of their own "reality". This kinda stuff is fodder for aspiring losers.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  179. Ed

    The sad thing is that the reason there are so many "reality" shows is that a lot of people watch them. Otherwise they would stop making so many. It just shows how stupid the majority of people really are.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  180. thetallcool1

    So when did TLC, The Learning Channel, become The Dysfunctional Family and Midgets and Surgical Monstrosities All The Time Channel? And why does VH1 call itself that? There are no videos on that channel, just bad trashy attention-starved people who think that a lack of talent canbe overcome by being as disgusting as possible in a search for quasi-stardom. We are seriously considering getting rid of cable, and saving that chunk of money for something better. When they get an "a la carte'" program that allows us to pick ONLY the channels that we will want to watch, then we will reconsider signing back up again. But until then, it just isn't worth it.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  181. Janice Mahon

    Good grief, does that mean we will watch Carnie Wilson whine about her weight problems crying crocodile tears? She makes me sick.

    Sometimes I watch the old Match Game, it's so funny and certainly representative of what people were wearing back in the 1970s and their hairdos.

    We have FIOS, which means we have movie channels who show the same old movies over and over and over! FIOS bye bye in the new year. Showtime is the only channel I watch. United States of Tara is the only Showtime series I have watched. Oh yes and Nurse whatshername!

    December 31, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  182. Richard

    You forgot the History Channel morphing into a second class Discovery or N/Geo clone. You would need to be charitable to say half their programs now have ANY connection with history. And those that do desperately need a proof reader to save them from embarrassing errors. As for content on SciFi, or SyFy as it now wants to be known, the horror network would be a better name.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  183. David M

    Hey, James! Happy New Year!!!! I wish someone would get Vh1 Classic back to its original mission - showing every music video ever, without 4 hours miniseries about the Jacksons, lists of lists, and other crap. Nobody watches Vh1 Classic to see "classic" Vh1, they watch it to see actual music videos, those things that used to get played all the time on older, now almost entirely reality-show-based, television networks.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  184. Jim

    We had digital cable with about 250 channels. We really only watched The Food Channel and occasionally the Discovery Channel. Then 2009 happened... we down-graded to local channels only, and it was the best move.... dropped 60 bucks a month back into my pocket, and I hardly miss the digital cable.... especially (sorry to say it, CNN and Fox news channels that endlessly run the same sensationalistic news stories over and over and over again). Kept local channels mainly to watch local news and for sever weather reports.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  185. tony

    Its the bundling thats killing the cable tv. They will have to let us just pay for the channels we want eventually. I too have to pay for 100+ stations i will never watch.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  186. tony

    I see a cable TV Revolt brewing in this country in next few years. I remember when there was no cable TV, and I survived without it the first half of my life. I am looking for a HDTV antenna for past few weeks and am gonna cut the cable, I will get my internet at work.

    December 31, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  187. Diana Morales

    We pay for 100 or 250 channels. plus others who can afford all sports.
    The movies they show you can see on A&E TNT USA. all junk over and over again. Paid programing on 50 or more channels. I am sick of it. When contract is up. I am cancelling cable.

    December 31, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  188. Garry

    Yes, some of us remember when MTV played rock videos, when A&E really meant "Arts" and Entertainment, and when you could actually learn something on The Learning Channel. Those were the days.

    Even the Weather Channel has begun to include more non-weather related content (thanks to the recent acquisition by some new parrent group of an NBC parent group which owns the channel, or something like that). Now we have a few minutes of news headlines each hour–which is okay, but other features such as home improvement and gardening tips are not as necessary, and are even distracting. Also, some featured programs really stretch the limits for what should be included on an all-weather channel.

    But as long as Stephanie Abrams is there, I will be too.

    December 31, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  189. saftgek

    With respect to the posters on this page, ALL "reality" shows are fake. The term "reality show" is utter nonsense. People need to understand the psyche of those who would even consider appearing on this tripe that tries to pass as broadcast entertainment.

    Once they've agreed to appear on a "reality" program, and once the cameras are turned on, NO ONE is "real!"

    Amazing how little self-respect people have. They stand in front of camera and act like anti-social nimrods, just to have "public time."

    Television is really going south, and has been for some time. "The Bachelor," "Survivor," "So You Think You Can Dance," ad nauseum, are the bane of broadcasting. Consider not just the sad people who appear on the shows, but the millions in our society that actually watch – and cheer – for this brainless programming.

    More's the Pity!

    December 31, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  190. RS1981

    I don't really watch reality shows other than (if they're even counted as such) Dancing with the Stars, and Celebrity Fit Club. I had watched a few on VH1 a good while back, but since they're not on anymore I don't watch. I'm not home much to catch much of anything anymore. And since I got Fios I have a tone of movie channels. So it's all good.

    December 31, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  191. Jim

    Sam, you are generous in calling "half" of reality shows fake. I say all are fake, and stupid besides. These scripted contests in so-called remote locales are obviously phony. And the houses of misfits and has-beens are desperate calls for attention. Give me a plain scripted drama or comedy or musical variety or talk show for entertainment!

    December 31, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  192. annie

    I got tired of it more than a year ago and have been television free all this time. No cable bills ... I love it! I did get a life and I'm loving it.

    December 31, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  193. Sam

    I am so sick of reality shows, I am tempted to throw my TV out the window. Half of them are fake, and the people whose lives revolve around watching this crap need to get a life.

    December 31, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |

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