The History Channel is right up there with MTV in terms of TV channels that have all but abandoned their original purpose. Nowadays, the channel is focused on docu-soaps, Reality TV, conspiracy theories, and the paranormal. Once mocked as "The Hitler Channel" due to its intense focus on the Nazis in the early-to-mid-2000s, it's now mocked as "The Hysteria Channel".

Your challenge is simple: have the History Channel avoid going down this path and stay focused on history.
 
It's also hard because there are many, many YouTubers who fill their niche. Hell, there's entire websites for it like CuriosityStream that's basically their old premise as a dedicated streaming service. This is what happens when their bottom line gets cut and they become obsolete: Shark jumping.
 
Well a diversity of subjects would probably help. Didn't they used to focus mostly on the American Civil War and WW2?
That and also a show on the history of various inventions, namely Modern Marvels. That was about the most it would branch out a lot of the time. But yeah, I remember my uncle loving this channel, and I always thought it was so weird how it only seemed to show WWII stuff like 70% of the time at the very least.
 
It's also hard because there are many, many YouTubers who fill their niche. Hell, there's entire websites for it like CuriosityStream that's basically their old premise as a dedicated streaming service. This is what happens when their bottom line gets cut and they become obsolete: Shark jumping.

I mean, I look at that problem and think "well, that solves itself" just have them hire those Youtubers to make full shows for the channel.
 
The History Channel is right up there with MTV in terms of TV channels that have all but abandoned their original purpose. Nowadays, the channel is focused on docu-soaps, Reality TV, conspiracy theories, and the paranormal. Once mocked as "The Hitler Channel" due to its intense focus on the Nazis in the early-to-mid-2000s, it's now mocked as "The Hysteria Channel".

Your challenge is simple: have the History Channel avoid going down this path and stay focused on history.
As somebody who enjoys For All Mankind, I would be open to the idea of the History Channel hosting alt-history type shows. It would allow it to remain more or less true to its goal of giving us history but in a way that allows us to enjoy a bit of fun as it picks ideas in the endless sea of what-ifs.

What if Nazi Germany won World War II?
What if the USSR didn't fall apart in the late 1980-1990s?
What if Apollo 11 crash-landed on the Moon?
What if the attacks of September 11th, 2001 were substantially more significant, and more planes were used that hit their targets?
What if the Titanic missed the iceberg and sailed safely to the United States?
What if the Roman Empire didn't collapse in the 5th century but reformed somehow?

You have so many cool show ideas that you will never run out of cool shows. It would also make books set in such a setting much more mainstream and thus successful that could also be used for new shows.
 
And much of this is cheaper than real history, right?

For example, reality TV can sometimes be excellent (sometimes not!) and I understand is quite a bit cheaper than hiring actors.
As a kid, I used to watch it like it was a religious obligation but ever since it moved onto shows that are less history and much more odd shows about a group of people digging into piles of old shit and finding an old sign for a gas station or a toy train or whatever I moved onto better things. You can find better stuff on Youtube now anyway so why not just hire them and make what they post new shows. Anything is better than whatever shit is on it now anyways.
 
The History Channel is right up there with MTV in terms of TV channels that have all but abandoned their original purpose. Nowadays, the channel is focused on docu-soaps, Reality TV, conspiracy theories, and the paranormal. Once mocked as "The Hitler Channel" due to its intense focus on the Nazis in the early-to-mid-2000s, it's now mocked as "The Hysteria Channel".

Your challenge is simple: have the History Channel avoid going down this path and stay focused on history.
Have the FCC institute strict genre-protection regulations for pay-TV channels as soon as they start to become mainstream in the 1970s and 1980s. Like what the CRTC used to have in Canada.
 

Driftless

Donor
MBA's run most businesses nowadays. It's ALL bottom-line driven. Maximize revenue, minimize cost, regardless of how those goals are achieved. Content isn't even a secondary consideration to net profit. Cynical, but that's the drivers you've got to overcome.
 
Well a diversity of subjects would probably help. Didn't they used to focus mostly on the American Civil War and WW2?
Well, they are the only wars that ever happened, alongside Vietnam and Gulf War 2.


I am reminded of Dennis Leary,
I'm just a regular Joe with a regular job
I'm your average white, suburbanite slob
I like football and porno and books about war
I got an average house with a nice hardwood floor
My wife and my job, my kids and my car
My feet on my table and a Cuban cigar
 
I mean, I look at that problem and think "well, that solves itself" just have them hire those Youtubers to make full shows for the channel.
Main issue there is the format of cable TV is dying all around, and there's simply no way for channels to avoid it. Case in point, The Expanse was the crown jewel of Syfy, but it only became mainstream popular after it moved to Amazon Prime.
 
Makes me grateful for the BBC once again. Despite its occasional descent into the same world.
Meh, Channel 4 can pump out decent stuff when it wants too. These days, it's not the province of any one broadcaster.

The FCC has no control over cable channels, and content regulation like that would violate the First Amendment as compelled speech anyway.
Well, having control over cable channels (well, actually, satellite TV intended for domestic audiences - which was what a good portion of the early pay-TV channels were) would be the first priority in that case. In addition, some form of genre protection (which would be entailed with channel licensing on the same level as the terrestrial stations) would be needed to prevent channel drift, which could be argued as not violating the First Amendment no more than the Fairness Doctrine does for current-affairs content.
 
Nobody (except us) cares for History anymore.
In Academic circles history of the type that used to feed the History Channel is now regarded as "Dead White Man" studies and career suicide.
Vaguely historical TV shows are currently replacing history. Soon English XX century history will be replaced by "The Crown TV universe"
 
In Academic circles history of the type that used to feed the History Channel is now regarded as "Dead White Man" studies and career suicide.
Vaguely historical TV shows are currently replacing history.

I think "vaguely historical" entertainment has been around for quite some time, ie. long before the backlash against DWMs, and has arguably been the main form of history delivered to the average person. "Rome fell because of immorality", Parson Weems' fable, etc.
 
I loved watching the old History Channel back in the day, although it never really was a shining example of the historian's craft. I remember watching incredulously as History's Mysteries "analyzed" the cold case of the murder of Abel by Cain. And they loved running that Orson Welles-narrated documentary about Nostradamus that predicted the Soviets would convert to Islam and nuke the west no later than 1999. ("Experts agree... it could only be New York!")

1999.png

Even Islamunist Comrade General Sultan seems skeptical.

But I think History Channel's descent into true depravity clearly dates from the foundation of its spin-off Military History channel in 2005. It's a true march to hell from there - Ice Road Truckers (2007), Ax Men (2008), Pawn Stars (2009), Ancient Aliens (2010). This doesn't just happen by accident, clearly this was some sort of strategy by A&E which you'd need to change to preserve more of the original character of the channel.

I don't think good history content is all that expensive to produce, I just don't know if there's a viable mass media audience for a channel of just that. There is a mass media audience for historical drama, though. As noted, The Crown is very popular. Vikings was a decent hit for History (notably, its 'sequel' series will be Netflix exclusive). Just off the top of my head, semi-recently: The Tudors, The Medici, Chernobyl, Marco Polo, The Terror, Downton Abbey, Wolf Hall*. Mix something like that in with the documentaries and some at least vaguely historical reality content like Forged in Fire, and I think that dog'll hunt.

*History Channel did dip its toe in the water with Texas Rising, one of the laziest, dumbest pieces of crap I've ever seen on television, from the second it opens with the wrong date for the fall of the Alamo (how? how????). The John Wayne version where people burst into song was more accurate than that depiction of the "slave-free" (!) central Texas desert (?) beset by marauding Karankawas (‽)
 
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