The Rise & Fall of the History Channel

Check out this video:

And this article:

You can read the whole thing but as they say one graphic is worth a kiloword:

They used to show history. Now they show the History Channel. And I don’t watch. I read.

That is why there are 199 other channels!:stuck_out_tongue:

The History Channel is about entertainment, not history. It sometimes really frustrates me the way they “spin” a topic by letting people with fringe opinions seem mainstream.

I don’t mind fringe material on the History Channel as long as there is some supporting evidence. As a professional researcher, I’ve been surprised on many occasions regarding historical information and the blatant lack of a definitive reply from the US government about UFOs along with the attendant ridicule. I’m a firm believer that some people are indeed seeing solid objects. Otherwise, I’ve watched at least one program on the History Channel where fact checking and actual history were replaced by guesses or opinions in a few cases.


You can include the National Geographic Channel and Discovery Communications owned channels to that list.

I have to second that on the National Geographic Channel. They had a program that was about Cain and Abel. One of the experts on the show actually said God was partially at fault for Abel’s death because God showed a preference to Abel. This caused Cain to become very jealous and kill his brother. My jaw hit the ground. Although, I have to say that the had another expert on the show who made alot of good points. But thats the problem on alot of these programs, the producers mix some solid facts with alot of unproven scientific opinion. The viewer (not being an expert usually on the subject) ends up holding some of those unproven opinions as truth and passing them onto others. I been there and done that myself before realizing I could be causing someone’s faith to wither alittle by passing on this junk. I wish EWTN would run more shows on the Early Catholics and other historical events from aCatholic perspective.

Cracked also has a mockumentary of a future History Channel (1000 yrs from now) doing a special about the Beatles. It starts with their voyage from Liverton to NY to perform at Ed Sullivan’s annual Woodstock Festival :slight_smile:

Now, this is the sort of thing I’ve always suspected even with respected historians when they are working with scanty information.

As an historian myself, the history channel drives me expletive crazy.

What is your area (era?) of interest?

Many of the channels we used to enjoy are going down, or have gone, down hill lately. Seriously. It’s not just the History Channel. Discovery, TLC, heck, even the food network, have gone more toward “reality tv” type shows and ridiculous topics as of late.

Eh, just another reason for me to save $100 per month and finally drop cable, LOL.

Your not kidding.

The History Channel has become the Bigfoot Channel.

My friends here in Atlanta who work for the Weather Channel admit that it has become weather-tainment.

Speed Channel used to actually show races but now its game shows and shows about blowing up dump trucks.

TLC is now the “Rich people buying houses in the Cayman Islands Channel.”

What ever happened to shows like All in the Family?


But my dear North American friends, these are the types of shows you guys and girls are most interested in. We even had your Gettysburg Documentary here (and it was shot near where I live).

what I find most incongruous about HC and the entire AE family of non-informative, sensationalistic, non-history or -fact based networks, is the fact that they routinely give airtime to “experts” who denounce Hebrew and Christian scripture as myth and legend and deny their status as legitimate primary source material, and then spend millions producing programs based on those scriptures and the concepts and personages therein–hell, demons, creation, Jesus, the Fall, Moses, David etc.–and promote them as history!

Just give me my shows showing cops arresting stupid people and I am a happy, happy girl!

Bait Car
Alaska State Troopers
Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Jailhouse
Parking Wars

et al.


Everything or nothing, depending on how you look at it.

My thesis concerned the Jacksonian period of American history.

History Channel has enjoyed some of their highest ratings ever since adding shows like American Picker and other reality shows.

As been mentioned earlier in this thread, all cable networks are a shell of what they once were. The only true niche general entertainment channels that exist anymore are HGTV, DIY, GAC, & RFD-TV.

Edit: Niche for-profit channels do exist, but they take the form as NFL Network, MLB Network, Big 10 Network and other single sport networks.

I used to call the History Channel the War and Engineering Channel, because I got tired of Hitler and the Hoover Dam. In retrospect, those were the good old days.

Now when it is not ripping off Antiques Roadshow, History Channel is giving equal time to people who just make stuff up. If you don’t already know when you start watching, it is impossible to know what is decent scholarship and what is made up.

Sometimes there are good geology shows on the H2 Channel, though. I’m a little skeptical of the astronomers and physicists who believe they can extrapolate out billions of years, though. Could it be that the available data and theories are a little thin for that? It’s like discussing whether or not George Washington, if he could come back from the dead and had a chance to look around, would get to work fixing things or just have a coronary and drop dead again. Take your pick or propose a “door #3” of your own: who can prove you wrong?

That’s great if you only have three channels and viewers only expect that level of TV for one or two hours a week, plus one ballgame each on Saturday and Sunday. :smiley:

Jon Stewart once explained the vapid offerings on the 24-hour newschannels by pointing out that even Comedy Central had to resort to Battlebots. No network can manage to be funny for 24 hours a day, let alone informative!

I just wish they would diversify the UFO programs. I’ve seen most of them by now, so I’ve seen the ins and outs of Roswell, Area 51, Gulf Breeze, and all the rest. I want to see some new material.

Also they need to do more “River Monsters”. Maybe that’s another channel but I think I’ve seen all of those too.

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