Monday, March 17, 2014

Cut that Cord! Cut that Cord!

Remember Biography Channel? It was a spinoff of A&E, a channel that used to have a distinctive identity and a reason for being. When A&E dumped it's "Biography" franchise to its B-channel, well, that apparently wasn't enough to carry even a seldom-watched outfit like Bio, so it started to fill the schedule with drama reruns and ghost stories, other stuff, I suppose.

I don't really know what Bio was doing lately. I haven't watched it much since...ever. I did check out some of the specials it aired about old sitcoms. Most of America felt comfortable ignoring Bio, too, but instead of doing the honorable thing and turning it into something not like half the other useless channels on the dial, its owners have decided to make it a dreaded "lifestyle channel" called "FYI."

It promise programming focused on "fashion, food, style, and design." Announced already are a makeover show and two home renovation shows. Because nobody knows where to find those kinds of shows today.

We don't need another lifestyle channel. "Lifestyle" is a code word for cheap. At least Bio ran cool specials about old sitcoms every now and then. This looks like another skippable non-entity wasting channel capacity. Maybe this could have been something a little more highbrow, or at least higher-aspiring, with programming devoted to culture and the arts--something like the old A&E. Would it make money? No, but neither will this. If they aren't even gonna try to do something worthwhile, they could at least do a public service and show things nobody else is showing.

Meanwhile, Hallmark Movie Channel, another unwanted, unloved spinoff channel, is rebranding itself as Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. This sounds ridiculous, too, but at least this channel announced it is launching a movie wheel franchise of 3 ongoing mystery series, presumably efforts that will require a little bit of spending. Granted, there are dozens of other places on the cable lineup to get mystery movies, but at least they are doing something here.

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