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Network Death

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A rare case of the network dying so abruptly, the cable provider has to tell you.

Network Death is when a TV channel ceases to exist. Usually this is either caused by financial troubles forcing it to go off the air or extreme cases of Network Decay and/or Executive Meddling leading to it being "rebranded" as a completely different channel.

In some cases, two weaker networks are "merged" into one, meaning, one network absorbs the programming and other elements of the other. There's no guarantee that this strategy will work, however, as there are cases when even new channels that aren't rebrands never get very far off the ground, especially in a modern digital cable/satellite world that has to contend with cord-cutters and niche streaming services.

At the end of the day, unless the new network is able to find an audience with its programming, it won't be able to generate any ratings, which leads to low revenue.


When a network is shut down without a rebrand, it's almost certain any show being carried on that network will die with it. In some cases, though, a show will prove successful enough to outlive its former network and manage a last-second Channel Hop, usually a result of the show's rights being sold to another network.

This trope is related to, but not the same as, Network Decay. As noted above, Network Decay can lead to Network Death, but the channel *must* be given a different name and focus, keeping only its slot on the cable listings.

When this happens to an individual show, it's called Cancellation.



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     Totally Dead Broadcast Networks 
  • DuMont was the third broadcast network to go on the air in 1946 (beating ABC to the punch), but struggled for its entire life before dying off in 1956.
  • Paramount attempted the Paramount Television Network about the same time, but due to being in the awkward position of being both part-owner and competitor with DuMont and competition with ABC, lasted just about as long as DuMont and was arguably even less successful.
  • BBC Three, which itself replaced BBC Choice, failed to survive a spending review initialised by the British government to restrict BBC funding. Despite campaigns and a fairly large outcry, the youth-orientated BBC channel (which was a starting bed for things like Torchwood, and a frequent repeat offender of showing American shows like Family Guy and American Dad!) ceased to be a broadcast TV channel in February 2016. It lives on as a youth-oriented video on-demand area on iPlayer called BBC II!.
    • BBC Four also replaced BBC Knowledge, which was initially focused on education programming, but later shifted to to what ended up being a prelude to BBC Four's eventual lineup — which focuses more on the arts and other serious fare.
  • PTEN died in 1997, after only four years on the air, mostly due to owner conflicts and affiliate issues. In its final months, Babylon 5 was the only thing keeping it from going under; once Season 4 ended, that was it, and J. Michael Straczynski, thinking his masterpiece would go down with its channel and having no idea that TNT would pick it up for a fifth season, was forced to expedite the Shadow War and Earth Alliance Civil War arcs.
  • ITV Play didn't survive the phone-in quiz scandal and "suspended" indefinitely in 2007.
  • Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation was a Philippine broadcasting channel from 1972 to 1986 when ABS-CBN was shut down under the Marcos administration. The former was in turn shut down when the latter was relaunched in 1986.
  • PBJ was a children's digital sub-channel which aired mostly cartoons from the DreamWorks Classics library, though some might also know them as being the American television home for My Life Me. The station never took off, only getting 19 broadcast affiliates in five years before shutting down in March 2016.
  • The United Network only lasted one month on the air: it debuted on May 1st, 1967 and was off the air by early June 1967. During that time, it only carried one show, The Las Vegas Show, a late-night talk show hosted by Bill Dana. Money problems were to blame: leasing transmission lines from the Bell System proved too expensive and the launch happened too close to the end of the TV season to attract major sponsors.
  • MHz WorldView was a non-commercial broadcast channel that aired as a subnetwork of most PBS stations and broadcasted newscasts and other multinational programming from around the world. The channel signed off right at the stroke of midnight on February 29, 2020 as it transitioned to being only a digital streaming service.

     Rebranded Broadcast Networks 
  • National Educational Television (NET) was a forerunner to PBS from 1954-1970.
  • The WB and UPN were merged into The CW in 2006 with many of the leftover affiliates joining MyNetworkTV
  • PAX became "i" and then ION.
    • PAX was itself the Spiritual Successor of Infomall TV Network (inTV), a network that was more or less 100% infomercials.
  • QTV was an offshoot channel of GMA Network, whose viewership was aimed towards women. As Network Decay stepped in, it was shut down in 2011, and was replaced by GMA News TV, which in turn also fell victim to decay.
  • Studio 23 was a channel owned by ABS-CBN, where much of the programs were young adult oriented. It ceased operations in 2014 due to declining viewership, and it was replaced by a sports-oriented channel also run by ABS-CBN.

     Totally Dead Mainstream Cable/Satellite Networks 
  • Three of British Satellite Broadcasting's five networks did not survive the merger with Sky Television. BSB's general entertainment net, Galaxy, merged with Sky One, while BSB's current affairs and arts channel Now merged with Sky News (with a separate opt-out called Sky Arts seen only by people using the former BSB equipment, to run out the contract BSB had for their arts programming). The Sports Channel was rebranded as the first Sky Sports and The Movie Channel was rebranded as a sister to Sky Movies (and eventually was rebranded as "Sky Movies Screen 2" in 1997). The sole channel to be shuttered completely was BSB's Power Station (their Golden Age MTV clone), which was replaced on the BSB system by Sky Movies.
  • Newsworld International was bought by Al Gore to start Current TV, which struggled until it was sold to Al Jazeera to form Al Jazeera America, which folded in 2016.
  • Satellite News Channel (SNC) was launched in 1982 by ABC and Westinghouse as a competitor to CNN, with a format of a quick rundown of the news every 18 minutes. What is now CNN's HLN was preemptively launched as a competitor to SNC before SNC even came on the air. SNC failed to get enough cable carriers and was bought out by CNN and taken off the air after about 16 months of operation.
    • ABC attempted another news channel, ABC News Now, starting in 2004. It was carried both as a digital subchannel to ABC affiliates and as a cable channel. In 2009 the digital subchannel was replaced with the Live Well Network and the cable channel was replaced with a joint venture with Univision called Fusion in 2013.
  • CNN itself has had its fair share of failed spinoff networks, including:
    • CNN Sports Illustrated or CNNSI, their answer to ESPN's SportsCenter, which had the misfortune of coming into being around the same time as ESPNEWS (which was created as a Take That! move by ESPN against their competition). After years of struggling for an audience and cable coverage, it went off the air in 2002.
    • CNN+, a Spanish-language channel for Spain which went off the air in 2010.
    • CNN Italia, the Italian version of CNN. It went off the air in 2003.
    • CNNfn, their answer to CNBC. It too struggled with audience and cable coverage, and went off the air in 2004.
    • CNN Checkout Channel, a version of CNN's Airport Network, targeted at grocery stores; it wasn't successful and was only in operation from 1991 to 1993.
  • French travel-themed network Odyssey became Stylia in 2010 and then went off the air in 2014.
  • Due to low ratings and a failure to get "must-carry" status. Canada's Sun News Network abruptly shut down in 2015 with mere *hours* of advanced warning. In fact, the last real thing that it showed was a promo for a show that would of course never again air. This was followed by the channel's logo sitting silently on the screen for 30 seconds, followed by blackness. The abruptness of this forced cable/satellite providers to put up notices like the one at the top of this page.
  • ABS-CBN Regional Channel, a set of channels by ABS-CBN to be aired by each local region in the Philippines, ran from August 2016 to January 2018.

     Rebranded Mainstream Cable/Satellite Networks 
  • Solar Entertainment has its share of rebranding their channels catered by genre and demographic. First, Solar USA, which programmed crime dramas, suspense, and action, was split in 2005 into the comedy-oriented Jack TV, and the action-oriented C/S, which was CT from 2015 to 2017.
  • Trio began as a channel for airing CBC's fine arts programming in the US, then later changed owners a few times before becoming a sister station of Bravo and then becoming a mainstream "pop culture network" that was taken off of TV and replaced with mystery-focused Sleuth. Sleuth became Cloo, which drifted back into mainstream programming again before folding completely in 2017.
  • Spike TV, a Viacom-owned channel aimed at men, lasted from August 2003 to January 2018, in which it was replaced with Paramount Network. The network went out with a humorous bang on social media, with the person running the Twitter account spilling all sorts of "confessions" about the network and posting their resume in search of another job. The final program to air on the network was the movie Pitch Perfect, which aired from 6:30 P.M. until the shuttering at 9:00 P.M., leading to Paramount Network's countdown launch that was marked by a Michael Jackson-themed Lip Sync Battle special that was filmed at the Dolby Theatre.
  • The Prevue Channel showed a rolling scroll of TV listings, run by the viewer's cable or satellite provider using an Amiga computer and a C-Band satellite feed, as a replacement for the Electronic Programming Guide. Eventually, it added at the top of the screen such things as Coming Attractions, interviews, and information on what was on primetime TV that night. It also got a sister channel, Sneak Prevue, devoted to pay-per-view trailers and listings. Later, at the Turn of the Millennium, it rebranded to the TV Guide Channel after Prevue's parent merged with other companies. Around that time, more and more cable and satellite providers were bringing digital television to more and more homes and businesses. They began to offer interactive guides, which let viewers scroll through the listings themselves, instead of having to wait for a channel to scroll by, and to see what was on TV a lot further out than the scrolls allowed. So, there just wasn't as great a need for rolling-scroll channel listings, and the TV Guide Channel— which then became the TV Guide Network, and then simply TVGN— began to focus less on the listings and more on interviews and celebrity gossip. Eventually, the channel was bought out by CBS and was rebranded in 2015 as a new variety channel aimed at young adults, called Pop.

     Rebranded/Replaced Niche Cable/Satellite Networks 
  • NickJr's channel began in 1999 as pre-teen focused Noggin. After the Jim Henson company sold their stake in it in 2001, the channel split its programming time into pre-teen-focused "The N" and a preschool-focused half still called "Noggin." In 2007, they were split into two separate channels with the same names, with The N replacing NickGas. In 2009, Noggin's name was changed to Nick Jr. and The N became TeenNick.
    • "Nickelodeon Game and Sports" was a sports-and-gaming show-based channel that aired reruns of series such as Nick Arcade, Double Dare, and Legends of the Hidden Temple. On December 31st, 2007 it became an online-only service on TurboNick with "The N" (now known as TeenNick) taking its channel space. (However, Dish Network and DirecTV continued their carriage of GaS for a couple more years due to contractual issues; even before then the channel had been reduced to an automated loop.)
  • Tech TV was purchased by Comcast and merged into G4TV before most of the Tech TV elements disappeared from the merged network. G4TV itself was going to be replaced by the Esquire Network in fall 2013, before additional last-second Executive Meddling lead to the Style Network getting replaced instead. This left G4 as a "zombie network" of nothing but reruns, syndicated shows, and ads until its death at the end of 2014, with the syndicated shows not even airing in the last few months.
    • The aforementioned Style Network was replaced by the Esquire Network in 2013, which itself did not last.
  • A 50% stake in Discovery Kids was bought by Hasbro, who turned it into The Hub on October 10, 2010. The Hub was owned as a joint-venture between Hasbro and Discovery Communications, until Discovery gained back 10% ownership from Hasbro. As a result of changes in staffing, it namechanged again to Discovery Family in 2014. While the evening lineup ditched classic TV shows for family-friendly Discovery library shows, the daytime programming remained largely unchanged.
  • Toon Disney launched in 1998 and became Disney XD in 2009.
  • Argentinian Locomotion was a channel that transmitted diverse adult animations including anime, bringing Latin American dubs for previously untranslated series like Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Serial Experiments Lain. It was bought by Sony and became Animax Latin America in 2005. This channel itself got a total rebrand into Sony Spin in 2011
  • SOAPNet was a Niche Network for 24/7 soap opera viewing experience. Due to the decline of soap opera viewership, the channel ended its run with General Hospital as the last program shown before the strike of New Years 2014, when it was replaced by Disney Junior.
  • The Outdoor Life Network became Versus in 2006, which itself became NBC Sports Network in 2012 and then shortened to NBCSN.
  • Fox Sports World became Fox Soccer Channel in 2005, then simply Fox Soccer in 2011, before losing the rights to Premiere League games to NBC in 2013 and getting relaunched as FXX.
  • The Philippine edition of MTV had its share of rebrandings due to competition with local music video channel Myx. Originally it was named MTV Philippines from 1992 to 2010, then MTV Pinoy in 2014-2016, then MTVph since 2016.
  • Country music/culture-focused The Nashville Network (TNN) came on the air in 1983, became the more generalized "The National Network," in 2000 ("The New TNN") and then became the male-focused Spike TV in 2003. In turn Spike became known as the Paramount Network in 2018.
  • Speed, formerly Speed Channel, formerly Speedvision, was completely changed into Fox Sports 1 in 2013.
  • The Funimation Channel, focusing on running both anime and Japanese live-action movies owned by the companynote , ran from 2005 to 2015. In 2015, the station was rebranded as Toku; with this rebrand, all Funimation programming was removed and replaced with content from Media Blasters.
  • Disney XD in India was replaced by Marvel HQ on January 9, 2019.
  • PRIME, a Canadian multichannel network which premiered in the late '90s, aimed at Baby Boomers and older audiences (though it stubbornly referred to itself on-air as a general interest channel). Most of the show's programming, particularly during the primetime hours, consisted of reruns of beloved sitcoms of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s (particularly M*A*S*H, which aired in two separate hour-long blocks per day, at 4 PM and again at 10 PM). However, Canwest, which owned PRIME, launched a premium channel called DejaView and gradually the older shows on their schedule migrated over there, as shows from the later 1980s and even the 1990s began to migrate onto the lineup. Eventually PRIME was replaced entirely by a new channel called TVTropolis, which focused entirely on TV of the '90s and 2000s (including introducing Reality shows into the lineup for the first time), though (presumably to their chagrin) they were forced to bring back The Golden Girls (which became by far the oldest show on their lineup) despite several attempts to ditch it (probably because it always plays well with younger audiences). In 2013, the channel was re-branded again, this time as DTour, a lifestyle/travel channel with no scripted content whatsoever.

     Totally Dead Niche Cable/Satellite Networks 
  • As mentioned above, G4TV was going to be replaced by the Esquire Network in fall 2013, before additional last-second Executive Meddling lead to the Style Network getting replaced instead. This left G4 as a "zombie network" of nothing but reruns, syndicated shows, and ads until its death at the end of 2014, with the syndicated shows not even airing in the last few months.
    • The Canadian version of G4 was shut down in August 2017, having outlived both its American counterpart and the Esquire Network that was once set to replace it.
  • The aforementioned Esquire Network that replaced the Style Network was aimed at metrosexual males. The network had abysmal ratings right from the get-go, and it's only notable programming were reruns and spinoffs of American Ninja Warrior, the sole surviving original series from G4, as well as the original Ninja Warrior series. Ultimately, Esquire went off the air in June 2017, with the unfulfilled promise to switch to an online model.
  • The Japanese Nickelodeon channel went off the air on September 30, 2007, abruptly shutting down in the middle of a "Coming up next" advertisement for Spongebob Squarepants. Subverted when it came back suddenly in 2019.
  • Taiwanese general entertainment channel JET TV or Japan Entertainment Television had a Filipino station that usually aired drama (mostly dubbed in English) from 2008 before it went off the air for undisclosed reasons.
  • CBS Cable launched in 1981 with a focus on the arts and folded after only 14 months due to being a niche channel when cable was too small for such a thing, as well as overlaps in programming with a much more widely available PBS.
  • Chiller was an American network themed around horror films and television series. Starting in 2017, several companies began dropping the channel due to it being too niche. The channel shut down completely on December 31, 2017, with the movie The Babadook having it's last scream on the network before shutting down.
  • Pivot, an activism-oriented channel aimed at young adults, broadcast from August 2013 to October 2016, with their final programming being five consecutive showings of the movie Good Night, and Good Luck..
  • 3net was a channel exclusively on DirecTV that broadcast 3D content, mostly from Discovery and Sony. The channel launched in early 2011 and was closed in August 2014, likely because of 3D TVs not taking off like they were expected to.
  • PBJ was a children's digital sub-channel which aired mostly cartoons from the DreamWorks Classics library, though some might also know them as being the American television home for My Life Me. The station never took off, only getting 19 broadcast affilates in five years before shutting down in March 2016.
  • TAG was a Filipino channel launched by ABS-CBN in 2016 which aired Filipino-dubbed Hollywood and Asian movies. Unfortunately, the channel ceased its broadcast on January 31, 2018.
    • Anime-focused sister station HERO TV was launched in 2005 and was shut down about the same time as TAG due to the lack of advertising support and "a change in business direction".
  • ZAZ was a Mexican children's programming network that launched in 1991 and expanded to all of Latin America in 1996. It started showing anime in 2009, then stopped showing new episodes of it in 2011 before cancelling the shows one at a time. It went off the air in August 2012.
  • Supermax was a Czech programming network that was launched in 1994. Most of the programs aired were cancelled in 2003, with the whole network going off the air by 2004.
  • Every channel related to Disney closed in New Zealand on November 30, 2019, though the channels still live on through Australia.
    • Disney XD ceased to exist in Australia on January 6, 2019. In November of the same year, Foxtel Movies Disney was also ended due to a combination of low ratings (outside of Disney Channel's usual target) and the launch of Disney+, with the channel's number being reused as a channel for teen romance films. The final films played under Disney were the High School Musical trilogy, with the Twilight films opening the rebranding. Finally, Disney Channel and Disney Junior closed down on Foxtel on March 1, 2020, and will end entirely on April 30, 2020.
    • Disney Junior ended its run in the Netherlands on April Fools in 2019. Hungary's feed ended in 2018.
    • Disney XD, along with Disney In English, shut down on October 1, 2019, though it was done very poorly. Disney XD was airing an up next promo, and Disney In English ended in the middle of a program! An Israeli feed also existed, though only for one month.

     Failed Streaming Channels 
  • Seeso was NBC's short-lived attempt at a comedy-focused streaming platform. It launched in 2016 and lasted less than two years.
  • NRATV began in 2016 and ceased to exist in June 2019 after a dispute between the ad agency that produced the channel and the NRA itself.

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