Sunday, October 02, 2005

An Open Letter to Cable Channels

Dear Various Cable Channels,
I am extremely disappointed and perplexed by many of you. Your programming choices have become...boring or pathetic. I will, of course, cover this in a moment. Having insomnia means that you find ways to pass the time while you're not sleeping. For me, when not reading, I glance around at various channels. So let's take a look:
1. MTV: For shame, MTV. You're known as Music Television, and yet, you NEVER PLAY VIDEOS ANYMORE! It's all Real World and other crappy reality shows that the world doesn't need to see 24 hours a day. When I was a kid, you played edgy and awesome videos. I no longer had to just listen to the music, I could see a story going with it. Guns 'N' Roses' November Rain, for example, had this whole thing with a funeral and a wedding. It was awesome. Then slowly, but surely, you started replacing your videos with shows that touted teenagers being teenagers. You took away the videos in their entirety to show screaming teens talking about how much the love the bland host of the show. Then, you committed the worst sin of all: You created a second station that was to play videos all the time. Why? Because your main station was essentially stopping. WHAT!? A channel dedicated to music videos could no longer play them?
How could it get worse? Well, then you took most of the videos off MTV2 and replaced them with repeats of the shows on MTV. Essentially, there are no videos anymore except at random times when no one would see them. However, your not the only one guilty of this....
2. VH1: Ok, I now your the bastard step-brother of MTV, but you have fallen under the same sway. It used to be that I could turn to you for music. Almost anytime of the day, I could click over and there would be a cool video. No more. You, too, have started the MTV plan. Instead of music, we get schlock like My Fair Brady, Breaking Bonaduce, and other reality shows that are way over played. You ever listen to a popular radio station (such as KQRS), and that station plays the same song everyday all the time? It's annoying, isn't it? Well, that's what's happening to you, VH1. You and MTV have now given up on the whole video thing. The first video played on MTV, if I'm not mistaken, was Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles. Well, I may not be the first, but I will add my two-cents: VH1 and MTV have killed the video star. Both of you, however, are not alone in moving away from your programming....
3. G4TV: This is a channel, "for gamers." They show video game reviews, clips, etc. Suddenly, the channel is moving away from that. Now, I understand that you need to keep your viewership, but certain things don't add up with your new programming. Most video gamers are either nerds or wannabes. Seriously. Sure there are some "cool" people, but the hardcore gamers are not social creatures. The channel that is dedicated to gamers is now showing Fastlane, a failed Fox cop show starring Peter "I wish I had Tom Cruise's career to go with his looks" Facinelli, and Bill "This show killed my career" Bellamy. It didn't last long on Fox, yet it's on G4. What does it have to do with games? Nothing. Same can be said for The Man Show. Instead of showing these two shows that have nothing to do with gaming, here's my suggestion. Obviously the channel is marketed toward men. How do I know? They use Jenna Jameson for some promos. If you don't know who she is, look it up. Instead of shows that have scantily clad women, just start showing porn that is game related. You're a cable channel, you can do it at night, and the men will be happy, because they can see real (or at least bared) breasts. Seriously. Think about it. Stop teasing these little gamer guys with scantily clad women that would have nothing to do with them.
Also, you need to hire people who look like they actually play games. Having a former model host a show about games reiterates a fantasy that many of these guys will never have fulfilled: A lot of hot women do not play video games. Sorry. It's true. If you are one, congratulations: You're a minority. Oh and being satirical about your own station, not funny. You are the people who make the reviews. You can't pick on yourselves for the way you review. It's not funny and it makes no sense. If you don't like the way you're doing it, change.
G4, you're not the only channel guilty of miscasting and bad programming. One channel that I used to really like is ultimately guilty of bad programming taste. I'm talking about....
4. ESPN. Oh man, you have fallen SO FAR! Once upon a time, you were the preeminent sports channel. You had the days' scores, interviews, and more. The problem is that you have A. Turned into sophmoric idiots, and B. You've now put out shows that, well, shouldn't exist. Let's start with A.
I once saw Charley Steiner crack up on the air. It was really funny. Why? Because stuff like that didn't happen on the air. The men and women of the channel were serious reporters who had the occasional funny nickname (thanks to Chris Berman), but they never left their professionalism outside. The current crop of anchors seems to be failed comedians. I want to know who won the Red Sox/ Yankees game. I don't want to hear lines from Schwarzenegger films yelled when a ground ball is hit. I don't mind enthusiasm, but I really don't like how this is treated now. It's almost as if sports is second to what these guys can get away with saying. I never thought Kilborn was great for yelling, "Jumanji" whenever someone dunked. Yet, many people did. Now, instead of guys that are interesting, I feel like I'm watching high school students make boob jokes on camera. It's boring. These guys don't give an air of professionalism. Again, it's that feeling like they're failed comedians. I expect to see Dane Cook giving me the scores soon. These guys are like a failed fraternity.
I also believe that it is because of how you treat sports, that current players only care about getting on the show instead of playing the game. Sure, it's great when Michael Vick runs for 60 yards on one play, but it's not good if he's doing it not to win, but to get in the night's highlights. Basketball players are the same way now. Forget that pass, I need to dunk over this guy so they'll show me.
Now, as for your original shows. Some of them are ok. Around the Horn, though it feels fixed everyday as if you know way ahead of time who's going to win, is entertaining and sports related. Pardon the Interruption is also fun to watch, because it deals with sports news in an interesting way. But things like Tilt (and I'm sorry, but Poker is NOT, NOT, NOT a sport) and Playmakers are interesting, but ultimately I don't want to watch a drama when I'm looking for sports. Plus, you pulled Playmakers, which you advertised as "daring," because of pressure. If you're going to do it, do it all out. Still, most people, when looking for sports, don't want to watch a drama with a guy doing drugs or whatever. We just want the scores. Don't give me that whole "Well we made a channel for that" speech. You were started for that reason. Stick to what works.
If you really want to know why people now go to the internet, it's because they can get what they want without all the crap you throw in with the info. I want to see who won, cool, it's right there. No snarky remarks, no annoying comments, just the information on who won and how. I can also watch replays online. Same thing with music videos or game reviews. It's time to start making it worthwhile to watch again, because soon society will put you behind and go to their computers. And then where will you be?
Then again what do I know? I'm the guy watching the Food Network at 3 AM, because Rachel Ray makes me laugh. I could be wrong.

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