Monday, 5 September 2016

Ranking Viacom's Cable Networks

It's a little jarring to see a major broadcaster own so many channels, when we only watch three of them. No wonder Viacom has been going through changes, that's exactly what they are: a major broadcaster that owns so many channels, when people only give a crap about Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon.

Let's take a quick look under the hood, shall we?

9) Logo
Putting Logo at the bottom of the list may ruffle a few feathers. After all, gay truly is the new black, and the LGBT community needs a voice like Logo now more than ever. The problem is, ever since they cancelled all their original programming, Logo looks less like a cable network for lesbians and more like TV Land if they actually aired classic TV shows. Though I wouldn't say it's as bad as Bravo (U.S), because at least Logo didn't create The Real Housewives. They still have Drag Race, but Logo has a LONG way to go.

8) BET Networks
BET is the most popular network for African-Americans that nobody watches. Whenever BET isn't airing anything original, people are turning to networks like TV One and Bounce instead. They have the black sitcom classics no other network airs, unlike BET, where all of their shows can be found on MTV2. The fact that MTV2 has produced better unscripted series doesn't help their case either.

Centric is even worse. They now lay claim to be the first network for African-American women, but that only applies to their original slate. In the end, Centric is still the same incubator for sitcoms not airing on VH1 (or MTV2) and little more than an enabler for BET to continue to be the Bill Cosby of African-American television. Ironic, considering the accusations Bill Cosby himself made about the network. I've said it before and I'll say it again: BET is more of a brand than a cable network.

7) TV Land
How did TV Land go from being an offshoot of Nick@Nite, to being a less shitty Nick@Nite? By less shitty, I'm referring to TV Land's slate of original sitcoms that people actually watch. Do you even remember that See Dad Run was a thing? Unfortunately, with their decision to produce original programming came a shift towards more recent network sitcoms. You could blame this on the passing of time, where what's new now will eventually become retro in a decade or two, but that's not what TV Land is doing at all. What TV Land is really doing is airing the same regurgitated crap that's been rerun to death, not just on a Viacom network, but on cable television as whole.

Instead of asking "Why the hell does TV Land only air retro shows during the day?" We should be asking "Why the hell does TV Land even exist at all?" The answer is either Impastor or Younger, because those shows are the reason why TV Land is still relevant. ...Well that, and NickMom was even worse than what Nick@Nite has become. Seriously, find some different shows to air at night or don't even bother.

6) CMT
CMT is what MTV should have been when they shifted away from cartoons. Yes, some of their programming choices were questionable, but at least they still give enough of a crap about county music to avoid going down the same road as the countless networks that came before it. Also, they brought back Nashville. Lucky dogs.

5) VH1
It's a damn shame that VH1 ditched their morning music video block for sitcom reruns because they were supposed to be the Viacom network that actually gives a crap about music! Besides, and I can't stress this enough, all those shows were already airing on other networks! All signs point to MTV's new slate of music shows and the re-branding of VH1 Soul and Classic as the reason for the main channel's relapse, as if Viacom has decided to make MTV their one and only mainstream music channel. At least VH1's schedule is still dominated by their own original programming, for better or worse.

4) Spike
Spike is in much better shape than the previous entries on this list; it's also the only entry on this list that people watch less than BET. Let's face it, Spike TV has REALLY let itself go after they shifted to reality shows and became A&E for men. If it were not for MMA, boxing, and police-related shows, you'd be forgiven for thinking Spike TV was gobbled up by MTV2.

Between Bar Rescue, Ink Master, and new episodes of Cops and Jail, Spike produced a dozen reality shows hoping they'd find the next Storage Wars. All they really did was kill Blue Mountain State, 1000 Ways to Die, Deadliest Warrior and all of their best shows for a bunch of crap no one even watches. TNA Impact was more entertaining than Catch a Contractor, and even then...!

Despite all this, Spike has survived long enough to launch Lip Sync Battle, which became its flagship show in a matter of weeks, and rolled out international versions with arguably better shows. Only time will tell how long Spike's upward swing will continue.

3) Nickelodeon Networks
I never thought I lived to see the day Nickelodeon went back to producing decent shows not named TUFF Puppy or The Legend of Korra, but enough about Harvey Beaks. The way I see it, there are only two things wrong with Nickelodeon: Spongebob Squarepants marathons and Nick@Nite. I love Spongbob as much as any sane person would, but Nickelodeon's obsession with the show has turned it into punchline of children's television, and dragged the rest of the network's quality down with it. You'd think The Fairly Oddparents would have it worse, but the network barely airs that show anymore, just like another Frederator cartoon on another network.

If Nickelodeon wants to show nothing but Spongebob, the least they could do is cutback Nick@Nite's runtime. Which brings me to my next gripe with the network: they need to cutback Nick@Nite's runtime! Nick@Nite is lucky enough to be airing shows that aren't as rehashed as the other acquired fare Viacom owns. When your program block is reduced to airing nothing but sitcom reruns and movies, it's time to step back and make room for the network-produced shows Nickelodeon forgot to cancel.

One last thing, can we STOP with the live-action programming on Nicktoons? Power Rangers is fine, but Nick already has a dumping ground for Nickcom reruns. It's called TeenNick, and they should have moved Winx Club there. Moving the show to Nick Jr, the same network they launched NickMom, speaks volumes about the morons running that outfit.

2) MTV Networks
Lately, MTV has become a dumping ground for Comedy Central shows. You know MTV has took it to a new low when they would rather air better shows from a better network than any of their own original programming. I wouldn't be surprised if Broad City moved to MTV next season. While I applaud the decision to bring Wild n' Out back home to MTV, I still question their decision to bring MTV2's own original series with it. They might as well shut down MTV2 while they're at it, because without an attention-grabbing original series, MTV2 is little more than another sitcom rerun farm.

Still, between the launch of MTV Live and MTV Classic, and the fact that MTVu still airs nothing but music videos, MTV's future is looking a bit more interesting.

1) Comedy Central
There's no denying it, Comedy Central is still number one. Yes, I'm still pissed that they cancelled Moonbeam City and greenlit a spinoff of the absolute worst skit from TripTank. Yes, I do consider their animated shows to be little more than juvinile trash. And yes, The Comedy Network isn't even a poor man's counterpart to Central anymore, because MuchMusic airs the Central shows people actually watch.

Nonetheless, Comedy Central is still the one network that gets more buzz than any other Viacom-owned outlet. It's original slate is more popular than MTV's and of higher quality than anything on Nickelodeon. A sea of generic reality shows and overplayed sitcom reruns overshadow some of cable's most interesting scripted series (and Hit the Floor), but Comedy Central has never had this problem. They give the people what they want, the best damn shows on television (and Brickleberry) & the funniest movies, and the people give them ratings in return.

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