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Network Decay: Unique Situations
The channel’s decay either is in a situation where it doesn’t fit any of the other categories, or is constantly fluctuating between decaying and recovering.
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Cartoon Network's Situation
- If a channel can be given the title of "the MTV of the Internet Generation", that dubious honor would very likely belong to Cartoon Network, originally used as a showcase for classic Hanna-Barbera and Warner Brothers cartoons, but these were eventually replaced by an increasing number of original productions and anime; the Boomerang network was created to serve the original purpose of its parent network. The decision to run original programming created an era that is largely perceived as the network's Golden Age as well as becoming a major contributor to the The Renaissance Age of Animation, as it generated popular shows that broke out of the Animation Age Ghetto (like The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory) and helped fuel the anime boom at the turn of the century (thanks to Toonami and [adult swim]).
The good times were not to last, sadly. Although complaints of decay begun as early as 2004, when Cartoon Network changed its logo to the abbreviated "CN", it didn’t became much of an issue until they started airing live-action programming at the end of 2005 and throughout 2006. Then in late 2007, a major executive change in the network occurred when then-current president Jim Samples resigned over the controversy of the Boston Bomb Scare. Shortly thereafter, then-Vice President Jennifer Davidson passed away due to a sudden illness. This resulted in Cartoon Network’s two head honchos both being replaced by Stuart Snyder and Robert Sorchernote . It was clear that the once famed network was never going to be the same.
The network eventually (and randomly) phased out original series that were very popular; this was somewhat justified, however, as many of those series were out of first run. The problem is that they replaced these popular series, as well as older claasics such as the Looney Tunes and the prominent Hanna-Barbera shows (The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, etc) with mediocre shows and fewer original series; they even began running a small amount of live-action movies (though at the time, they were mercifully rare). The network fell deeper and deeper into Network Hell as its executives tried to turn it into a generic kids' network to compete with Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel — they killed Toonami (and its replacement, Miguzi) in complete defiance of what the viewers wanted, then replaced those blocks by starting to show live-action films on a more frequent basis. The decay also forced Adult Swim and Boomerang to decay as well, to heavy disdain by their fanbases, while also causing tension within the network, with many veteran animators either quitting or being handed their walking papers. This attempt to rebrand the network came to a head when CN Real, a block of live-action reality shows and scripted series, was created. To the surprise of nobody except the network higher-ups, CN Real tanked harder than anything the network had ever done before.
Realizing where they went wrong, the network has made a strong effort to return to their roots with reruns of Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, and the like as part of their regular weekday morning lineup, and they've been pitching new animated series to cater to a certain interests, like Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Adventure Time, and Regular Show. Meanwhile the channel has slowly attempted to reboot older properites to clear Base Breaker results like Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. CN also gradually phased out live-action shows (which while initially under the CN Real brand, later weren't for obvious reasons) and gave them less advertising in comparison to the newer animation projects (in sharp contrast to the marketing CN Real initially got), to the point that Hall of Game (which is now nothing more an an annual Kids Choice Awards-esque Sports awards event) is all that remains of the live-action content present on the network. (The channel also routinely shows G-rated live action movies like Diary of a Wimpy Kid every Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, this is mostly just for filler though). The much-appreciated revival of Toonami and a more Base Breaker Cartoon Planet (the latter done as part of the network's 20th anniversary celebration) brought a silver lining in the clouds that Cartoon Network can return to its former glory in the fans' eyes-a silver lining that grew larger with the departure of Stuart Snyder as CEO in March 2014 (Christine Miller was officially announced as his replacement in September later that year).
On the other hand, Executive Meddling is still very prevalent, as evidenced by the network's constant timeslot-shifting shenanigans and swift cancellations of action shows such as Sym-Bionic Titan and Thunder Cats 2011 as well as DC Nation's Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice. Some of this can be blamed on the fact the Network greenlit most of these aiming at a certain demographic, which they won over, but didn't like the results. Leaving the people that genuinely loved these shows alienated as the channel aimed it's next projects in a very different direction. This wasn't helped by the network losing an hour of airtime to Adult Swim in 2014, which the block promptly wasted on more FOX reruns. Despite all this, the channel is now just a small step away from going back to pure animation once again, but even if it never does, many fans are content with the channel being where it is now and believe the company is almost out of the Dork Age it went through in the 2000s.
In the end, Cartoon Network is one of the most intriguing examples of Network Decay, if only because of how much of a rollercoaster ride the network's ridden in regards to the trope. As a subset to this, Cartoon Network's history can really be summed up by at points in time "throwing out the old for the new". So while a lot of people put the Network Decay in 2006 or 2004, 1997 and 2010 can also be brought up if it was your favorites that got bummed off. All of which featured a changing of the guard to what the channel aired. Exactly which were decay and which were upswings will be dependent on who you ask. But it could easily swing to another change over night. CN at this point could spend as much as eighteen months showcasing live-action shows, only to go back to animation the next day as if nothing happened — and just when you get comfortable with that, return to live-action. This is likely due to the network's top executives being desperate to grasp on what could make it big. The shaking of their tree on home media has led to a lot of experiments. These now foster claims they are firm believers that the Animation Age Ghetto exists, or assertions people are only capable of forming opinions with a Nostalgia Filter and the always applicable by someone They Changed It, Now It Sucks. As long as this network stands, these debates will more than likely live on.
- [adult swim], Cartoon Network's late night block, originally consisted of adult-oriented animation including seinen anime and animated comedy, as well as unedited versions of titles from the original Toonami block. While the block received some concerns about having an adult-oriented block on Cartoon Network, not to mention the weirdness of some of its programming, Adult Swim was well received and helped contribute to the "Golden Age" of Cartoon Network, as it generated popular and well acclaimed shows that broke out of the Animation Age Ghetto which includes strange but often hilarious original programming such as Robot Chicken, The Venture Bros., and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, helped fuel the anime boom at the turn of the century with titles such as Cowboy Bebop, FLCL, The Big O and InuYasha, as well as being a haven for shows that were previously Screwed by the Network such as Family Guy, Futurama, Home Movies, and Mission Hill and even helped boost their popularities to the point that they are now beloved by their parent companies again.
Unfortunately, these days were not to last. When Cartoon Network began to decay and sister block Toonami was canceled as a result, it was inevitable that Adult Swim was going to decay with it. Heck, the Boston Bomb Scare started out as an Adult Swim ad campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force so in an Unwitting Instigator of Doom, Adult Swim started this whole mess. One of the earliest instances of the decay was when Adult Swim ran Saved by the Bell for a week as a joke, inspired by complaints about their cheesier retro programming at the time as well as about live-action movies on the regular Cartoon Network. Fans were not happy about this and hoped it was just another one of Adult Swim's jokes, as Adult Swim has been a notorious Trolling Creator. But unfortunately, their fears were realized. The block's emphasis began to increasingly move into both original and imported live-action shows such as Childrens Hospital, Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Delocated, and The Office (UK). While the live action Adult Swim shows have better critical reception than their Cartoon Network counterparts because they aren't just Discovery Channel ripoffs, these works and the decision to air live action has (not surprisingly) divided or enraged much of the fandom.
It didn't help that these live action shows were pushing out a number of animated shows, with (much like the main Cartoon Network) less animated originals being presented, along with an increasing over-reliance on FOX Acquisitions for viewership and filling timeslots, with more than half of its 10 hour airtime made of of them every night except Saturdays. And that's not even the worst of it: mirroring Cartoon Network's decision of ending Toonami, the most glaring example of the decay has been the block's move away from anime. Once one of the main reasons to watch the block—if not the main reason why Cartoon Network had the guts to make Adult Swim in the first place—it's since been relegated exclusively to the Saturday Night-Sunday Morning timeslotsnote and has been considered to be an almost legendary example of not just the decay of Adult Swim, but Cartoon Network as a whole. Suddenly, the block that saved shows from being Screwed by the Network were now screwing its own shows over.
The "live-action instead of animation" slope, combined with their increasingly vocal disdain towards anime as well as their insults to their fans about the decay in their ad bumpers, have been enough to push many of its fans away. In fairness though, it's nowhere near as bad as a lot of the networks listed on Network Decay, as the presence of strong anime and animated comedy shows have managed to keep the block out of Total Abandonment and their fans clamoring for more. Adult Swim might have it worse than the rest of Cartoon Network when it comes to the "rollercoaster ride" the block rides in regards to this trope, due to the same constant schedule switching that has screwed over many of its titles, what's decaying one week can be on the upswing the next. They have also called Cartoon Network's decay out in the past, and even lampshade their own strange programming choices at times, so they're at the very least aware of their own "decay". We'd all love to know if Adult Swim is more on their way to Total Abandonment or Recovery, or if their executives are becoming advocates of the Animation Age Ghetto for that matter, but in the end, it's really hard to make a call.
That said, Adult Swim has made one significant contribution to the recovery of CN as a whole. On April Fools' Day 2012, Adult Swim briefly replaced their normal Saturday night block with Toonami to rave reception, and after a huge fan campaign, brought back Toonami on a regular basis on May 26, 2012. Adult Swim was subsequently re-purposed as CN’s brand for adult animated comedy, while Toonami took over the duties of anime and mature action-animation once again, coincidentally bringing back the Midnight Run, the predecessor of Adult Swim in general in the process. While segregating anime and comedy into different blocks could be considered as Network Decay to some, note considering that the transition was already happening during the channel’s Dork Age, alongside that Toonami’s formula is more suited for showcasing anime, many have considered this only to be a good thing. One enduring problem, though, is a limited budget for licensing anime to air, meaning that Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and season 2 of The Big O (both of which [adult swim] owns permanent rights to since they helped fund those anime back in the pre-decay days) are frequently inserted as timeslot filler. However, as the popularity rose during the years, Toonami managed to get more popular anime, moving the filler to the dead of the night. (Read Toonami's section below for more information.)
- Boomerang, Cartoon Network's classic animation channel, isn't running live-action programs (unless you count The Banana Splits) but it has apparently begun dumping its rules on how old a cartoon has to be in order for them to show itnote , and has also become rather hypocritical about which ones it shows. They're willing to run Baby Looney Tunes and Duck Dodgers (2002-05), but not the 1990s Looney Tunes spin-offs Taz-Mania or The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries the same unfortunately also goes for other 1990s Warner Bros. Animation fare like Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, and Histeria!, despite this network having previously shown Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. There selective airing of Hanna-Barbera properites hasn't helped either. In fact this odd decision making has let to two hilarious events. One being several WB animated shows ended up getting licensed to The Hub, a rival network since CN certainly didn't care to use them. The second being WB's home media department has put stuff on DVD CN rarely or never at all aired over CN originals. This in theory could be a reason for the channels lack of wanting to air much older programming as well-Boomerang as of 2014 is showing far less things that aren't CN originals.
Adding insult to injury was that only two types of commercials that were actually related to the network (the American one, anyway) were shown on the channel when CN's decay was in full effect: "Boomer-Royalty" and a random commercial about a show they air; all of the network's promotions are never updated, meaning a Powerpuff Girls promo from 2012 strangely has to coexist with a Huckleberry Hound ad which has been part of their promo loop since 2001. Everything else was promoting (mostly) live-action shows on Cartoon Network, with Boomerang never promoting the airtime for shows that weren't on CN. And if there's a special event coming up on CN, commercials for the event would air between and after the show at least once or twice. The network has since changed their position to air advertisements for other products like other channels.
Just like the original Cartoon Network, Boomerang is also ultimately moving away from it's (supposed) original purpose of strictly airing classic cartoons. All feeds of the network worldwide will receive a international rebranding throughout 2014 and 2015 with a new focus towards younger viewers, the inclusion of paid advertisements, and the addition of newly-acquired animated series; though executives have promised that classic cartoons will co-exist with the newer cartoons on the channel. But given the current state of the (American) channel and the examples of older cartoons that were listed as staying on the revamped network, however, it seems the only changes that will be made to the channel will be the vintage format of the original network (right down to the logo, which now looks like a tweaked version of the 2010 CN logo) and the older cartoons that aren't Cash Cow Franchises and/or popular with older CN viewers-both of which will be dropped in favor of the network branding and the newer programming.
- Latin America had it worse during the late 2000s/early 2010s. In 2006, the classic shows format was changed to a equivalent of India's POGO, first aimed at a family audience, but in 2008 changed showing only programs aimed at teenage girls, including CN Real shows and many MTV shows like Parental Control and Date My Mom. Later, they created Tooncast, which fulfilled Boomerang's original purpose. Then, on April 1, 2014, Boomerang L.A. suddenly rearranged their programming grill to get animation and classic shows back (in a move seemingly induced to homogenize the international feeds) and moved all their live action shows to the late night-early morning slot, to the happiness of almost everybody but the teens who followed Pretty Little Liars.
- Compared to Cartoon Network’s other divisions, Toonami (and by extension, its former sister blocks such as Miguzi, Saturday Video Entertainment System, the action part of Adult Swim, etc.) has been very dependable in terms of sticking to its mission of showcasing anime and action cartoons. While there have been a few oddballs in rare occasions such as Hamtaro and Wulin Warriors (mainly due to Executive Meddling), such "experiments" were never really successfulnote . But after the Boston Bomb Scare and the infamous "CN Real" era came to prominence, unlike going down the Network Decay path like its sister entity Adult Swim had, CN would eventually can Toonami entirely due to flagging ratings—a direct result of moving the block to Saturdays only and reduced it to reruns and Naruto, which was at the time working through the now-infamous pre-Shippuden Filler Arc (ironically, the end of Toonami came mere weeks before they would've completed the "Filler Hell" portion of Naruto). Not surprisingly, folks have cited the downfall of Toonami as one of the lowest points of CN’s Dork Age (perhaps only rivaled by the rise of CN Real) and had a knock-on effect on anime’s popularity as a whole, as the loss of Toonami, considered to be one of the biggest Gateway Series to anime in general in the west, is considered to be a big contribution to the infamous ending of the 90’s-2000’s Anime Boom. Prior to 2012, the only legacy that was left of Toonami was Adult Swim’s anime block, which was reduced to Saturday nights and flooded with endless reruns.
Fortunately, as Cartoon Network started refocusing its efforts on showcasing animation, on April Fools' Day 2012, Adult Swim briefly replaced their normal Saturday night block with Toonami to rave reception, and after a huge fan campaign, brought back Toonami on a regular basis on May 26, 2012, which is a very good sign that the channel overall could be returning to its roots. Presently, the revived Toonami is building off on the "remnants" of Adult Swim’s action block, but out of the gate, it's done its part to help revive anime in the west, as it has cemented such hits as Bleach, and Naruto, among others and even turned Deadman Wonderland, a program that tanked badly in Japan, into a hit with a bonafide fanbase. And perhaps because of this success, they've even gotten the privilege of showing Space Dandy just before it is being broadcasted in Japan. Only time will tell how the next golden age for Toonami, and for that matter, the anime industry in general will take shape.
And you know what’s even more impressive? Perhaps as a response to the many animation related networks being some of the biggest examples of Network Decay, Toonami has been pretty adamant on avoiding a shift in their purpose, in a similar fashion to sister network TCM. While you can still see a live action show lingering around on regular CN and Adult Swim here and there perhaps due to executive persistence, Toonami has stated that they would like to avoid airing live action altogether on the block , which fortunately the parent network has obliged so far. Then again, it probably wouldn’t be feasible for CN to go through all the trouble of bringing back Toonami only to have it go down the Network Decay route, anyway. On that same topic, contrary to semi-popular belief, mostly by the more elitist anime fans that say that Toonami airing western action cartoons on the new block would count as Network Decay, fans and even the creators themselves have long said otherwise, with its long history of showcasing action toons cited as the reason. In fact, if Toonami were to air slice of life, non-action romantic comedies, or anime of the "Otaku Pandering" varieties unless said show can be consumed by general audiences, that actually would count as Network Decay (which Toonami doesn't plan on showing anyway).
- Asia has contributed to the Toonami revival efforts by launching a Toonami channel of its own in late 2012. However, Toonami Asia’s conception was through the decay and re-branding of its region’s Boomerang, which was the end result of CN Asia relegating all of their programming save for old classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons and Ben 10 to Boomerang and losing the purpose of both networks in the process. Eventually Boomerang Asia was canned, and CN Asia started working on an action cartoon channel. Do note that Toonami Asia was being conceived at a time when the conception of the revival of the US equivalent was still unknown, even to them, so their decision of using the Toonami brand was mainly because Asia has also had a Toonami block of its own, and also achieved success with an established fanbase to go with it, along with the fact that some of the channel’s heads have mentioned that they were/are also fans of the US equivalent.
Currently, the channel airs CN produced action cartoons and a couple anime titles, though their crew has stated that there are plans to air more anime and action cartoons in the future. It does help that the Asian crew are fans of the American crew’s work and would love to replicate their success, albeit in their own fashion (for example, to prevent messing with the continuity of the US equivalent, Toonami Asia has its own host, Nami, with her own story). Like the US equivalent, time will tell how their efforts will go.
- In the UK, Toonami previously had a channel of its own back during the channel’s "golden age", however, its fate wasn’t as fortunate. It started out as CNX as a channel devoted to shows that appealed to the American equivalent of shonen in the mornings and afternoons, with uncensored anime and kung fu movies later at night. However, its Toonami block, which was placed at CNX at the time, would quickly expand to take over the entire channel, which still fit the channel's original mission until they started showing live action. Since then, it eventually mutated into CN Too, which is actually marketed as a second Cartoon Network. Unfortunately at of 2014, there is presently no plans to revive Toonami in the UK at its current venture.
- Asia’s Cartoon Network and Boomerang in the late 2000’s really had a problem in regards to where their programming was supposed to be placed, going to the point where all new shows premier on Boomerang Asia while Cartoon Network Asia restricted itself to airing mostly old classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons and Ben 10, with an occasional mix-up every now and then. Eventually Boomerang Asia was canned and eventually replaced with an Asian equivalent of Toonami and focused its mission on action shows while Asia’s regular CN shifted towards animated comedy, though the shenanigans of Ben 10 and old HB cartoons still remain.
- Although Cartoon Network eventually started stabilizing in the USA, it's hardly like this in Latin America, and is fli-flopping between this, Slipped and Total Abandonment. During their earlier years, the channel was simply a Latin American clone of its parent channel in the USA (it was launched a mere six months after the U.S. channel), but by the end of The Nineties they started to branch out on their programming choices, with the Latin American premieres of Pokémon, Card Captor Sakura, Rurouni Kenshin, and others before they added Toonami in 2002, airing shows also seen in the U.S. block such as Dragon Ball Z, InuYasha and Gundam Wing.
It's quite debatable when exactly the channel dipped into Network Decay. For fans of classic animation it was right when the channel added anime, for otaku it was right when anime started disappearing, and for others it was when Ben10 got literally all the channel's attention.
It should be noted that the Latin American subsidiary has four different signals: one for Mexico, one for Argentina, one for Brazil, and one for the rest of Latin America. Around late 2003, in Mexico, all of Toonami's anime moved into a midnight timeslot due to complaints from parents that the series aired were too violent for their children. Not only that, the Mexican sponsors had a good regulation and patrol of this block, so rumors say that they were the ones who mandated to change the block's timeslot. In late 2004, the rest of the Latin American signals followed suit. Toonami itself was cancelled in March 2007, although its former timeslot still aired anime until December 2008.
In 2005, it was obvious that they were rapidly losing anime licenses, especially since Animax had just premiered. Around late 2005, CNLA announced that they were going to add [adult swim] into their weekend's late programming to fill the "dead" hours of Saturday and Sunday. However, it also started some debates in internet sites and forums when people started it to compare with the American version (that was still showing anime). Of course, the guys behind the Latin American AS went into their way to mock this and people didn't like it. However, this ended badly when the block was censored by some cable operators, and even separated from its own channel, in countries like Argentina. This was mainly because parents were letting kids stay up so late to see AS when the programming was obviously not directed at them. Eventually the block was moved to sister channel Isat in 2008, and disappeared completely from there in January 2011.
When Western Animation/Ben10 premiered in 2006, it was extremely well-received so they went out of their way to focus on it. This had a few unfortunate side-effects, as the Grand Finales of Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends and Codename: Kids Next Door, as well as the 10th anniversary special of The Powerpuff Girls were glossed over. Even worse, the remains of Toonami were pushed even further into overnight slots, with shows like One Piece and Ashita no Nadja that were clearly not meant for a 3 AM timeslot airing at said time. Eventually, Pokémon and Naruto were the last remaining anime on the channel.
By 2008, the channel was inheriting the American network's Network Decay in the States, and though it had CN's original series and late-night showings of classic Looney Tunes, Ben10 was still Adored by the Network, at almost 10 showings a day. Then they started showing live-action movies - to be fair though, the movies were where most of the live action was. Live-action shows like Kamen Rider Dragon Knight and Unnatural History were the first to premiere in the Latin American channel, as former CN Real shows like Destroy Build Destroy and Dude, What Would Happen? would not be added until FOUR years after premiering in America, and they vanished swiftly after premiering. In the same year, the channel adopted a new slogan that perfectly summed up their programming choices for the majority of CN viewers: Hacemos lo que queremos (literally "We do what we want to").
At the time the channel passed into their own Noods era in 2010 (Toonix) and a little bit before the Check It one (the LA signals were the LAST ones to get into it), the programming schedules were at least somewhat stabilized with Adventure Time and Regular Show... and then the channel started to be beaten up in ratings by Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. A controversial decision was also to add, in late 2010, reruns of the Mexican classic series El Chapulín Colorado and El Chavo del ocho, which many CN fans did not like due to the fact both series have reran constantly for decades in other channels (they did not last much in CNLA, however, and as of 2014 can be seen on their version of Boomerang). CNLA then tried to beat Nick and Disney at their own game with new live action like Level Up and the original Latin American co-production with Televisa entitled La CQ, basically a mix-up of every U.S. sitcom aimed at teens that takes place in middle/high school (its name is the spelling of secu, abbreviation for secundaria, Spanish for middle school or high school depending on the region), and which got a quick and big Periphery Hatedom among the channel's older viewers. CNLA also began censoring content on several of its programs, most notably on Regular Show, and for unknown reasons, it began to speed up or cut the opening and closing credits for most of their programs. Not only that, the commercial breaks started to become longer than usual, as the channel's series began airing for blocks of 15 minutes with some animated shorts playing between them.
As of 2014, the channel has been really in a rollercoaster, and while it's changed a bit some criticize that they're giving too much space to CN's current flagship series (Adventure Time, Regular Show and The Amazing World of Gumball). Outside of La CQ, Power Rangers Mega Force (which got transferred from Nickelodeon as they were not interested in any further series after airing Samurai) however, the live-action content is thankfully now nonexistant. In regards to anime, the only series they have aired since the decay are Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Dragon Ball Kai,note and Digimon Xros Warsnote . Compared to the U.S. channel, it seems that they aren't going to come out of their own Dork Age yet. As it was the case with Stuart Snyder in the U.S., many people blame the current manager of CNLA, Pablo Zuccarino, for the decay (it doesn't help he has publicly said his objective is to make CNLA a channel completely appropiate for all children).
Other "Unique Situations" examples:
- By their very nature, sports channels which consist of nothing but college and high school sports (such as ESPNU, the Fox and CBS college sports channels, the Big Ten Network and ESPN's networks devoted to the SEC and Texas Longhorns) must decay in the summer due to the lack of college and high school sports being played. This means that they either carry minor league summer sports or some programming which strays slightly from the format, or air rerun after rerun of football and basketball games played months or years ago and with all of the drama of a live event removed with a simple check of the team schedule or even looking at the event's guide listing, along with reruns of coach's shows which could be awkward if said coach has been terminated since the first airing of an event.
- Tennis Channel is in a similar situation. During major tournaments, particularly the four Grand Slams, it features nearly round-the-clock coverage, but at other times has to fill out its schedule with original programming — Tennisography, "classic" matches (sometimes cut down to half an hour), Best of 5, Destination Tennis (a travel show), but all tennis-related. The farthest the channel has drifted from its actual subject (except for the requisite late-night/early-morning filler of infomercials) is an occasional flirtation with badminton or ping pong, but as those are net sports they still easily count (since there will never be a market for The Badminton Channel in the States).
- ONE World Sports also shows badminton, along with the 'club network' feeds of international soccer teams, Japanese baseball, Russian hockey and English cricket. When those sports aren't in season though they might show a lot of This Week in Baseball-like league programming to fill time.
- CBS College Sports mutated into the CBS Sports Network, and still shows all their college programming (including NCAA events and analysis shows), joined mostly by Jim Rome's show (after he got Screwed by the Network by ESPN) and sports leagues too tiny to be taken by any other network like pro lacrosse, the Arena Football League (it too got screwed over by ESPN) and the NBA D-League. One night, they even aired college paintball; one begins to wonder if laser tag is on the horizon (of course, Neil Patrick Harris would have to host that).
- Networks operated by specific pro sports teams go through similar issues during their team's offseason. The most common solution for filling airtime is broadcasting games of local/regional teams in other sports with different schedules; mostly these are teams who share ownership groups, but sometimes specific deals are made for tv rights. One example is the New York Yankees' YES Network, which airs live Brooklyn Nets NBA games when baseball season is done (with a bit of overlap), and has even branched out to airing replays of English Premier League soccer matches. In years past, the latter was confined to the occasional Arsenal match. But owing to Yankees ownership partnering with Manchester City for MLS expansion team NYCFC, YES now airs replays of Man City games, both Premier League and Champions League, in addition to team-focused programming from Man City's own dedicated network in the UK.
- The TV Guide Channel/Network, which started its life as the Prevue Channel, formerly existed as a channel which was half-devoted to 'barker' ads for cable movies and shows, with the bottom half devoted to an endless roll of a cable provider's TV listings. Over the years smaller things such as local weather and news headlines, along with junket interviews by the channel's movie 'critic' were added to the loop, until TV Guide's parent purchased it in 1998. From here, original programming was further added until digital cable, which provided programming listings with the boxes, came into vogue. Soon, the programming on top became more like that of Entertainment Tonight, and eventually the network attempted to kill E's red carpet coverage monopoly by hiring Joan Rivers, to little success. By 2009 and the digital transition, it was becoming clear that the future of cable and satellite would be electronic listings, so the channel began a slow phase-out of the listings roll. From there, corporate upheaval among the TV Guide properties left the TV Guide Network in the hands of Lionsgate, which finished off the promotional original programming altogether and turned the network into a rerun/movie farm until 2013, when CBS purchased it, added Big Brother After Dark, along with The Young and the Restless and The Bold And The Beautiful same-day repeats in place of the dying Soapnet, and launched an HD version of the channel without any listings infrastructure at all. These days, the network has been vague-nitialized down to TVGN, and its programming resembles most cable networks. It will become "Pop" in 2015.
- When Pittsburgh's local PBS note station WQED-13 first bought the former WENS-16 in 1959, it established a sister station, WQEX, in order to showcase educational programming it couldn't fit on the main channel. Then in the 1980's, after the original broadcast tower breaking necessitated a switch to colornote , WQED began running WQEX as its own station, showing imported British Sitcoms, reruns of old PBS shows such as Masterpiece Theatre, Movies, as well as Local oriented programming. The station became popular for this programming as well as its nightly sign-off, which featured "credits" that donors could have their name listed in. But during the 1990s, as the costs of writing original content, getting rights to broadcast the imports, and broadcasting increased, the station began to switch to a simulcast of WQED, save for some programming in the evening. As the new millennium dawned, WQED began having financial issues after the end of their old original show, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, leasing out the station to the Home Shopping Network, then ShopNBC while looking for a permanent buyer; this is usually verboten for a public television operation since most use non-commercial television licenses, but since WQEX still retained a commercial license, was perfectly legal to do. The station was finally sold to Ion Media Networks, looking to expand to the Pittsburgh market for the first time, and became WINP in 2010.
- GSN, originally called the Game Show Network, has had an on-again, off-again relationship with 1950s through 1980s classic game shows. At one time it wasn't unusual to find the likes of the black and white episodes of What's My Line? and To Tellthe Truth filling up a programming block known as "Black and White Overnight," and reruns of the CBS Password and the original ABC version of Family Feud with Richard Dawson as host. When GSN lost the rights to many of those shows, older games were banished, and classic game show fans refer to this as "The Dark Period". When the network got a new management team, GSN brought the older shows back and even added few, like reruns of the Peter Marshall version of The Hollywood Squares and the original version of Press Your Luck. In addition, the network began concentrating on its own first run shows like Lingo and Whammy, in an effort to pull in younger demographics. While it's still not unusual for the network to remake game shows, older fare like the original The Hollywood Squares has become rare again. Still, Match Game reruns from the series' 1973-81 run have managed to remain a staple of the network. (Note that it's not unusual for fledgling cable networks to fill up their schedules with old movies or reruns of old TV shows, as they build a network and find ways to attract younger, 18-34 demographics. Even Comedy Central once reran ancient 1950s series featuring the likes of Steve Allen and Spike Jones as they built a network with first run fare like Mystery Science Theater 3000.)
Of course, it still had a couple more missteps along the way as it got overrun with poker tournaments and reality shows on game show hosts in the late 2000s. Eventually these all but vanished and it started to focus on original programming once more with shows like The Chase, Minute to Win It, The American Bible Challenge, and Idiotest. Of course, the channel tends to be filled with reruns of Steve Harvey's Family Feud and moves the reruns of classic game shows to the early mornings, but game shows are still its primary focus.