The History Channel is a network (under the umbrella of A&E Television Networks) that dedicates itself (or once dedicated itself, depending on who you ask) to history. The network was particularly famous for its sometimes excessive coverage of World War II leading some to call it The Hitler Channel.
Then the channel went through a phase where it was obsessed with The Da Vinci Code, aliens and the apocalypse. Nowadays, the lineup has favored documentary-style reality shows: Some (Pawn Stars, American Pickers) occasionally have something do to with history, especially Americana. Others (Ax Men, Ice Road Truckers, the American version of Top Gear) don't. On most days, there's almost no history-related programming on the schedule. You might get lucky if it's a holiday or other day of historical significance. A sister channel, H2 (formerly History International), was closer to the original History Channel in terms of "historical" programming, though it did adopt a lot of the paranormal programming as well once the name changed. It was replaced in 2016 by Viceland, a joint venture of A&E Networks ana the Canadian Vice Media, centered around documentaries. Also in the mix is Military History, which reruns History's massive backlog of military-oriented programming; it's fairly obscure (not many TV providers carry it) and doesn't broadcast in HD at all, so who knows how much longer it's going to be around.
Besides tales of old, the station is also noted for its weekly show of Modern Marvels which details the history of everyday and not-so-everyday things. History also occasionally plays movies (including original made-for-TV movies), usually either pertaining to a historical event (two of the movies History Channel commissioned were about JFK and the infamous Hatfields-McCoys feud, the latter being one of the most well-received television movies the year it aired) or are historical/cultural artifacts in themselves (it once aired Dirty Harry for example).
Often seen as competing with Discovery Channel and TLC; both in the days when these networks primarily aired educational programming and nowadays when they're trying to one-up each other in the area of Network Decay.
Shows on this network:
- Alone (2015-present) - A dozen survivalists are each deposited separately in a remote locale, with only a handful of tools, and cameras they they film themselves with. They then operate in total isolation from any other people to see who can remain in situ the longest without succumbing to starvation, environmental hazards, or sheer loneliness.
- American Pickers (2010-present) - Two guys go around the country looking for stuff people have in garages and junk piles, that they can sell at a profit.
- American Restoration (2010-14, 2016) - Got a rusty old gas pump, Coke machine or 1930s toy? By the time they're finished working on it, it will look like it just came off the showroom floor.
- Ancient Aliens (2009-present) - Are old historical incidents like Adam and Eve an incident involving God, or involving an extraterrestrial?
- Ax Men (2008-16, 2019) - Cutting timber for a living is dangerous. Really.
- Barbarians Rising (2016) - An actual historical series, a docudrama depicting the wars between the Roman Empire and the other peoples of Europe.
- Beast Legends (2010) - Making monsters out of real animals' biomechanics.
- Conquest (2002-03)
- Counting Cars (2012-18, 2020)
- Dogfights (2005-08)
- Forged in Fire (2015-present)- Four bladesmiths compete to win $10000 by creating the best blade, finishing with re-creating a historical weapon.
- Full Metal Jousting (2012)
- Gangland (2007-10)
- Gangland Undercover (2015, 2017)
- God Guns And Automobiles (2013)
- Grant (2020)
- Great Minds with Dan Harmon (2016)
- Hatfields & McCoys (2012)
- History IQ (2000-01) - A short lived Game Show which had a ton of people from Double Dare (1986) working on it, including host Marc Summers.
- Ice Road Truckers (2007-17) - In some parts of Alaska and Canada, there are places so far out that there aren't any roads. There are, however, rivers, lakes and parts of the ocean frozen so solid you can drive an 18-wheeler over the ice.
- Jurassic Fight Club (2008) - Which of two dinosaurs or other prehistoric creatures would win in a fight?
- Knightfall (2017-19)
- Life After People (2008-10) - Welcome to earth. Population: zero.
- The Men Who Built America (2012) - Focuses on The Gilded Age and the wealthy industrialists who guided the development of the United States.
- Modern Marvels (1994-2015, 2021-present) - Many things we use or have been developed involve a lot of complicated work to exist or be produced. And this shows the background of them.
- Mail Call (2002-09) and Lock and Load (2009), with host R. Lee Ermey.
- Pawn Stars (2009-19) - Consider four guys in Las Vegas that run a pawn shop, and the things that get sold there or bought by them.
- Project Blue Book (2019-20)
- The Revolution (2006): Focuses on the events of The American Revolution.
- Roots (2016): A remake of the original 1977 miniseries.
- Six (2017-18)
- Sons of Liberty (2015): A scripted miniseries dramatizing the actions of the Founding Fathers leading up to The American Revolution.
- Swamp People (2010-present) - Making a living by collecting the resources of the Everglades and other, similar swamps.
- The Bible (2013)
- Texas Rising (2015)
- Top Gear (2010-14, 2016)
- Top Shot (2010-13) - Win $100,000 by being the best all-around marksman/woman in a field of 16.
- Vikings (2013-20) - Premiering in March 2013, the show is a scripted series based on the medieval Viking sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok.
- Wild West Tech (2003-05) - Explores the technology of The Wild West.
- WWII in HD (2009) - High Definition video and color films about World War II.
- Ancient Astronauts: There is a disturbing number of shows on the channel that subscribe to crazy alien theories of human history. Seemingly, it's barely second-fiddle to History's reality line-up. Though it's been moved to H2 now you can still catch Ancient Aliens airing occasionally.
- Apocalypse How: A fair few shows dedicated to either the end of the world or something in the likeness (what if a wildfire burned Los Angeles?). Needless to say the 2012 Mayan Doomsday hype also made its way to the network programming in the few years preceding its date.
- Damned by Faint Praise: Barbarians Rising, airing as it did post-Network Decay, drew praise from critics for among other things actually being a historical documentary.
- Dan Browned: Do not take everything you see on this channel as truth. Actual fact count may vary.
- Hollywood History: Arguably more frequent after Network Decay, although it was present even before.
- Licensed Game: Several, mostly FPS games set in various historical time frames.
- Non-Indicative Name: More or less since Network Decay. It's a good thing they didn't go down the initials route, otherwise having a channel called THC would be a bit suspect (and probably prone to stoner jokes).
- Offer Void In Nebraska: In Canada, there was a previously-unrelated network called History Television. Ads for History on A&E (which has historically been carried on cable in Canada) always reminded viewers that it was "not available in Canada". Thanks to Network Decay and an eventual over-reliance on History Channel programming, the network's current owner Shaw ultimately licensed the actual History Channel brand, and also re-branded SpikeTV clone The Cave (itself formerly MenTV) into H2.
- Rated M for Manly: Hey, Vikings is on this network.
- Red-plica Baron: The Red Baron himself, Manfred von Richthofen, has been featured on two different shows: Unsolved History and Man, Moment, Machine.
- Speculative Documentary: Life After People talks about what happens to buildings and animals after the apocalypse. It goes out of its way specifically not to mention how people disappeared. It also assumes whatever killed them left everything else intact (not even bones of then living people are left, though older bodies remain), but pets are left behind (which in many cases is a Fate Worse than Death).
- Stock Footage: Scenes that were originally filmed for one History Channel program have a bad habit of being recycled on completely unrelated programs or features. A lot. Often, the later programs' scripts will wander blatantly off-topic so they can pad things out with footage already in their clip library.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Just about any time World War II in Europe is discussed.