The channel, with the exception of perhaps a few shows, has long abandoned its original concept.
Joel McHale: Hey, ya know what else is weird for MTV? Showing a music video.
One of the most documented cases is that of MTV (originally standing for "Music Television"), which began in 1981 as an all-Music Video station. Today, MTV primarily deals in youth-targeting non-music programming; teen dramas, talk shows, and reality shows being the most prominent. In the past, they've also aired series such as American Gladiators; sibling Viacom shows like South Park and SpongeBob SquarePants; and even Anime in the mid-2000's, such as Heat Guy J, at a time when American teens were beginning to discover the medium.
- The decay began in 1987 with Remote Control and continued in throughout the 1990s with The Real World and Beavis and Butt-Head (the latter of which featured music videos, albeit with MST3K-style commentary by the title characters), two of the most popular programs in the network's history. The MTV executives saw this and started commissioning more non-music shows, until music had been pushed into late night/early morning and the after-school Total Request Live (TRL) block. At one point, they even ran commercials with the tagline "MTV: We Don't Play Music." In 2010, the "Music Television" branding was dropped to reflect this.
- Beavis and Butt-Head could be an indicator of how it decayed. It started off as about two minutes of animation and the rest was music videos. Then, the animations got longer as the videos became much more expensive to license. During the bottom of the decay, they had nothing in between animations. A short-lived relaunch in 2011 was closer to the original, albeit with MTV shows as well as videos.
- Before Beavis, others have complained that MTV began to slip when it debuted Yo! MTV Raps. MTV would expand to air shows about other genres types of music, programs about metal music being some of the more notable. The main issue was that viewers would rather watch music videos then watch people talking about the music.
- In some European countries, MTV still primarily shows music videos. American reality TV isn't nearly as popular outside America. That also used to be true for Latin American MTV, but it eventually followed the steps of the U.S. channel.
- In the United Kingdom, MTV UK was re-branded as MTV One, and later simply MTV. The channel adopted the same anything-but-music format as its American counterpart, even acquiring non-MTV-produced shows such as Pretty Little Liars and Blue Mountain State. note MTV UK's genre channels have their own programming related to the music they play, such as interviews. These have been cut back in favour of playing more music videos, leading to an ironic instance of MTV being criticized for playing too many videos. In 2011, MTV UK moved to the entertainment channels on Sky's EPG and launched a new channel, MTV Music, to fill in the missing gap.
- The French and Walloon (southern Belgium) MTV used to be an English-language channel (weirdly enough). They added subtitles and later dubbing to some of their shows (mostly animated shows and live broadcasts) before adding original French-language shows. This only made sense, considering the market, and they still aired plenty of music videos. However, like its foreign equivalents, it drifted toward reality shows (both original French shows and imported ones). It still airs some music (predominantly hip hop), but late at night.
- At one time, there were three music channels in the Netherlands MTV, The Music Factory (TMF), and The Box. MTV followed the all too familiar pattern with programming first shifting into the mainly R&B/Hip Hop/Rap genre, eventually phasing out to reality TV (although nothing Dutch; just stuff from the U.S.). TMF, the first true Dutch music channel, was soon bought out by MTV's parent company and changed from a channel with VJ's and life shows to a SMS-your-thoughts channel in addition to a radical music style change.
- The Italian MTV is also taking this route. Until the late 1990s/early 2000s, most of the schedule was composed of blocks of music videos and the occasional anime or South Park episode. Now it airs at least five or six episodes of American reality shows every day.
- In Australia, pay TV company Foxtel, who has channel numbers ordered by categories, acknowledged this in November 2009, when they moved MTV from channel 808 (8xx being Music Channels) to 124 (1xx being General Entertainment Channels).
- New Zealand had C4, which was essentially MTV, up until the first quarter of 2011 when the channel as it was being renamed to 'Four' and another channel being set up to play music videos full-on (now called C4 in the old channel's stead). It was replaced by The Edge TV on 27 June 2014.
- This trope is enforced by law for MTV Canada, whose broadcast license heavily restricts the amount of music-oriented programming it can air, and has Canadian content obligations during certain daypart. However, this was because of its own Total Abandonment; before becoming MTV, it was talktv, a network dedicated solely to talk shows (mostly re-ran from CTV). Since the license was not changed, MTV Canada slipped right out of the gate.
- In the 90s and early 2000s, MTV Brazil started moving towards variety shows (some had relation to music, such as a soccer tournament between musicians and a movie show that showed videos for songs popularized in soundtracks). Then in 2006 they decided to pull the plug on their TRL equivalent, marking the point where the decay became irreversible - even if music countdowns and such are still featured (though not as popular\prominent as the comedy and tween-focused shows). Then the "original" MTV, with broadcast signal and owned by a media conglomerate under the license of Viacom, was closed and the new cable channel under Viacom command is still barely about music.
- MTV Russia's CEO Nikolay Kartoziya, after years of decay same as American MTV, eventually decided to call it quits and launched a brand new channel - Pyatnica!, literally "Friday!". Viacom relaunched MTV Russia as a satellite channel shortly afterwards. (Interestingly, MTV Russia's main competitor, Muz-TV, did the same thing a couple of years earlier. Muz-TV's own case of decay is covered on Temporary Shifts subpage.)
- MTV2 started out as an actual music channel and, for a while after buying out the competing Box music network, became a true haven for music fans with its innovative and bizarre themed video blocks. After introducing the "two-headed dog" logo, MTV2 more or less became "MTV with hip-hop and rock videos". Even then, hip-hop has become the dominant genre on the channel; the indie rock-centric Subterranean, was pushed into the unsatisfactory timeslot of 1:00 AM on Friday mornings before being canned in 2011.
- After launching Guy Code in 2011 and reviving Wild 'N Out, MTV 2 began producing more guy-centric programming to match the predominately female-oriented shows on its parent network. They've even aired the Marvel Anime anthology while G4 was winding down. After three seasons, Wild 'N Out gained enough momentum to return to MTV proper for its eighth season. Soon after that, however, Viacom's 2017 restructuring plan went into effect. With all the focus on the flagship network, including a revival of TRL, MTV 2 began to regress yet again. The network scrapped its remaining original programming, and eventually stopped airing its early morning music videos blocks, leaving it with nothing but 90's sitcoms and other rerun fare.
- MTV2 Europe didn't stop playing music videos, but abandoned its mission to play obscure music (120 Minutes being a casualty of this). It was an unpredictable channel that could play any genre the other channels weren't playing, commercial-free all day, starting out as "M2" in 1998. Then commercial interests came calling, and the alternative music ended: Zane Lowe stopped hosting Gonzo for good, MTV2 became MTV Two and focused on playing well-known guitar pop bands.
- Its name was changed to "MTV Rocks" in 2010. Its evening schedule now consists of two hours of "Kasabian vs. The Killers vs. Kings Of Leon", bands that were all promoted in 2002-04 by MTV2 before they were famous — but crucially they weren't the only thing it played.
- Tr3s is a Spanish-language MTV channel that was formerly MTV's regular schedule with Gratuitous Spanish and subtitles. However, many viewers have wised up to their own local favorite networks being on cable and satellite under 'Latino tiers', along with YouTube and radio blurring the lines between English and Spanish music. Currently, the network is a little-watched automated playlist of music videos waiting for Viacom to notice it and have the plug pulled.
- MTV's subscription channels have followed a similar pattern, with the metal-centric MTVX being replaced by the rap-centric MTV Jams. Same with VH-1 Soul and CMT Pure. MTV Hits became NickMusic in October 2016, a Viacom-owned sister channel that plays hit music geared towards young teens. It also features Nickelodeon characters in the breaks between videos and even plays videos from stars of the network's shows. As with Tr3s though, it's also drifted towards some out-of-demographic music due to children really not getting music from TV networks any longer.
- VH1 was launched to stave off competition from Ted Turner's Cable Music Channel (which shut down before VH-1 launched; the latter took over the former's channel space) and originally targeted the demographic that had grown out of MTV with videos by "adult contemporary" artists (Phil Collins, et al.). From there it added shows themed around music from the 1960s and '70s, plus some stand-up comedy programs to vary the lineup, and by the end of The '90s it found a niche in music-related films (Footloose, The Wall, etc.) and documentary and trivia shows like Behind the Music and Pop-Up Video. Starting at the Turn of the Millennium, however, it turned into a channel celebrating pop culture in general by getting D-list celebrities to comment on it. From there it moved to D-list celebrity shows, and only showed music videos for a few hours in the mornings. Its decay came full circle when, in November 2015, VH-1 shunted its video blocks in favor of sitcom reruns.
- VH-1 Classic may have anticipated this, launching as a station devoted purely to music and 1970s-'90s music videos and occasional music movies. It briefly decayed when it started airing VH-1 shows in the off-hours, but reversed it with music festivals like Download and well-received talk shows like That Metal Show. While some movies had tenuous music connections, it dropped Married... with Children reruns in favor of Saturday Night Live (which has musical guests who sometimes double as hosts) and the channel's meat and potatoes remained as long video blocks and vintage concerts/concert films and documentaries. It found a niche in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal-related programs and was the only MTV channel to acknowledge the original's 30th anniversary in 2011, via a whole weekend of classic segments and promos.
- Exactly five years later, it was completely overhauled into MTV Classic, which features music videos from the 1980s, '90s and early 2000s as well as concert shows such as Unplugged on the one hand, and reruns of original shows from The '90s and the Turn of the Millennium on the other. Unfortunately, the newly-minted channel garnered abysmal ratings compared to its previous format (as low as only 35,000 regular viewers according to That Other Wiki). As a result, MTV Classic has since became yet another video-only channel starting in January 2017, and its ratings have predictably continued to dwindle.
- VH-1 Classic may have anticipated this, launching as a station devoted purely to music and 1970s-'90s music videos and occasional music movies. It briefly decayed when it started airing VH-1 shows in the off-hours, but reversed it with music festivals like Download and well-received talk shows like That Metal Show. While some movies had tenuous music connections, it dropped Married... with Children reruns in favor of Saturday Night Live (which has musical guests who sometimes double as hosts) and the channel's meat and potatoes remained as long video blocks and vintage concerts/concert films and documentaries. It found a niche in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal-related programs and was the only MTV channel to acknowledge the original's 30th anniversary in 2011, via a whole weekend of classic segments and promos.
- The Nashville Network, a country music and culture-oriented channel, was taken off-course after Viacom's acquisition of Westinghouse/CBS. The company decided, despite having been co-owned even before the merger, that TNN was redundant to its sister: the more music-oriented Country Music Television. TNN began to morph into a genreless entertainment channel known as The National Network (otherwise later known as "The New TNN", even after it ceased to be "new"), with a focus on off-network reruns in an attempt to compete with the USA Network. TNN would become the male-centric SpikeTV in 2003, and after fifteen years, the network was relaunched once more as Paramount Network.
- Ironically, CMT also drifted towards programming with little if any connection to country music. In something of a double decay, CMT in 2007 began drifting away from that, showing reruns of shows such as Hogan Knows Best and Nanny 911 and movies with little-to-no relation to country music. Even Time Warner Cable noticed, suing Viacom for not airing a network consisting of mainly country programming. Viacom responded with corporate buzzspeak about how country fans prefer "a greater variety of programming" with "the same types of values and stories embodied by country music".
- CMT would slid back though. In addition to still showing more videos than any other basic-cable music channel at the time, CMT found something of a niche with Deep South-flavored programming — The Dukes of Hazzard reruns and a country-specific reboot of The Singing Bee, to name a few examples. Meanwhile, sister channel CMT Pure Country (originally VH-1 Country and renamed CMT Music in 2016) is still entirely video-focused, even showing videos from the '80's and '90's.
- CMT went as far as bringing back Nashville for two more seasons after it was cancelled by ABC. But sadly, that was as far as they got before the network was left out of Viacom's 2017 turnaround plan. Through CMT still produces programs related to country music and related lifestyle fare, its acquired slate would devolve into generic sitcoms and movies, while its music video blocks were cut back to accommodate this shift.
- CMT Canada started as NCN (New Country Network), which was originally intended to be a Canadian expy of CMT before re-branding as its official Canadian version.note Even as MuchMusic was beginning to dramatically cut its music programming, it was still maintaining a good amount of music content in its lineup, with daytime devoted to music videos, as well as the weekly top 20 countdown, and occasional original concert specials. However, much like its U.S. counterpart, it soon began to chip away at its music programming. Unlike its American counterpart, CMT Canada's original programming was generic family-targeting fare that had nothing to do with Canadian country music. The evening lineup would also eventually become unrelated sitcoms and reality shows. While shows like The Dukes of Hazzard and Reba could get by on the fact that they can be tied to the overall country music culture (and the latter starred a country singer to begin with), other shows don't have the excuse. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was even airing on CMT at the time its Canadian counterpart started airing it.
- After Shaw Media was subsumed into Corus in 2016, CMT began to throw in TruTV, HGTV, and DIY Network shows in primetime. On the bright side, soon after it premiered in the U.S, CMT Canada also began airing Nashville's fifth season...in reruns; new episodes were airing on W Network.
- In late-August 2017, CMT abruptly dropped all of its country music video programming for the new season. The network's schedule is now dominated by sitcom repeats, with a Labour Day weekend filled almost entirely with a marathon of Will & Grace, on top of numerous programs already seen on Corus' sibling networks (including M*A*S*H, a mainstay of sister channel History Canada. note ). Unsurprisingly, the Canadian country music industry, as well as fans, are NOT taking this well, especially after what happened to other music networks in the country. In the interest of deregulation, the CRTC has been in the process of removing much of the genre restriction and programming rules that kept Canadian specialty channels from going off the rails like this, and replacing them with generic terms that apply to all channels instead. The CRTC did keep a license condition requiring Corus to use a percentage of CMT's revenue to fund Canadian country music videos, but amended it to no longer require that they be for country songs.
- Logo launched in 2005 with a mission to show LGBT-themed programming. Initially relying on a library of LGBT-themed films and Viacom-owned TV programs, the channel began creating or airing original content like Noah's Arc and some reality programming. Its breakout series, Ru Pauls Drag Race, debuted in 2009. Original programming began giving way to larger and larger blocks of syndicated reruns. After it started winning Emmys, Viacom moved Drag Race to its higher profile network VH 1 and Logo now shows little but blocks of sitcoms from the 1970s onward which vary from having a handful of episodes dealing with gay themes and characters to having no gay content whatsoever.
- Speed was formerly known as Speedvision, and aired a much wider variety of programming back in the day, including documentaries and series about classic cars, automakers and racing teams, occasional Barret-Jackson auctions, coverage of various professional racing leagues (including Formula One, along with the SCCA World Challenge, which it even sponsored for a period), and others. In 2001, Fox bought a majority stake in Speedvision. Under Fox ownership, it was re-launched as Speed, but in reality, it had slowly morphed into what was effectively the NASCAR Network (Fox had later acquired the association's new unified television contract for the first half of the season in the Winston Cup and Busch Series, and then bought out ESPN's rights to the Truck Series). By the late 2000's, it had wiped out all of its automotive programming in favor of endless tuner reality competitions, and reruns of Pimp My Ride among other low-bar shows. By 2011, about 75% of Speed's lineup was devoted to NASCAR-related programming, including qualifying, practice sessions, and the full Truck Series season. They still aired other series (most notably the Rolex Sports Car Series and American Le Mans Series, which merged in 2014 to form the Tudor United SportsCar Championship), but they were often punted into obscure time slots, or as counter-programming for NASCAR broadcasts on other networks. They even aired luge and bobsled events as filler over the winter months, but there was some NASCAR Character Overlap thanks to Geoff Bodine (who also builds bobsleds).
In late 2012, signs began pointing towards total abandonment: they lost Formula One to NBC Sports Network, and rumors began swirling that Fox was planning to re-launch Speed as a mainstream sports network, which was something that Fox, surprisingly, didn't have yet. note On March 5, 2013, Fox officially unveiled Fox Sports 1, set for a launch on August 17, 2013, but not before Speed signed off at 6 A.M. with a sobering farewell speech. FS1 continues to air NASCAR programming, having added Xfinity Series and Cup Series races for the first half of the season beginning in 2015. Prior to this, only the All-Star Race and Duels in Daytona were on Speed; FX had aired races under the 2001-06 TV deal, and all Sprint Cup races aired on Fox for the time being).
- But for extra Total Abandonment points, Fox Sports 1 cancelled Speed Center and the long-running Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, both of which still contained some coverage of non-NASCAR racing series. Ironically, NASCAR Race Hub was initially moved from 6pm to either 4:30 or noon depending on the day of the week (and sometimes a third separate timeslot, which made DVRs a must for anyone who wanted to watch during this period) and shrunk to a half-hour, while NASCAR Raceday, the pre-pre-race show that dates all the way back to 2001 and is now on its second Channel Hop (the first being to Speed from Fox Sports Net), was also cut in half, to one hour - but still kept in its traditional 10am Sunday start time (excluding night races), to the confusion of many. However, within one month Race Hub was back to one hour, and within nine months was firmly planted at 5pm,note while Raceday regained its second hour during Summer 2014 (although it shed said hour again at the beginning of 2015, excluding the Daytona 500). One major cause seems to be the lack of ratings life for anything except motorsportsnote , UFC and Major League Baseball, the only things consistently able to draw above 100,000 viewers. The four highest-rated programs in FS1's first year were the three non-points NASCAR Sprint Cup races and an impromptu broadcast of the rain-delayed Bristol race (approximately tripling the usual MLB ratings).
- In Canada and several other international North American markets, FS 1 did not replace Speed. It would be impossible to get FS 1 approved in Canada as major conglomerates don't take kindly to foreign networks trying to tread on the turf of established equivalents, plus, the rights to the remainder of its properties are held by said conglomerates. Thus, Speed was silently replaced by an international version that airs live and repeat airings of FS 1 and FS 2's motorsports events, but is otherwise an automated zombie loop of old Speed reality shows. This feed was re-branded as Fox Sports Racing on February 20, 2015, but with no changes to its programming. A number of major Canadian providers began to drop the network in 2015 (though the rebranding also coincided with its return to Rogers Cable as a "new" network).
- Fuel TV was known as one of the lowest-viewed channels on cable television because of their heavy reliance on extreme sports, like surfing and skateboarding, which are usually best experienced outside. They stuck to their mission even with the low ratings and limited distribution, and even their few original comedy shows were based around extreme sports.
In 2012 the network became the official cable home of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Mixed martial arts were considered to be a niche extreme sport at the time, and the sport's rise helped draw Fuel out of the Nielsen basement. The UFC and Speed reality shows would took over as contracts with Fuel TV's program providers ran out. Fuel was eventually re-branded as Fox Sports 2, following the relaunch of Speed. The UFC moved to Fox Sports 1, and Fox Sports 2 was expected to air sport events that don't quite fit on FS1.
- These events would include rugby, Australian rules football and, ironically enough, some of the remaining non-NASCAR racing series from Speed, such as Lucas Oil Off-Road and the Rolex Sports Car Series. Interestingly, Fox Sports decided to re-up for a five year deal with the United Sports Car Championship, a merger between the Rolex cars and the American Le Mans Series set to launch in 2014.
- Fox Soccer started as Fox Sports World, which aired a variety of sports from around the world, including motorsports (remember, this was before they bought Speed), rugby, cricket, etc. Then, it eroded into just soccer, prompting the rebranding. However, with the death of Setanta Sports due to the Irish debt crisis, FSC started up a Spin-Off network called Fox Soccer Plus, and added rugby, cricket, and eventually (after a stint on ESPN) Aussie football to that network's schedule, which quelled this for a time.
This would not last either, as shortly after they lost the rights to the airing English Premier League to NBC (taking much of its soccer programming with it), Fox announced that in March 2013, it would be launching a new spinoff of FX known as FXX. Without a doubt, it replaced Fox Soccer, while the remaining soccer programming moved to Fox Sports 1 & 2 depending on prominence. Fox Soccer Plus remains in the air though, airing soccer that isn't prominent to air on the new Fox Sports channels (rumors have swirled that it'll be rebranded as Fox Sports 3). Fox Soccer News, the soccer news show that the Canadian channel Sportsnet produced for the network, got replaced with an in-house soccer show on FS1 after its launch which few of FSC's viewers believed would last a few months (while Sportsnet re-launched the program as Soccer Central with its own branding); they were proven right as it went on a never to return hiatus once the NFL playoffs began and when FS 1 and FS 2 got the rights to the video simulcast of Mike Francesa's afternoon radio show (formerly on the nationally-limited YES Network, which Fox bought a majority-stake in back in 2012)).
FXX's launch featured a final Fox Sports 1 promo, followed by footage of a soccer game being interrupted by that scene from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia where a couch gives birth to Frank Reynolds. It Makes Sense in Context. Ironically, soccer would briefly return to the network on July 15, 2017, when the United States' last group stage match in the CONCACAF Gold Cup was relegated to the network due to conflicts with Fox and FS 1. While it could have theoretically been put on FS 2, it is not available in as many households as FXX or FS 1, and Fox likely did not want to put a U.S. men's national team match on a lesser-viewed channel designed primarily for niche events and lower-tier overflow.
- Bravo originally focused on independent cinema and the arts; for example, it was the U.S. outlet for Cirque du Soleil specials/shows for years. They also featured what they termed "TV too good for TV": reruns of past artsy cult-favorite shows like Twin Peaks and Max Headroom shown unedited and free of commercial interruption. Original owners Rainbow Media (also the owner of AMC and IFC, which is a spin-off of Bravo) sold the channel to minority partner NBC in 2002, who originally intended to retool it into a no-genre entertainment channel not unlike TBS, TNT, and eventual corporate sibling USA Network. Around 2004, it began a switch over to a pop-culture/occupational reality show format in the wake of hits like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, with occasional stragglers like Inside the Actors' Studio still inexplicably present (though in 2019, it's moving to Ovation, and James Lipton is retiring). They've also shown Law & Order: Criminal Intent and House reruns, which are contrary to their reality programming, and built a whole franchise out of The Real Housewives in The New '10s.
- The Canadian version of Bravo was also oriented towards arts and culture-related programming, and also aired independently produced short films from Canadian artists financed through the channel's Bravo!Fact fund. By the late 2000's, it began to shift away from the arts and culture programming (besides Inside the Actors' Studio), but rather than going in a camp direction, it decided to turn into a drama-oriented entertainment channel. Bravo would pick up top-rated series such as Mad Men, pad its schedule with re-runs of CTV and CHUM dramas, and acquire the obligatory syndicated crime drama (Criminal Minds, in this case). This shift was even more pronounced under its current owners at Bell Media, who would later introduce an entirely new logo for the channel. In 2018, Bell Media announced they would do away with the Bravo name entirely and relaunch the channel as CTV Drama.
- E! Entertainment Television originally showed movie previews, soap opera and talk show recap programs, and many making-of documentaries and specials that covered everything from theater to animation, serving as a sort of MTV for movie and TV buffs. It eventually became all about celebrity news (i.e. gossip) and True Hollywood Stories. Then it started airing all sorts of non-celebrity-related reality programs. With shows like The Girls Next Door, Keeping Up With the Kardashians (and its many spinoffs) and two shows by bawdy comic Chelsea Handlernote , it comes as no surprise that in some commercials (and even The Soup) E! openly acknowledges itself as a guilty pleasure channel.
- E!'s sister network, Style, launched as a network which stuck on two popular things in E!'s late-1990s scheduling their fashion and design coverage and when it launched it showed mostly runway shows and interior design programs designed to show off the current "styles" of a time period. This decayed into very generic reality programming (in order to not outshine sister network Oxygen) and Sex and the City reruns. In fall of 2013, it was abruptly replaced with the metrosexual-themed Esquire Network, a fate that was supposed to fall on G4TV.
- G4, a television network that initially focused on videogames and geek culture. Despite featuring a slew of shows that are well-thought-of today, the network struggled from the beginning, with the ratings that were brought in failing to please the network executives. This wasn't helped by the fact that few networks wanted to carry G4 apart from their owner, Comcast. To solve the problem Comcast used its deep pockets to buy out independent channel Tech TV, a popular computer enthusiast network with better ratings, and merged them into one channel, G4TechTV. This is where many would cite as when the roots of decay took hold, as the "merger" itself resulted in the jettison of almost all of the existing TechTV staff and programs in the process. The new name itself only lasted a year before the channel dropped all pretense and reverted to the G4TV name.
The decay only grew from there, as G4 then underwent a retool into a "geeky" male-oriented channel under then-new president Neal Tiles. G4TV's lineup was a cross between male-targeting shows (C.O.P.S., Japanese game shows such as Ninja Warrior and Unbeatable Banzuke) and sci-fi/fantasy/comic-book-related shows Star Trek, LOST, and Heroes, yet actual programs related to both channel's original formats (video games and technology) were drawn down. At this point, the only shows left on the network that were relevant to either channel's former demographics were X-Play and Attack of the Show!, both of which dated back to TechTV. Outside of these shows, and to put in perspective of how little anyone else thought of G4 as the years went by, the premiere of Proving Ground got 31,000 viewers, while the UFC passed by the opportunity to own G4 for their own network for a deal with Fox..
DirecTV found so little to value in the network that they dropped it, which they almost never do in comparison with Dish Network. With the departure of network veterans and hosts of the few remaining gaming and technology shows, Adam Sessler (co-host of X-Play) and Kevin Pierera (host of Attack of the Show!), and the subsequent cancellation of both ''X-Play'' and ''Attack Of The Show'' by the end of 2012, the channel's death was seemingly imminent.
Plans were made to re-launch G4 as Esquire Network, but on September 9, 2013, NBC changed their minds and announced it would replace Style Network instead. The reason? Style was carried on more cable systems than G4, most critically DirecTV. G4, meanwhile, was pulled from Comcast's own cable lineup in January 2014; every other remaining major provider removed it about the same time. The end finally came at 11:59 PM Eastern time on December 31, 2014, when AT&T U-verse and the few remaining small cable providers that still had G4 dropped the network, almost a full two years from when it was originally supposed to end.
- As an epilogue: In December 2016, Esquire ended up losing the DirecTV carriage anyways (as well as virtually every other cable provider besides FiOS). This was as a direct result of Esquire Network's own decay. Esquire's initial lineup of retro shows and "upscale" reality programming brought in such little viewership that, in a desperate attempt to gain traction, the network degraded into yet another dumping ground for crime drama repeats. Esquire Network fell victim to the new common reasoning for dropping repeat-heavy channels: that the repeats on that channel are also on Netflix, Hulu, and an assortment of other networks (in Esquire's case, its sibling networks), making it pointless to keep. In 2017, Comcast finally threw their hands up in the air and discontinued Esquire Network, with plans to shift its content to an online-exclusive model. This eventually turned out to be NBC and Hearst letting viewers down easy; as of 2018, Esquire's 'video' channel basically is the same 'behind the scenes' videos of magazine shoots and food videos most magazines of its ilk have.
- Surprisingly, G4's Canadian counterpart outlived its parent by over two years before the plug was pulled. It too slipped so far that the CRTC informed its owner, Rogers, that the network was deviating too heavily from its purpose, which was to air technology-related programming. Rogers tried to have the nature of service changed, citing that most people now get their technology news from digital outlets, all while drifting between [adult swim] shows and OLN repeats. The network lost X-Play and Attack of the Show from the G4 mothership and had not produced any tech-centric content of its own since 2006. the only original programs aired by G4 Canada were EP Daily (formerly The Electric Playground) and its Spin-Off Reviews on the Run (two long-running, Canadian-produced video gaming/entertainment shows that channel hopped to Citytv and G4 from A-Channel and Space). Not to mention, it was still re-running episodes of Call for Help and The Lab with Leo LaPorte that talked about Windows XP and the original iPod as "current technology", with most tips and calls being only pertinent to a grandmother that refuses to switch out the Dell Dimension she bought in 2003.
Aside from those, the channel fulfilled its "technology" mandate by airing old History Channel shows about military technology (Tactical to Practical and Man, Moment, Machine), and the British programs Bang Goes The Theory and Rude Tube (the latter is sort of of a Transatlantic Equivalent of the aforementioned Web Soup). Then EP Daily and Reviews on the Run got cancelled as they shifted entirely to digital, and the network largely became a dumping ground for City and OLN reruns (as well as, ironically, the aforementioned Campus PD). Despite the fact that the CRTC was mass-deregulating channels and could have, theoretically, broken away from the tech mandate once and for all, Rogers decided to pull the plug on August 31, 2017.
- NBCSN, formerly Versus and originally the Outdoor Life Network (licensed from a magazine of the same name), originally focused on outdoorsy stuff like hunting and fishing. Then their annual coverage of the Tour de France became popular, due to Lance Armstrong's utter dominance at the Tour. They then acquired the rights to the NHL which, unless they were playing a hockey game outside, didn't fit the channel's format. Around the same time, they started to focus on extreme sports and college sports (although stuck with only covering lower-tier games from conferences in the western half of the country despite being based out of Philadelphia - because the Worldwide Leader got almost everything else - and out of New England prior to that), resulting in a name change to "Versus". In 2012, following Comcast's purchase of NBC and the subsumption of Versus and sister network Golf Channel into the NBC Sports division, Versus was rebranded as the NBC Sports Network (later shortened to NBCSN) to become a 24 hour cable extension of NBC Sports, and perhaps to directly compete with ESPN. Low-brow programming such as Groin Attack clip shows and Sports Soup was abandoned the moment NBC took over.
The rebranding does have positive aspects. Once neglected and obscure sports like hockey and the mixed martial arts have received much better exposure and viewership since they aired on the network, with the UFC being able to get a lucrative deal with Fox as a result. NBC's handling of Soccer, and especially the English Premier League (which is aired by NBCSN among other channels), has received universal praise, while its acquisition of Formula One kept the better parts of Fox's coverage (including their commentators). NBCSN has also been used to broadcast a larger amount of live Olympic coverage; considering NBC's previous tendencies to broadcast events Live but Delayed, fans had approval for the decision. It may even be a case of NBC's sports coverage Growing the Beard as a whole. Back when the main network was the only place NBC put its sports broadcasts, they were infamous for giving little to no promotion for sports that weren't the Olympics or the NFL - in other words, they wouldn't promote the sports that really needed it - and overloading those broadcasts with too many commercial breaksnote
- The network still devotes a good portion of its channel space for outdoor programing; much of the outdoor programming on weekdays is brokered (meaning the producer pays NBCSN for the time and they get revenue, whether 8 or 80,000 viewers watch). This still snarls the channel's attempts to get studio programming off the ground; it may have been a big culprit in the demise of the network's attempt at an early-morning highlight show, "The 'Lights". NBCSN is in no hurry to remove the programming in bulk unless each individual show somehow runs into some kind of political buzzsaw or another, since they don't have to program that time slot. In any case, even if an NBCSN outdoors show gets cancelled, other outdoors networks now exist with much better quality controls than they had even five years ago, and the only issue is finding where your favorite hunting show hopped to.
- Oxygen was once the anti-Lifetime, airing shows revolving around making women better, Xena: Warrior Princess and Roseanne reruns, and programming about yoga and improving yourself, along with women's sports. By the time NBC bought the channel in 2007, the original partners had long left, and the new management decided programming which exploited women such as the Bad Girls Club (which itself has long abandoned any attempts at reforming their subjects), Snapped (profiles about women killers which edge uncomfortably close to idolization) and multiple shows revolving around Tori Spelling's love life would do better. Some argue that the decay began as early as 2004 when, for around a year, Oxygen devoted late nights to the next rung below softcore porn (and Bowdlerised Canadian softcore porn) and a QVC-like block devoted to sex toys.
- Between the shuttering of Cloo, Style Network being replaced with the Esquire Network, and NBCU putting all their focus on E! and Bravo, Oxygen would slowly narrow its focus towards crime programming which, to be fair, is very popular with female viewers. Owing to the ratings gained from their weekend true crime block (and endless reruns of ''Snapped'', which ended up surpassing Bad Girls Club to become Oxygen's longest-running series), NBCUniversal announced that Oxygen was becoming a true crime channel in summer 2017, with a revival of TNT's Cold Justice being among the first programs under the new format. One on hand, Oxygen has become yet another crime drama repeat network, making the same mistake as Esquire Network by running shows that, on top of being available online in some form, are staples of USA Network's lineup. On the other hand, the reviled Bad Girls Club has been in limbo because of the format change, and Oxygen was more widely carried than Cloo.
- Cloo (known prior to 2011 as Sleuth) supposedly should have been devoted fully to crime drama reruns from the deep reservoir of Universal's vaults, but by the end was more known as the "USA Network Annex". Its programming consisted of programs already rerunning or original series from USA Network, with the only Universal shows seen being the ubiquitous SVU and Criminal Intent; those Universal crime drama reruns are seen on Cozi TV these days. In the summer of 2016, the head of NBC's cable division effectively gave the network its death sentence, as 'skinny bundles' came into vogue and rerun-only networks became verboten with the new age of Internet television providers who aren't willing to carry them. Dish Network and many other providers were dropping the network over the years, because its rerun-centric nature made it pointless when its programming can already be seen on other networks and online. Thus, Cloo ended their run quietly on February 1, 2017.
- Syfy UK shows some heavily-promoted proper science fiction series, but mostly they construct their schedule from a mix of documentaries on the supernatural/occult/alien abduction, kung fu movies, MMA, action series (such as Human Target), frequent Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, disaster movies, monster movies, sword-and-sandal flicks, medieval adventure movies (First Knight and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves?), all kinds of fantasy, and quirky dramas like Eli Stone. They also followed the American network's trend with the announcement that they will be showing the MMA promotion BAMMA.
- Originally created to air USA and Bravo's programming in HD before mainstream networks got 24/7 HD simulcast networks, Universal HD ultimately found itself wandering in the wilderness. Outside of airing Saturday night encores of WWE's weekly shows, remastered HD versions of Charlie's Angels and T.J. Hooker, and plenty of HD Universal Studios films, the network seemed to be the home of the worst network drama flops of the 2000s, which can count their episodes in the single to ten digits, by virtue of them solely being HD and cheap to buy because of their lack of success. As of June 2012, it had a habit of overairing episodes of the long-canceled (and failed in syndication) The Unit that went beyond Adored by the Network. Since the late-2015 shutdown of the Universal Sports channel (it was owned by InterMedia Partners, but NBC had a minority stake) and NBC Sports' assumption of its programming rights, the channel began to squeeze in sports broadcasts (mainly Olympic sports that are otherwise niche to the U.S. audience) as overflow for NBCSN into its daily marathons of House and White Collar. It turned out to be a hint towards the network's fate: on July 14, 2017, Universal HD was shut down in preparation for the launch of its replacement, Olympic Channel, the next day.
- When U.S. television changed over to digital broadcasting, several NBC affiliates used a subchannel for NBC's "Nonstop" (e.g., "NBC Philadelphia Nonstop") brand. The programming consisted of news, public affairs, lifestyle and entertainment shows, much of it locally produced. As of December 20, 2012, it has become "Cozi TV", and now features such oldies as The Lone Ranger, Make Room for Daddy and The Real McCoys, many of which are sourced from the NBC Universal Television Distribution library. Some stations do produce a "(Insert city/region name here) Nightly News" broadcast at 7pm, and were kept from Nonstop to Cozi.
- Chiller didn't really decay. The sad reality was that Netflix, Hulu and Amazon (and their more liberal content standards) pretty much made the 'horror movies with DRTV commercials in-between' model unsustainable. After absorbing FearNet it seemed to take the "auto-pilot" mode of decay, where little new stuff was made exclusively for the channel, and it became a neglected channel. The Babadook had the last scream on the network a minute before the end of 2017, as the last film aired on the network.
- Pat Robertson launched the CBN Satellite Service, a cable arm of his ministry, the Christian Broadcasting Network, in 1977. It gradually began to add more and more sitcom reruns, general entertainment, game shows, and other non-religious programming to its lineup throughout The '80s in a bid to make it onto basic cable lineups outside of the Bible Belt. As the ratio of religious to non-religious programming shifted, it became the CBN Family Channel, then the Family Channel, before being bought out by Fox and Saban Entertainment in 1997— rebranded to Fox Family Channel the year after— to serve as a cable sibling to Fox Kids. Fox Family floundered for a bunch of reasons and was sold, along with Fox Kids and Saban, to Disney in 2001, which wanted to rename the channel to "XYZ" to remarket it to a different audience by repurposing ABC shows. However, due to cable company contracts, they did not do so, instead renaming it to ABC Family.
Despite the network still retaining the family name, the station's shift to shows like Greek, Make It or Break It, Kyle XY, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager following Disney's acquisition was an indicator that ABC Family wasn't really all that family-oriented anymore. Outside of its weekend movie blocks, it transformed into a basic cable version of the former WB network. When you actually air a movie called Satan's School for Girls and a show like Slacker Cats on a channel with the word "family" in it, you are very much "a different kind of family"!note
A grand irony to all of this is that Pat Robertson is one of the Moral Guardians who objects to the Harry Potter series, yet the network was a long-time owner of the US broadcasting rights to the Harry Potter films and aired Potter marathons constantly until losing the rights to NBC. The 700 Club (required in the original contract with Pat Robertson) and a Sunday morning/late night Infomercial block filled with megachurch pastors were the only things left hinting at ABC Family's roots as a religious channel, and even then they were buried at 11:00 PM with a content warning containing an unequivocal "does not reflect the views of ABC Family" due to Robertson's laundry list of controversial statements and positions.note They weren't even mentioned at all on the channel's website; you'll have to go to the CBN website for that. The only reason the network retained the religious programming block is that they were contractually obligated to - during the original sale of the network, a clause was put into the sale contract requiring not only that the CBN programming block be retained permanently, but that putting the same clause protecting the CBN block would need to be included in any future sales or transfers of the network.
- The network eventually rebranded itself as Freeform in 2016, with a new focus on Millennials. Management also clarified that a commonly-heard rumor that the network was contractually forbidden from removing the word "Family" from its name without major repercussions was just an urban legend. As for the religious programming, it still remains on the network, but with the added ignominy of Freeform airing it at an even later timeslot.note
At this point though, the Freeform scheduling and promotions department has pretty much lost their last care about the 700 Club. Disclaimers before and after the show have taken a sarcastic tone, and now remind viewers that Pat Robertson has zero control of Freeform's app, VOD and Hulu platforms, and they don't mind if you go there to get your fix of The Bold Type during that time period, while "The Old Type" Pat goes on about whatever he's angry about tonight.
- The network eventually rebranded itself as Freeform in 2016, with a new focus on Millennials. Management also clarified that a commonly-heard rumor that the network was contractually forbidden from removing the word "Family" from its name without major repercussions was just an urban legend. As for the religious programming, it still remains on the network, but with the added ignominy of Freeform airing it at an even later timeslot.note
- Disney Channel originally had a lineup of Walt-era Disney movies, cartoons, and TV shows, combined with original documentaries about the company's various projects, a lot of interesting imported shows (especially from Canada), and such programming for adults as A Prairie Home Companion. As it lost ground to Nickelodeon in The '90s, and as Disney itself began to expand from a studio into a multimedia company, the channel started to focus more and more on kids. It shoved most of the vintage programs aside, interspersing about three hours of cartoons at 1:00 AM with hours and hours of tween-centered programs and... Boy Band concerts? note The channel abandoned Vault Disney, The Ink and Paint Club, and most other broadcasts of classic Disney cartoons and shows in order to focus on the teenage demographic, with most of their shows featuring an actor/(idol) singer/songwriter/dancer.
Disney Channel's tween pop focus, which began with the then-popular Hannah Montana and High School Musical franchises, seemed to have overrun The Walt Disney Company as a whole throughout the mid-to-late 2000s. Despite their acquisition of Pixar in 2006, the company's reputation was questioned by fans. Luckily for them, starting with the release of the traditionally-animated The Princess and the Frog in 2009, everything in the company returned to their studio roots. Doesn't stop Disney's branded cable networks from catering exclusively to tweens and preschoolers, though.
- It's worth noting, as far as The Nineties Kids are concerned, after Disney Channel's shift from premium to basic cable and their shift towards the teen demographic, their tween-targeted shows initially focused around family, friends, sports, and outdoor activities, with shows like The Famous Jett Jackson, The Jersey, various sports-themed movies and more, under the Zoog Disney block. Lizzie McGuire may have paved the way for Hilary Duff's Idol Singer status, but even then it was a Slice of Life show not focused on her career itself. Then, with the success of Hannah Montana and High School Musical, the channel's focus would slowly shift to sitcoms about getting fame, with each of them being used as a music vehicle for their stars. The ones that didn't focus on that were or became either far more hokier, or had recycled their premises from older shows.
- With the success of Elena of Avalor, coupled with Disney XD becoming more popular with girls due to their heavy animation focus, Disney Channel has recently been trying to bring more animation back on their schedule. The channel has aired weekend morning and weekday afternoon blocks entirely comprised of animated shows (mainly ones based on Disney movie-based properties), but most importantly, they began premiering new non-preschool-oriented animated series such as Tangled: The Series and Big City Greens. It was even decided that Star vs. the Forces of Evil's fourth season would air on Disney Channel instead of Disney XD, while Gravity Falls reruns are now plentiful on Disney Channel itself, complete with promos for it that state that they're moving back there.
- To the annoyance of some its viewers, the Southeast Asian feed of Disney Channel has placed more focus on Malaysian and Singapore-based programming over shows from the channel its named after. Even those who disliked Disney Channel's direction loathed some of these productions for being too cheep or low-brow even by their standards. On top of this, several other shows on the feed, Disney or non-Disney, were bowdlerized.
- Toon Disney started out as the Alternate Company Equivalent to Cartoon Network, airing animated shows from the Disney archive (and some that they had acquired, mostly from DiC Entertainment) and classic Disney shorts. It would end up becoming an arch-rival to Cartoon Network's Boomerang upon its launch in 2000. A couple years later, Toon Disney underwent a major revamp, opting to air original, modern programming rather than endless repeats of older shows. All of the classic Disney shorts, as well as a majority of the DiC shows (including Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, which was a notable staple on Toon Disney since its 1998 launch), were dropped from the channel, and shows that were originally on the One Saturday Morning block took their place. A year later, they started airing a growing number of non-Disney cartoons (including some from their arch-rival, Warner Bros.), and introduced Jetix , a block which featured shows like Power Rangers, Digimon, The Tick, and Jackie Chan Adventures. Jetix also aired on ABC Family, but would take a growing chunk of Toon Disney's airtime as the years went by, especially after ABC Family discontinued their broadcast of the block. Eventually, live-action shows and movies started appearing on the network, mirroring Cartoon Network's decay. Finally, in 2009, Toon Disney was relaunched as Disney XD — the Spear Counterpart to the increasingly female-focused Disney Channel. In other words, it finally became Jetix in all but name in the process, dropping a significant portion of its remaining animated content to cram in episodes of Disney's tween-boy sitcoms, like The Suite Life, and produce even more of such shows.
- You could say that all of this could had been avoided in the first place if Fox Family Worldwide (including Fox Kids, Fox Family Channel, and Saban Entertainment) wasn't acquired by Disney, who would introduce the Jetix branding to, eventually, replace all Fox Kids-branded outlets worldwide. But it had to be done; Fox Kids saw its ratings decline over the years, prompting Fox to sell Fox Family and lease out its Saturday morning block.
- Ironically, in the years since Disney's purchase of Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm, Disney XD would start a process of relapse. Disney XD would slowly begin producing, airing, and acquiring more animated series, to the point that live-action programming is currently in the minority.
- In some other countries, it was common for Jetix to be introduced as a programming block on a network, regardless of that network's format, only for the block to eventually swallow the network whole. Ironically, this never happened to ABC Family or Toon Disney in the United States. At worst, Jetix would be Toon Disney's equivalent to Toonami on weeknights, if it became a late-night network like [adult swim]. As noted before, however, Jetix's presence on the channel, and the decay it brought, continually grew after ABC Family dropped the block. After Toon Disney became Disney XD, Jetix networks worldwide would later adopt the same branding or be shut down entirely.
- In Latin America, the local version of Fox Kids (which was its own channel) ecame Jetix in 2004. Although at the beginning most of Fox Kids' programming (which included popular anime series like ´Patlabor) was maintained, they were soon dropped in favor of The Fairly OddParents! reruns (the series was initially acquired for the region by Disney), and shows like Dinosaur King. By the time it became Disney XD in 2009 , Fairly OddParents would be aired up to 15 times a day, while Pucca and Dinosaur King aired an additional 8 times a day each. Fortunately, the channel would, eventually, add more variety to it schedule.
- In Eastern Europe, when Fox Kids became Jetix, they would gradually dump most of the Fox original cartoons, while retaining Disney originals, anime series, and even a few original shows, such as Galactik Football. But by late 2009, instead of becoming Disney XD, it mutated into the Disney Channel, dumping action shows for regular Disney Channel fare.
- Australia had the Jetix programming block on the Seven Network for a short time, but it vanished just as quietly as it emerged.
- Family Channel (who has a long history with Disney Channel) would launch Jetix as a replacement for their "Power Box" block for the next three years in 2006. But with its Invisible Advertising, an improbable timeslot of 6:00 am on weekend mornings, and its eventual degradation due to a lack of content, not many people took notice.
- ESPNEWS was created specifically so you could get scores and highlights in a half-hour (or much less if you just looked at the much more detailed ticker). After its ticker was replaced with the regular ESPN ticker, it became SportsCenter 24/7. Eventually, the only true ESPNEWS programming left was the Highlight Express deep in late night, with the rest of the day filled with talking-head show repeats, ESPN Radio simulcasts, and overflow sports like softball and the NASCAR Nationwide Series note . In June 2013, ''Highlight Express'' was canceled, leaving an overnight show about soccer (ESPN FC Press Pass) the only program produced solely for the network. And then ESPN decided to replace that soccer show with a new one on ESPN2.
- You have to give it to Disney they're at least honest about knowing when an entire genre is decaying, and have announced that because of both the fading influence of Soap Operas and the fact you can now click over to a network website or flip on your cable on demand service to catch up on a soap anytime rather than waiting to record it Sunday morning at 4:00 AM, SOAPNet was replaced with Disney Junior, the new name for Disney's preschool programming block (formerly Playhouse Disney) in March 2012. Better that they announce the decay now and get everyone prepared than just letting it wither on the vine.
Unfortunately however, it led to the shocking cancellation of both All My Children and One Life to Live under the Brian Frons excuse that without SOAPNet airings, the shows would be too expensive to produce without a cable channel component, a theory which quickly held no water with the soap community. In April 2013 both shows came back online, but under a much-reduced effort that eventually fell apart due to infighting between the new owners and ABC over characters shuffled over to General Hospital to prevent their re-use by the new owners.
Admittedly, though, SOAPNet was always a tenuous project, as anything except Being Erica that wasn't soap or a Gilmore Girls marathon never did well at all for the channel. Outside of soap hours, it was a dumping ground for shows ABC and ABC Family rejected and only picked up to make existing producers happy or stop a format that might do well in another iteration from escaping to another network, or in the case of Greg Berendt, provided a firewall to burn off an ABC primetime show that was ordered before the massive failure of his 2006 daytime talk show; it didn't air until 2009. Also, it was proven over time that there's only a limited amount of interest in old soap episodes from canceled programs nobody's willing to catch up on Ryan's Hope episodes from April 1975, except for unexpected Period Piece curiosity.
Despite the discontinuation announcement and Disney Junior launching in March 2012 however, SOAPNet continued to run on many cable systems which really didn't want to deal with subscriber complaints if they pulled it off (especially from Beverly Hills, 90210 and One Tree Hill fans who depended on it for their daily fix of those shows), with only a few national systems currently carrying Disney Junior because of some factors, including cost for the channel, forced HD carriage, and systems like Dish and DirecTV objecting to carrying a channel which won't have much of an audience past 10pm (Unlike Nick Jr., Disney Junior has few programs with Periphery Demographic appeal, and there's no way Disney would try to re-create [adult swim] with one of their networks for late night). SOAPNet then was programming from that point through ABC Family as a sort-of extension channel and retained much of its programming, along with ABC Family content like Make It or Break It and and the first ever run in syndication of Veronica Mars (for awhile it was carrying viewership taunting weekend marathons of The Chew early in the winter until Brian Frons finally got his desk cleaned out), so it remained in vindication for two years after it was to have ended.
Eventually though, SOAPNet melted away. During the Viacom/DirecTV dispute where the Viacom children's networks were pulled, by mere coincidence, the satellite provider suddenly became interested in carrying Disney Junior and made a deal to launch it on a Saturday morning out of thin air, so SOAPNet's days on DirecTV became numbered. Other providers eventually made deals as tots teased by Sofia the First specials on Disney Channel made their parents plead for the network it aired on, and the rebranded TVGN under CBS ownership (now known as Pop) took the rights for same-day Young and the Restless and Bold and the Beautiful repeats over to their network, assuring a happy ending for those two shows at least; the original 90210 fans also got their show back on TVGN starting Labor Day 2014. Disney eventually announced that it would bury SOAPNet's hatchet at the end of 2013, for real this time, and it ended quietly at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve 2013, showing nothing but black after the credits of its final General Hospital rerun. The final Disney Junior holdout, Dish Network (which was involved in an epically long negotiation with Disney over a myriad of issues, which lead to Dish only airing their channels in Standard Definition) added the network in the spring of 2014.
- A&E ("Arts & Entertainment" and currently owned by Disney and Hearst Corporation) used to show artsy films, documentaries (most notably their flagship series Biography), and British mystery and period dramas aimed at a highbrow (or at least high-middlebrow) adult audience, like a basic-cable version of PBS. (The channel was originally called ARTS — Alpha Repertory Television Service — before merging with the Entertainment Channel in 1984.) However, a regime change in 2002 caused much of that programming to be moved over to the History Channel and the Biography Channel (see more on both below), while A&E itself switched its target audience to the opposite end of the spectrum virtually overnight. Today, it runs reality shows like Storage Wars, Hoarders, and Duck Dynasty, True Crime shows, and reruns and marathons of CSI: Miami. An executive for the channel even joked at one point that it experienced the fastest drop in average demographic age ever, and Cracked did an entire article comparing the post-decay network to Walmart.
- Its Biography Channel spin-off — later known as "Bio" — didn't fare much better once the bio-show craze Biography spearheaded in the late 1990s fizzled out. At one point, they showed reruns of Night Court and NewsRadio in an attempt to be to A&E what Boomerang was to Cartoon Network - these shows having been rerun on A&E in the past. In The New '10s, about two-thirds of the lineup consists of sensational True Crime documentaries and paranormal or crime-related reality shows picked up from the parent network, with some of the paranormal titles having titles such as The Family Who Slays Together, Killer Kids, and Celebrity Ghost Stories. A&E called it quits when, in July 2014, Bio re-launched as the lifestyle network FYI.
- The Latin American feed of A&E, which suffered the exact same decay as their master network (and then some), now claims on their bumps that "A&E" stands for "Acción y Emoción" ("Action and Emotion"). Retronym justification of the decay?
- Once called "The All-Hitler Channel", much of The History Channel's (now called "History") programming now consists of docu-soaps (Ice Road Truckers, Ax Men) and semi-documentaries with some (rather lowbrow) historical content (Pawn Stars and its spinoffs, as well American Pickers) focused on roughnecks or conspiracy theory "documentaries" about aliens, the Bible Code, ghosts, Atlantis, Nostradamus, and the end of the world, earning the network the derisive nickname "The Hysterical Channel". Regarding actual history programming, they air, at best, specials on a few major holidays, and only when their big ratings grabbers like Pawn Stars are on season hiatus. The only other time any actual historical programming shows up is to piggyback of any major upcoming films based on historical events. It makes many older fans long for the "Hitler Channel" days when all of their programming seemed to be about World War II and the Nazis. And then in 2015 they decided to combine the conspiracy theory stuff with Nazis by airing a show claiming that Hitler didn't actually die in Berlin and instead escaped to Argentina.
One big reason for the network's decay is that the Smithsonian Institution, which was one of the go-to organizations for the History Channel in their early days, is now under an exclusive deal with Showtime where they produce programming around Smithsonian exhibits and properties for their exclusive Smithsonian Channel, which is not allowed to decay by design, while Showtime and CBS maintain rights to the institution's film library. Showtime, of course, isn't about to do anything to help its competitor, thus History has to look for other ideas to fill their broadcast day. Perhaps the only reason History didn't start calling themselves "THC" was because of that initialism's drug connotations.
- History International went from a channel focused on world history to a vault channel for old History Channel documentaries. It changed its name to H2, with the slogan "More 2 History", coinciding with a shift to placing many of History's remaining serious programming, like The Universe, on the channel... along with blocks of History's conspiracy and paranormal fare. On February 29th, 2016, A&E replaced H2 with the American version of Viceland, a joint venture with Vice Media.
- Realizing its sheer number of military programmes, including a documentary series on modern-day Canadian fighter pilots, the UK now has a Military History channel spun off from its History Channel. And now it's started some slippage as well, with a regular "Demilitarised Zone" slot where it can repeat the rest of the documentaries that used to be on History back when it wasn't showing Ice Road Truckers. The little known US version of Military History is so far committed to showing all military-themed shows...whether they be WWII, Samurai-themed or biblical figures fighting across Canaan (modern-day Israel).note
- Due to the very emotionally charged political election, a topic we will not argue about here, History Channel had the idea of creating a topical "documentary" about how Nostradamus may have predicted the election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump titled "Nostradamus: Election 2016". They use a few lines of his Quatrains that vaguely relate to the two and their personalities and scandals.
- Animax (supposed to be a 24-hour anime channel operated by Sony Pictures), in its Latin American side, both Brazilian and Spanish-speaking versions, became this:
- The first slip and the most egregious example its cycle of movies appropriately named "Reciclo", since it recycled all the action flicks already worn by repetition in other channels of the Sony group, like AXN. The only remotely anime-related movies shown there were Cowboy Bebop: The Movie and Tokyo Godfathers... and they had repeated Hellboy and The Fifth Element each six weeks or so since its inception. Then they added series such as Lost, Blood Ties, and The Middleman (with the Brazilian side also having infomercials at odd hours), start to rarely promote their anime, such as Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion, and inserted a concert block for Latin American performers. Then in May 2010, the channel announced that it would shift its focus to an overall youth programming, thus warranting its place in Total Abandonment. After that they were still broadcasting 12 hours of anime (13 during weekends). Five months later, anime was only 5 hours, starting at 2 AM. And just five months later (March 2011) they announced a name change that occurred in May - the channel became known as "Sony Spin".
- Before Animax LA was owned by Sony, it had other name, Locomotion. Originally a children oriented channel, it became a youth oriented channel a year later to avoid competition with Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, and shortly after an adult oriented animation channel (it showed things like Æon Flux, The Maxx, The Head, the Prince Valiant movies and Wallace & Gromit shorts, among others). Eventually it evolved into an anime channel (showing more than 10 anime series a day), so it started calling itself "The Anime Channel". The problem is that after a while the amount of anime shown was reduced and there was an increase of western animation programs airing (like Duckman, South Park or The Critic). Eventually, it created an advertisement that said "The good anime, takes time. Anime-station". Watchers were really confused by this, but it turned out they had sold their signal rights to an anime channel. Eventually this lead to the channel being rebranded to Animax.
- As Sony Spin, the channel still aired anime at early morning hours, even airing new series like Nodame Cantabile, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and new episodes of Bleach. This changed in March 2012, when the slot was replaced by live action shows, thus abandoning anime programming completely. The new channel got such lousy ratings that their exclusive live-action series were moved to sister channel Sony Entertainment. Sony Spin became a rerun loop of series such as That '70s Show, Joan of Arcadia, Beverly Hills, 90210, old movies and even a Latin American soap opera. This effectively meant Sony Spin itself entered into a drift status. In 2014, many cable systems began retiring the channel, in some places being replaced by History 2 and in others with the then-debuting Latin version of Lifetime. The channel's official shutdown took place in July 1 of the same year for South America and July 31 for the rest of the countries, ending nearly 18 years of broadcast (since it was launched as Locomotion).
- Animax South Africa followed the same disastrous way as Latin America's and Spain's. Japanese animation is now almost in the minority and are few and far between, as reality shows have taken over the schedule, and was soon closed down to make way for a new channel, Sony Max, which basically airs the same reality shows that aired on Animax South Africa.
- Animax Spain followed the same disastrous way as Latin American's and South Africa's. Japanese animation eventually found in the minority (they only broadcast either very old series like Kochikame or Lupin III, or commercial successes like Inuyasha or Naruto). By 2011, 90% of Animax Spain consisted of low-budget live-action series like Primeval, Samurai Girl, Torchwood and Reaper, or bland, soulless "young adult" TV shows like In The Qbe and Insert Coin. They even have earned the moniker of "Yankeemax" amongst Spanish otakus (similarly, the LA version has been called "Gringomax" by Mexicans and other South American folk). Eventually, all the non-anime programming was moved to other channels, and the channel became a rerun loop of Kochikame and Yakitate!! Japan until its shutdown in 2013.
- Hungary's Animax has also gone down this route. It launched in 2004 under the name A+, and focused almost entirely on Japanese animation with some American cartoons thrown into the mix. Though the ratings weren't bad, and the RTL Group kept the channel alive by supplying their anime dubs, the network's real owners (Chello Central Europe) ignored it. Sony Pictures took ownership of the channel in 2007, and A+ attempted to keep itself up by airing subtitled anime releases, an act which had the effect of drastically lowering their ratings. After Sony rebranded it as Animax, dubbed productions came back and all seemed good. However in 2009, they decided to turn the channel into a general youth entertainment network, and started airing all sorts of American talent shows, scripted live-action series and movies (mostly taken from AXN's showcase), as well as some Japanese ones — at least a few new anime shows still premiered regularly, although the channel lost its Multiple Demographic Appeal as it replaced the bulk of its programming with popular Shonen series. Around 2012, Animax began going bankrupt — the rights to its anime series slowly expired, they broke up their advertising deal, and as Sony considered anime to be the cause of its problems (as opposed to their terrible coverage, mishandled marketing, careless decision-making and often sub-par dubbing work), they've only focused on adding more and more live-action shows and movies to Animax's showcase, and even canceled the long-awaited premieres of several anime series. Essentially, it became AXN's wastebasket, and the handful of Japanese shows that they still held broadcasting rights to were just tired reruns practically begging to be taken off the air. The fact that Animax only aired from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., and about half of that airtime was just reruns anyway, made the situation seem much worse. As expected, the ratings dropped like a rock, and from mid-'12 to early '14, Animax lingered on in rerun-limbo.
The Animax staff vanished from the 'net in October 2012, and their website was taken down a year thereafter. Animax was replaced with a non-anime channel called C8 (also owned by Chello Central Europe) in April 2014, whose bare function was to fill out the late-night timeslot with content taken from Chello's other networks. C8 lasted until January 2018, when Minimax, the channel it had shared a frequency with, became a 24 hour network. In some of the neighboring regions, Animax turned into Sony Spin, an all-round entertainment network whose only notable anime program is Dragon Ball Kai.
- Lone Star was a cable channel that showed nothing but westerns (movies and old TV shows) when it first started in 2001. After several years, it added non-western action movies to its lineup, until they dominated the schedule. In 2008, the station rebranded itself as MovieTime. The American equivalent, Encore Westerns on the other hand hasn't decayed by design, since it's part of the Starz premium package that you pay extra for to get a channel devoted to westerns.
- The cable channel Prime was licensed as a channel aimed at baby boomers, although it downplayed this on-air by acting like a superstation, airing a mixture of classic series (mostly from the 80's and older), home improvement shows, and repeats from Global and CH. Prime began slipping in 2006 when it re-branded as TVTropolis; at the time, Prime had focused more on classic 80's programming since in 2001, Canwest launched a "proper" classic TV channel known as DejaView, which took on much of Prime's 60's and 70's output. TVTropolis was focused on "hit TV" and only aired 90's sitcoms and "pop culture" shows for CanCon, but began slipping further into generic reality shows.
- In August 2013, the channel's new full owner Shaw (Rogers previously owned a stake) abandoned TVTropolis entirely in favor of DTour, which is a so-called "new perspectives" channel. In essence, DTour is Travel Channel with the Serial Numbers Filed Off, because actually calling it a travel-oriented channel would have tipped the CRTC off, since the competing Travel + Escape had exclusive rights to the "travel" niche based on the CRTC's genre protection rules.note They've occasionally aired films too, although the relevance of James Bond films and Police Academy to this network's scope is somewhat questionable at first glance. Outside of Travel Channel shows, it also has a major obsession with Border Security. After the re-launch, the aforementioned DejaView picked up some of the 90's series that had aired on TVTropolis (a sensible move itself, given that even U.S. "retro TV" cable channels had veered towards newer programs lately).
- There was once a cable channel known as Canadian Learning Television (CLT), essentially a Canuck version of TLC back when it still aired educational programming. It aired some syndicated U.S. programming (particularly the current Family Feud) and dramas in its lineup too, but mainly because it was a sister to Alberta's Access (now CTV Two Alberta as of 2012), which had a similar mix of programming. When its owner, CHUM Limited, was sold to CTVglobemedia in 2007, they decided to sell it to Corus Entertainment in 2008. Corus then rebranded it as Viva, a female-oriented lifestyle channel aimed at Baby Boomers, and tried to comply with its educational requirements by shoehorning short segments with university teachers vaguely relating programming to a course they taught. Further change happened in March 2011, when Viva became the Canadian version of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). This even caught the attention of the CRTC, which held hearings in December 2012 concerning OWN Canada's failure to follow its mandate to air educational programming — a stipulation dating back to its time as CLT. However, in October 2015, the CRTC dropped this stipulation and a related monitoring provision, due to the discontinuation of the genre protection rules and other related policies to deregulate the industry.
- There used to be a Canadian version of Discovery Health. Not only did OWN happen, but CTV acquired exclusive Canadian rights to Discovery's program library and brands. This meant that the channel was forced to abandon its previous format; in its place came Twist TV, which promised "everyday people facing extraordinary situations" Translation: reality shows recycled from its other lifestyle networks, including Slice and HGTV, with a few other "exclusive" shows in between. In June 2014, Shaw announced that Twist TV would be re-branded as a Canadian version of the aforementioned FYI.
- Shaw has a similar relationship with A&E Networks as Bell has with Discovery, but the Canadian version of what was replaced in the U.S. by FYI (Biography Channel) was owned by Rogers. For a while, Bio Canada degraded into a dumping ground for Rogers' female-skewed programs. Then, in November 2015, it was announced that the Canadian version of Bio would become the new Viceland channel — which itself replaced H2 in the U.S. Rogers invested in production facilities for Vice in Toronto, while A&E Networks and Disney have equity stakes in Vice.
- The horror channel Scream was owned by a joint venture between Canwest and Corus, and later Shaw and Corus (note that Corus was originally a spin-out of Shaw, but the voting majority is held by the Shaw family. This oddity becomes important in just a few moments). In 2009, it re-branded as Dusk, and slipped to focus more on suspense-driven programming such as Supernatural rather than actual horror, so they could attract a wider audience that wasn't necessarily interested in "blood and guts" horror.
- This re-branding would be short-lived; after stunting with a marathon of the film Ghost on March 22, 2012, the network was shut down and replaced the next day by ABC Spark, the Canadian version of the network then known as ABC Family. Much like the transition from Discovery Kids to Nickelodeon, ABC Spark is legally considered a different channel, but it replaced Dusk on most of its former channel allotments. Apparently, the replacement was intentional: CRTC rules dictate that if a television provider is owned by or "related" to an owner of specialty channels, they must carry three channels owned by third-parties for each first-party channel they carry. Even though they are separate, publicly-traded companies, the Shaw family controls both Shaw and Corus, so the CRTC typically counts them as a single entity. For whatever reason, Shaw did not want to have to add three more third-party networks so it could have Dusk alongside ABC Spark, so it just sacrificed Dusk instead.
Other "Total Abandonment" examples:
- Australian examples are rare because there are so few networks, most of them are owned by the same companies, and the ratings are too small to quibble about (if the most watched programme in Australian pay TV history got 419,000 viewers, how's the How To Channel supposed to gain any?). The only notable example is Fox Kids, which adopted a programming block called Fox Classics (not entirely unlike Nick @ Nite) before the Fox Kids block moved to Fox 8, leaving Fox Classics to absorb the entire network.
- Imparja was created to service indigenous Australians in Central Australia, but, thanks to network aggregation, it is now essentially the Nine Network from Sydney with a couple of breakaway programmes.
- Australia used to have a handful of independent broadcasters (regional/rural broadcasters such as GWN in Western Australia and STW 9 in Perth) but now all are owned by and have exactly the same programming as the five nation-wide metropolitan networks, albeit with local advertising. Only three of the five (4 out of 7 if you include GWN and WIN) networks broadcasting in Western Australia still maintain a Perth newsroom.
- Belgian Network VT4 (now known as VIER). In the 1990's it used to be a Darker and Edgier channel that aired through a U-Turn Construction from London and pretended to be illegal because they found a way not to obey to Belgian law, aiming for the "unserved audience", which is also known as the young adult demographic, but due to the fact that the network never attracted a big audience they started to decline more and more and ended up mainly broadcasting erotic content and not much else. Thankfully in 2002 the network completely changed (mainly thanks to the new leading CEO who became leader in 2001 and wanted to break with its negative image), decided to obey to the Belgian law by putting its headquarters in Brussels and now mainly aims at young families (such as Peking Express). That being said, when the channel changed its name to VIER in 2012 they also introduced more Flemish shows in their programming and less redubbed programming.
- In September 2015, NHL Network shut down. But why does Canada, where it is the national pastime, not need a 24-hour network devoted to hockey? As the major sports channels (including operating partner TSN) already treated hockey as their #1 priority, it was basically redundant. NHL Network was barely-promoted and mainly aired leftover all-U.S. games, studio shows, and the obligatory classic games. The studio programming faced competition from the better-known talent of TSN and Sportsnet. In its 14 years on-air, it also never launched an HD feed—a death sentence for a sports-oriented network, as it was relegated to a portion of program guides that only fans intentionally seeking out the channel would ever find it in.
In 2014, Rogers took over national rights to the NHL in Canada, but TSN kept operating the network ... until Bell finally gave up and laid off the channel's staff just a few weeks after the season wrapped up, resulting in a zombie feed of Stanley Cup encores (which used the U.S. NBC coverage instead of Rogers, for seemingly obvious reasons)note and team documentaries before shutting down entirely. The U.S. version of NHL Network was rebooted by the staff of MLB Network,note which continues to carry live games and studio shows, Sportsnet's national broadcasts from Canada, overflow first-round games in years where there aren't that many series sweeps and even USA Network and CNBC aren't enough to carry all the games, and coverage of Canadian and international tournaments that are considered niche by U.S. standards in regards to hockey (such as the IIHF's U-20 and U-18 championships).
- MuchMoreMusic launched in 1998 as a quirky offshoot of MuchMusic. It generally billed itself to be a Lighter and Softer sister channel, and focused mainly on adult contemporary, indie, and classic music (basically the VH1 to MuchMusic's MTV). It also featured news segments, artist profile shows, and other VH1 shows of the era (i.e. Pop-Up Video, Behind the Music, Rock and Roll Jeopardy!, etc.) After CTV took over, the network slowly became a dumping ground for teen drama reruns and movies that have no connection to music whatsoever — changing its name to MuchMore.
- In 2013, the channel re-launched as M3. Echoing the slippage MuchMusic was undergoing by slowly scaling back its remaining music programming in favor of comedy, the re-branded network stocked the remainder of its lineup with sitcoms and dramas instead. M3's lineup consisted of automated music videos in the morning, followed by shows from its sibling networks and same-week encores of CTV sitcoms and dramas. The only show they didn't steal were reruns of The Mentalist, which quickly became a staple of the network's afternoon programming, while the only remotely music-related programs not produced by the network were encores of Dancing with the Stars and The Voice. Despite these changes, M3 would be increasingly ignored. By 2016, its first-run acquired programming was moved to other Bell channels, and all their original shows were long gone.
- On September 2, 2016, M3 was replaced by Gusto, a food and cooking-oriented network that Bell sort of "acquired". Bell bought rights to its brand and programming from its existing owner and shut down the previous version of the channel, which was under a Category B license and not as widely-carried. By virtue of its precursor's historic status as a must-carry channel, the new Gusto got wider carriage. On June 7, 2018 during the CTV upfronts, it was announced that Gusto would be re-branded as CTV Life, as part of a re-branding of several Bell Media specialty channels under the CTV name.
- Canal Famille was a French-Canadian channel dedicated to showing all-ages programming, that aired live-action shows that were made locally and also imported some from other countries alongside cartoons. When very few new shows were introduced around 2000, the decision was made to rebrand it into Vrak.TV, with the focus shifting to adding more teen-oriented programming and more emphasis on French and US imports, and especially Quebecer productions, but there was still a fair amount of cartoon shows. However, by the 2010s, it was rebranded again into VRAK, modified the programming to also attract the young adult demographic and discarded animated productions entirely.
- Because of the CRTC's genre protection policy, the Canadian OLN channel didn't follow suit when its American counterpart became a sports network (now known as NBCSN) and simply kept both its name and original format. However, with their major source of actual outdoor programming gone, the channel would slowly be reduced to a dumping ground for unrelated reality shows. The most prominent programming on OLN were reruns of Storage Wars and its many spinoffs, which OLN adored so much, they even produced a local version. Ironically, OLN does air occasional sporting events, including the Tour de France, the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. By the time CRTC's new broadcasting rules took effect, the original OLN name had become an Artifact Title. The only regularly airing programs that have anything to do with OLN's original format were reruns of Survivorman and Mantracker.
- Bell Media's lesser-viewed and barely-promoted cable channels are a nasty case of this. Fashion Television Channel was named after the aforementioned Citytv program. Since the show's cancellation, the channel's connection is now In Name Only. Today, FTC is a dumping ground for lifestyle, reality, and drama programs. It also serves as a rerun farm for shows that aired on the now-defunct M3. The only remotely fashion-related program on the channel is Celebrity Style Story (a Cancon filler also used on the Canadian version of E!), and it, ironically, doesn't even carry reruns of its namesake. Even worse, the network's continued existence is simply a license to print money: the CRTC lists it as having no staff of its own, and it has a Category A license which mandated that the channel be offered by all television providers. Hence, Bell makes more money using it as a rerun farm to pad out cable theme pack bundles, than actually making real investments in it. Book Television is in the same boat, and other than airing reruns of MTV programs, MTV2 Canada is an afterthought.
- Travel + Escape, after being purchased by Blue Ant Media, would slowly shift away from airing travelogue programs and eventually became a more generic lifestyle channel. Then in late 2017, T+E would shift to fantasy, horror, and paranormal shows, such as reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files, as well as the obligatory crime drama repeat (in this case, CSI: Miami, which was already airing on sibling channel Makeful). By March 2018, the channel dropped all pretenses of maintaining their original format; T+E now stands for "Totally Entertaining".
- The Canadian channel Country Canada (a joint venture between Corus and CBC, with the latter holding 30% ownership) started off as being devoted to a "rural perspective", featuring agriculture-oriented news/talk programs and reruns of series such as Northern Exposure and All Creatures Great and Small. After CBC acquired Corus's stake in the channel, Country Canada added more reruns of CBC programs, overflow sports programming, and other new/imported series that weren't exactly "rural" (such as Skins). The CBC renamed the channel "Bold" in 2008, and coaxed the CRTC to change its license to say that it aired programming "reflecting Canada's various regions, including Canada's rural and non-urban regions".
- In the wake of budget cuts, CBC sold Bold to Blue Ant Media in 2012. Blue Ant had recently acquired a majority stake in the publisher of a magazine called Cottage Life, with a goal to create companion television networks for its properties. They had already received approval for a new specialty channel based on Cottage Life, but it was widely-expected that Blue Ant was going to use Bold's channel space for Cottage Life instead due to its "non-urban" licencing, and established carriage as a digital must-carry channel. The relaunch occurred in September 2013; the channel is now devoted mainly to outdoors and cooking programming.
- Another French music channel, MCM, began with music related programs, then started adding "cult" anime at night, then mainstream anime in the middle of the day, then MTV-original reality shows, and finally, airing made-for-TV horror movies in their primetime block.
- TV Breizh was lauched as a regional channel destined to promote Breton and Brittany's celtic regional cultuer. Nowadays it is just rehearsing non-stop American series from the 90's and early 2000. And Colombo.
- German cable network "Das Vierte" started as a classic movie channel owned by NBC; its name translated to "The Fourth [Channel]", a name clearly trying to ride off the identities of the major public television outlets "Das Erste" (ARD, The First), "Das Zweite" (ZDF, "The Second"), and Die Dritten ("The Thirds", a collection of public regional channels that make up ARD) — aspiring to be the most prominent private channel. Unfortunately, their aspirations didn't go so well, and it ended up aspiring to be a German version of Ion: it began losing advertisers (and in turn, money), forcing it to give up most of its broadcast day to home shopping, infomercials, and Phone-in Game Shows. What little primetime programming it had left was usually just a movie followed by an hour of Ghost Hunters. Even funnier was the fact that TV listings magazines still gave this channel full listings. Think about it: your favourite channel only gets primetime listings, yet you can still learn about what infomercials will air on Das Vierte today. The channel went through several owners before being acquired by Disney in 2012. They later announced that it would re-launch Disney Channel Germany as a basic cable network using Das Vierte's channel allotment in January 2014, which finally put this trainwreck out of its misery.
- The channel tm3 started in 1995 as a program targeted towards women (with for whatever reason animes capturing most of the daytime slots), was turned into a sports centered program after purchasing broadcasting rights for UEFA Champions League four years later, and another two years after went exclusively for phone in game shows under the new name 9live. Missed by noone, but mocked by many, it ceased to exist in 2011.
- Zone Club used to be a TV station geared exclusively towards women. Beginning from 1999 all the way up to Spring 2011, this remained the sole "purpose" of the channel, which is when they began airing Megamax, an afternoon cartoon block aimed at the 8-14 age range, pushing the regular shows back into a forenoon timeslot. December 2011 marked the date when Megamax completely took over, forming a triumvirate together with young children's Minimax and older teens' (now defunct) Animax. This same started happening in Romania as well, as Megamax started airing in 19th November 2012 on Sport1 (a Romanian sports channel owned by Chellomedia). It was an afternoon cartoon block, but on 4th January 2013 it extended its airtime by 3 hours and on 1st April 2013 it completely took over the daytime schedule of Sport1. As of time of writing nothing has been announced about Sport1's future.
- M2, from its official debut in 1973 all the way to December 2012, functioned as the sister channel or more correctly "supplementary channel" to M1, the country's dominant public service television network. It aired mostly the same programs, often as reruns, but there was very little to really set it apart from M1. Then came the decision to transform it into a youth entertainment network, and now M2 devotes its entire 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM airtime to kid-friendly programming, airing classic Hungarian cartoons and various other animated series (most of which would sadly feel right at home in the Animation Age Ghetto), as well as some live-action kids/teens shows and a few educational programs — although recent years saw the gradual decline of animated classics in favor of forgettable obscure cartoons and more popular, somewhat more modern TV shows. In March 2015, the evening programming, which contains more adult-oriented content, such as report shows, sport broadcasts and movies, was re-branded as Petőfi (or M2 Petőfi) to differentiate it from the main focus of the channel, which is to be this insanely mediocre, day-long kids' show block.
- M1, the main public service station since 1957, was reimagined as a national news channel on March 15, 2015, with its former programming migrating to one of its sister stations, Duna TV, making it the new main national TV channel. Despite an enormous drop in ratings, constant and innumerable technical problems and scheduling screw-ups, which resulted in the new M1 being temporarily taken off the air less than a day after its launch, this "news channel" is here to stay.
- M5 began life in August 2015 as a sports network and a complementary station to M4 Sport. In September 2016, it got rebranded as a cultural-educational network.
- Infinito was a cable channel that, in the early years, aired a huge variety of documentaries catering lots of themes. By the late 90, it shifted to show documentaries about conspiracy theories, UFOs, Atlantis, Global Warming (before it became relatively mainstream), alternative medicine, and related stuff. Suddenly, in the mid-2000s, the channel started to mutate into a really bad Travel Channel wannabe, showcasing documentaries about New Age society, alternative lifestyles, Feng Shui, and spas which no one cares about. By 2009, it had completely ditched its original concept revolving around alternative sciences, and marketed itself as a serious documentary channel about crimes, the human mind, and historical tidbits. (the wellness theme is now explored by Ecuatorian cable network Inti Network.) Then it started to decay again in mid-2009, when it started to showcase movies based on Real Life stories and events. Starting January 2012, the rate of airing documentaries dropped, and most of its programming consisted on films based on Real Life events and shows from Spike TV. A year later, there were no documentaries at all, and the channel was more about crime dramas and films, and Cheaters reruns, with the Latin American feed for History Channel (and also the Latin American feeds for SyFy and Biography Channel) picking up on the paranormal documentaries gap left by them. And in 2015, Infinito eventually ceased operating in Latin America, in a right decision made by Turner. Argentina (the home country of former owner Imágen Satelital) was the first to close the channel down on March 10th, followed by most of Latin America on the 17th and finally Mexico on the 25th. The USA feed survived until 2016 because, despite adapting to the channel's changing identities, it still aired shows from an older phase of the channel and also acquired content from other Latino broadcasters, until succumbing when those broadcasters launched their own American networks. The replacement in Latin America was TNT Series.
- When glitz* launched in 2011, the channel was basically a lifestyle channel aimed at women, but after a schedule change in 2014, it became a telenovela channel, focusing primarily on Venevisión's productions (which makes sense because the former owner as Fashion TV LA was Claxson, owned by Grupo Cisneros).
- Television New Zealand (TVNZ) since the late 1980s (specifically TV1 and TV2) has gone from a BBC-style public broadcaster funded from a mixture of television licence fees and advertising to a government-owned commercial broadcaster funded mainly from advertising (as of 2011, 90% of TVNZ's revenue was from advertising). As a result, it shifted visibly towards the Lowest Common Denominator, and whether it's a good or a bad thing depends on one's political and economic viewpoint.
- Some of the shift was caused by changes in the television industry since the late 1980's, most notably deregulation of the broadcasting sector. Television New Zealand's TV1 and TV2 were the only two television channels in New Zealand until TV3 came along in November 1989.
- Inverted with TVNZ-6 and TVNZ-7, which were spun off from TVNZ as part of New Zealand's Freeview digital TV platform in 2008. These 2 channels were explicitly public broadcasting-oriented, in comparison with the heavily commercialised TV1 and TV2. However, a change of government and subsequent non-renewal of funding meant that TVNZ-6 was turned into the commercial youth channel TVNZ-U (since replaced with a Timeshift Channel of TV2), and TVNZ-7 was replaced with a timeshift channel of TV1 in 2012.
- For a period of time, you could watch decent TVNZ channels like Kidzone and Heartland. The catch? They weren't available free-to-air; you could only watch them if you have a subscription to pay TV operator SKY. Eventually, both channels shut down after TVNZ decided not to renew its broadcast agreement with SKY.
- TVNZ still has some public broadcasting obilgations in the event of a national emergency - it must continue broadcasting at the fullest extent possible, even if it is at the cost of advertising. Following the Christchurch earthquake of 22 February 2011, TV1 spent a few days broadcasting news about the earthquake without advertising, although as the event died down, they reintroduced some advertisements because it was costing them too much to be ad-less.
- Three (previously TV3) originally aired mostly imported programmes from the States (sometimes from the UK, Canada and Australia). Since 2012, Three shifted its heavy focus to Reality TV, which some people felt was to cater the Lowest Common Denominator. Three had its second receivership in 2013 (the first time since 1990) which resulted in the 20th Century Fox contract being renegotiated. Many Fox programmes on Three are now on TVNZ (with exception of Sleepy Hollow, which airs on Prime).
- Sister network FOUR (previously TV4, C4) (Now Bravo) was once a youth channel that airs either reruns of certain shows or airing new programmes. In 2011, it was renamed to FOUR and to include children's programmes such as Thomas & Friends and Sesame Street. However in 2016, FOUR closed down as a result of the launch of Bravo, a 24/7 Reality channel which left some parents in anger. Unfortunately from a Television industry point of view they said "Children's television is notoriously difficult to make money off because toddlers have little consumer power'. But it didn't stop there TV for kids is becoming more limited due to economic reasons because as mentioned from the last paragraph, Children's TV is too costly to make
- Filipino Free-to-air channel TV5 started out as a youth-oriented channel with less news, thanks to the Animega block. But when they got so popular with the public, this went over their head and deleted the block, put a variety show in the evening, and put in horrible Filipino dubs of Cartoon Network and Disney Channel shows (try to imagine Hannah Montana speaking Tagalog... horrible right?), and even dubbed the movies that air in the channel's movie block and made it an all-masa (masses) station. Many youths are pissed off with the changes and the deletion of the block, that many of them are asking the channel to bring it back to the way it was, but the higher-ups in the channel didn't care at all. Until they reaired Mobile Suit Gundam 00 at 9:30 am, and aftert that, they went back to their "We don't care about anime" status and shilling nothing but EVERY SHOW AND MOVIE THAT WAS IN ENGLISH, NOW DUBBED IN TAGALOG (A trend that later spread to its rival networks) as a big middle finger to the very demographic that supported them in the past.
- Porto Canal began in 2006 as a regional cable channel (available nationwide) focusing on Oporto in general, with programming that could appeal to people from other cities as well. Within a few years of the channel's launch, it started focusing more and more on northern Portugal, opening offices outside Oporto. There were talks of changing the channel's name to something along the lines of Televisão do Norte in late 2010/early 2011, but that didn't happen as FC Porto bought the channel and started to include news bulletins on the team and also sporting events from Dragão Caixa. It eventually added movies to the schedule, airing on an occasional basis (how strange). There were also talks of it becoming a sports channel, but those were averted as FC Porto Media announced plans to launch a completely different sports channel to compete with the well-established BTV and Sporting TV.
- Continuing with the football/soccer theme, Benfica TV started out as a channel focusing entirely on SL Benfica, then they started adding football events that were out of hand for SPORT.TV. Still focusing on Benfica for at least half the time, when they got the rights to air Premier League matches in 2013, the channel became SPORT.TV's "competitor". A second channel (which relays the first one except for Premier League overflow) began broadcasting in October, and while noticing this switch, the channel became BTV in July 2014.
- And then the second channel shut down, then they lost the rights to the foreign leagues back to SPORT.TV, but remained as a premium channel. Despite that, it is still known as "BTV".
- For a long time, SIC Radical was a "politically incorrect" channel, focusing on shows aimed largely at a young adult audience (absurd shows, anime, weird films). Then Pedro Boucherie Mendes came around 2008 and started to fill the channel (very slowly at first but a few years later at a higher rate) with reality shows that don't fit with the channel's original target demographics. Now more than half of the schedule is filled not only with those shows but also Spanish acquisitions that don't fit in with the channel.
- And then came that deal with Globo to start airing Brazilian soccer matches in January of 2017, even though SIC doesn't have any sports channel at all.
- Mnet started out as a music channel, which included an MTV block at one point. In later years, Mnet decided to take an MTV-inspired network decay situation, in which the channel started airing entertainment shows (as long as they involve K-POP stars) and dramas.
- Tooniverse used to focus more on animation in general, starting out with a mix of Western and Eastern shows, then the channel eventually became dominated by anime series and then they got dramas and variety shows, making it similar to tvN but aimed at kids.
- The Spanish cable channel Buzz was once focused on anime, and one of the few, if not the only place in Spain to ever show Seinens and subbed anime. Then they started showing more unrelated stuff (Western animated shows? Sure. Extreme sports? Uh...), and for a while the only anime-related thing they aired was (according to the cable provider's TV Guide) Hentai movies on weekends...and then, eventually, even those were removed. In 2016, Buzz was phased out of existence altogether and replaced with horror movie channel Dark, which had been revived after having initially closed down in 2009.
- In the less than two years it was around, laSexta 2, secondary channel of laSexta's group before it merged into Atresmedia, managed to completely change its concept several times. It started out in October 2010 as a container of re-runs of laSexta's own shows (current and older), then in early 2011 it started programming original content such as the political talk show Al rojo vivo (which within the year was moved to the main channel and has since grown into one of its mainstays)... and by the spring, laSexta 2 had been completely revamped with a bunch of original, exclusive shows such as Bares, qué lugares, Carreteras secundarias or Este es mi barrio... but in July, all of them were dropped out of the schedule to turn laSexta 2 into a telenovela channel. They were back on air before the end of the month as the 'all-telenovela' thing made the channel's ratings drop. laSexta 2 was replaced with documentary channel Xplora on May 2012.
- Sweden's TV6, owned by Modern Times Group/Viasat, went through this twice. When it was launched in 1994, the network's programming was originally aimed at women. But after this approach proved unsuccessful, TV6 was retooled into a nature-themed channel in 1998. Then in 2006, TV6 once again changed tack and became an import television channel, normally airing American (mostly action and sci-fi) movies, TV series, and reality shows, as well as rugby matches.
- SVT 24 started out as a news channel, but in 2010, the channel stopped behaving like one and became more or less like an "SVT 3" of sorts airing repeated content from their sister channels. The 24 is now an Artifact Title because it now only airs during primetime, as it timeshares with Barnkanalen, their children's channel, in the daytime.
- ITV has fallen into this, not in regards to programming (No specific niche to begin with) but in terms of identity. When the network started in 1955, it was only nominally a network, as it was really a collection of 15 regional networks note all with their own identities and programming. Despite brief attempts at consolidation (Yorkshire and Tyne Tees combining to form Trident Television in the 1970s, and a unified identity in 1989, that was rejected by most) It held true to its purpose for forty years.
That all changed in 1993. After a change in the franchises (Carlton replacing Thames, Meridian Broadcasting replacing TVS, Westcountry Television replacing TSW) the regions gradually consolidated. Yorkshire Television bought Tyne Tees in 1992, forming Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television. In 1994, Carlton Television bought Central Independent Television, Granada Television bought LWT, and MAI, the parent of Meridian Broadcasting, took over Anglia Television. Westcountry Television was bought by Carlton in 1996, Granada bought Yorkshire-Tyne Tees in 1997, HTV was purchased by MAI (Renamed United News and Media) in the same year, and Scottish Media Group, the owner of Scottish Television, bought Grampian, also in the same year. Despite all this, all networks still operated independently. Then, in 1999, with only UTV, Channel Television, and Border Television independent, Carlton combined Carlton London, Central Television, and Westcountry Television into one region, Carlton Television. Soon after, in November, the Granada and UNM regions started using a generic presentation package for all of their regions, though they still kept their names and identities. By this point, only Channel Television, LWT, UTV, Grampian, and Scottish had their own identities, and Grampian and Scottish would be unified in 2000. Consolidation continued, with Meridian and Anglia sold to Granada in 2000, HTV sold to Carlton that same year, and Border Television sold to Granada in 2001. Finally, In October of 2002, all region names were dropped, with all regions names being changed to "ITV (Name of region") (EX: ITV London, ITV Wales), and in 2004, most regions were unified under the company name "ITV plc" and regional programming was all gone, excluding news. Only Channel Television, Grampian TV, Scottish TV, and UTV escaped this fate, but Grampian and Scottish would be combined under the unified "STV" branding in 2006, and Channel was bought under the ITV umbrella in 2011. UTV is also owned by ITV, but still keeps its identity.
- In the UK, similar fates to G4's decay befell Game Network (which drifted towards soft pornography, phone-in quizzes and psychic hotlines, to the point of mercifully dropping the GN brand) and later XLEAGUE.TV (from eSports, to general games, to games-with-some-odd-niche-US-sports, to not broadcasting at all in the space of about 18 months).
- The British satellite station Bravo (unrelated to the American Bravo mentioned above or the Canadian Bravo! in the "Slipped" section) began as a channel showing black and white TV from the 1960s (mostly Lew Grade action shows), dropped this in favour of Speculative Fiction and horror, dumped that for True Crime shows and "adult programming", and in the end of its run showed an eclectic mix of programmes that could best be described as "lad's mag/men's magazine television". In other words, the British version of Spike TV, right down to them both showing TNA Wrestling and UFC as the big draws. It also ran sci-fi repeats (mainly Star Trek: Voyager, Deep Space Nine and Enterprise), in what was possibly the same effect as mentioned elsewhere when it was noticed that the demographics were similar to their other programmes.
- In a related case to both Bravo UK and ABC Family, the UK version of the Family Channel was originally a joint venture with the owner of the U.S. version, and Flextech. In 1996, Flextech bought out the remainder of the network and planned to re-launch it as "Challenge" that fall, with a daytime lineup focusing on female-skewing dramas, and evening and weekends focused on game shows. However, the re-launch was delayed so it wouldn't compete with the concurrent launch of Granada's new digital channels, so they just ran constant "Family Challenge Weekend" marathons on weekends before finally becoming Challenge full-time, with mainly just game shows. As further decay on that genre, it then later starting showing poker tournament blocks and, along with it, films like Casino, but the block has since been dropped. The sale of both Challenge and Bravo to Sky in 2010 and Bravo's subsequent closure in 2011 meant that Challenge is now the home of TNA Wrestling. Not to mention that as the years go on, Challenge's library of programs seems to get smaller. As of current, it looks like they are not showing any program older than 1990. Makes it rather annoying if you are a fan of a show such as Bullseye and wish to see any episodes from the early 80s through to 1989. Challenge eventually started getting back on track with some of the programs they air, though it does depend on what series of said show are licensed - older series of shows such as Bullseye, Family Fortunes, and the pre-Rich series of Strike it Lucky air on the network, and they are trying to add more from the back catalog as time goes by (The first series of Blockbusters aired a few months ago, albeit with a handful of missing episodes, and the first two seasons of the original Channel 5 version of Fort Boyard aired over the summer, with the rest of the episodes to come in 2015). It still doesn't explain why TNA Wrestling or shows like Brainiac: Science Abuse air on a channel otherwise known for old game shows.
- TNA airs on Challenge because Sky has the rights to WWE, and didn't want to get into trouble with them by putting a rival wrestling promotion on a Sky branded channel.
- UK Gold went from a mix of the BBC and Thames archives, to suffering the same "six months ago is classic" syndrome the US "classic" TV channels seem to have suffered, with a sprinkling of Hollywood films and repeats of Prison Break. It's now been split into the backronymed G.O.L.D. ("Go On, Laugh Daily"), a comedy channel mostly recycling all the same old shows that are always repeated... and Watch, which takes the rest of the "classic" output of UK Gold (as well as showing such well-known archive series as No Ordinary Family, Grimm and Alcatraz).
- As shown in the main page image, TLC, originally focusing around science and nature documentaries in the style of the Discovery Channel, drifted toward almost nothing but "home makeover"-style reality shows. In a somewhat confusing (in these days of internet porn) play at grabbing the all-important 18-34 male demographic, TLC acquired the rights to air the Miss America pageant. After sufficient decay consisting of more shows about toddler beauty pageants, pastry chefs, tattoo artists, strange families and Body Horror, one would never guess that TLC used to be called The Learning Channel and was once co-owned by NASA. This just about sums it all up...
- Los Angeles radio station K-Earth 101 (KRTH), long known for its classic hits from the 50's-60's, transitioned over the years to playing music from the 70's, 80's, and 90's, losing focus on playing any music from earlier than the 70's. It is no longer an oldies station.
- This sort of decay is not uncommon with oldies stations and TV networks that show classic TV programs. Part of it has to do with networks losing the right to show a particular program, but a lot of it has to do with the Fleeting Demographic Rule. When one generation gets older (and theoretically less profitable), the station begins playing what's oldies to the next generation...which (of course) many in the previous generation will not consider to truly be "oldies" or "classic."
- MuchUSA was originally a simulcast of the Canadian network MuchMusic. In 2001, CHUM Limited sold their share of MuchUSA to the network's co-owner, the American cable company Cablevision, who promptly gutted all the Canadian programming and replaced it with original American shows. The network's name was changed to MMUSA, and later Fuse TV. For Fuse TV's own past experience with Network Decay, see "Temporary Shifts".
- Since merging with NuvoTV in 2015, outside of video blocks and shows like Big Freeda, Fuse has moved away music programming in favor of shows that target a multicultural audience. It began when Fuse became the exclusive U.S broadcaster for the LFL, a deal which lasted all of one season before the network dumped them. Soon after the announcement, sitcom reruns began to dominate the schedule, eventually displacing music video blocks to the early morning graveyard hours. Today, Fuse looks more like a Latino version of MTV2, while its new sister channel, FM (which replaced NuvoTV), is pretty much what Fuse was like before the merger.
- Over the years, U.S. broadcast networks gradually dumped their traditional Saturday morning cartoon blocks for more dramas, reality shows, soaps, and news. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, all of the broadcast networks except UPN had the entire 6:00 AM to Noon block of Saturdays set aside just for animated programs and other all-ages fare, with Fox and the WB even going so far as to add in an extra two-to-three hours every weekday morning and afternoon. But in the late 1990s, increased cable competition (Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, etc.) and FCC mandates requiring a minimum three hours of educational kids' programming on broadcast networks each week proved crippling — since most kids bar preschoolers don't/won't watch strictly educational shows, there was little incentive for producers to make them. Entertainment shows like The Weird Al Show wound up getting compromised by Executive Meddling to fit the mandates.
At the same time, FCC regulations, voluntary guidelines, and pressure from parents' and teachers' groups rebuilt the wall between advertising and children's entertainment. This killed lucrative Merchandise-Driven cartoons and hamstrung the traditional Saturday morning advertisers (cereal, snack food, and toy companies) so much that it's too expensive for them to advertise on television without disclaiming everything or trying to somehow impart that their cereal is healthy or their toy is educational in some way. It's much cheaper for them to put up a website for their product, or to do what Hasbro did and create their own cable networks (which have much fewer restrictions) and go after them that way. As a result...
- NBC was the first of the networks to go into Saturday morning decay, when in 1992, due to the falling ratings of the cartoons (including the disastrous Yo Yogi!, a Totally Radical spin on Yogi Bear) and the success of Saved by the Bell, the network turned half of the traditional block over to clones of SBTB and live-action reality shows geared towards kids, while giving the other half over to a Saturday version of Today. In 2002, they gave airtime to Discovery Kids, who brought cartoons back to NBC in the form of Tutenstein, Kenny the Shark, and Time Warp Trio, despite the rest of the lineup consisting of live-action shows. Discovery Kids dropped out to try to make a name for themselvesnote , and then started a joint-venture named Qubo with several other companies, including Ion Television, who is now the sole owner. The 2011 Comcast purchase brought in Sprout as a sister network, and in 2012, a collaboration emerged in the form of NBC Kids. This gave NBC the ironic distinction of being the last of the Big 5 networks to air any sort of kid-targeted animation (Fox's current cartoons are obviously anything but), airing a preschooler-targeted lineup mixing cartoons and live-action shows...until they announced they were dumping that in October 2016 for yet another Litton block, this one under NBC's longtime "The More You Know" brand, for no apparent reason other than everyone else but Fox doing it. Sister network Telemundo (whose blocks had the same providers as NBC since 2006) would follow suit in January 2018, when the rebranding of Sprout to Universal Kids opened the door for Litton to take over the block while retaining the MiTelemundo name.
- ABC abandoned their block in favor of "Litton's Weekend Adventure", a syndicated programming block meeting the aforementioned federal mandates (the block is broadcast by mostly ABC stations, though it is part of a syndication deal).
- CBS aired Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. programming from 2000 until 2006, after the CBS/Viacom breakup. It aired programming from various companies such as DiC eventually soaked up into the Cookie Jar Group, then in 2013 followed ABC's lead and gave up their time to Litton.
- Fox was able to avoid the federal mandates by exploiting loopholes, but subsequently abandoned their Saturday-morning animation block altogether, and now their programming consists of infomercials (though a few affiliates, and even some O&Os, don't bother to take it since the money goes to Fox). Beginning in September 2014, some Fox stations started to air a new block, Xploration Station, produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions, which features science shows hosted by Mystery Guitar Man and Philippe Cousteau Jr. among others. Much like Litton's Weekend Adventure, it is syndicated but broadcast mainly by Fox affiliates.
- The CW (successor to The WB and UPN) was the last to maintain a full-length Saturday morning block, Vortexx, produced by Saban Brands. The CW also gave in to Litton and introduced One Magnificent Morning for the 2014-15 season.
- Averted by PBS, whose PBS Kids block airs children's programming (including cartoons) on most days. Check local listings.
- In July 2017, Sinclair Broadcasting Group launched a new daily block called KidsClick on This TV as well as Sinclair-affiliated stations, effectively bringing back non-educational cartoons to Saturday mornings, as well as weekdays. It didn't even outlast Vortexx, shutting down abruptly at the end of March 2019.
- FCC regulations prohibited the host of a kids' show from endorsing a toy or a cereal, resulting in the extinction of locally-produced, live-action kids' shows, as it no longer made economic sense to pay someone to host a show instead of just showing all cartoons. The longest holdout was probably the original Bozo Show on WGN in Chicago, which ended in 2001; the last four years had Bozo wedging boring tours of Chicago landmarks and factories into the show to fill the station's E/I quota.
- Centric used to be called BET On Jazz and focused on, believe it or not, jazz. Concerts, videos, wonderful old Panoram films, occasional spoken-word programs, and nothing else, 24/7. The revamped version is mostly talk shows and general-interest programming aimed at a relatively mature African-American audience; the little music they play is Caribbean or soul. Part of the reason for the revamp is so that BET could itself continue its own decay (see Major Shifts That Fit) and focus more on the youth audience.
- The TV Guide Channel, formerly the Prevue Guide/Prevue Channel. Originally, it was a nice little channel that gave the local TV listings and the weather, along with unobtrusive text ads, using Teletext-style graphics set to music from a local radio station. In the late 80s, it added Muzak and dedicated half of the screen to trailers with the rare show (or whatever the cable company wanted to advertise). By 1993, they'd also expanded to a pay-per-view centric sibling called Sneak Prevue. It was later bought by TV Guide, which mutated it into the channel it is today. When TV Guide took over, the listings were further pushed down the screen so as to make more room to show talking heads blabbing about reality shows, awards ceremonies, and whatever Britney did. When Lionsgate acquired the network in 2009, the listings were removed altogether when contractually possible, prompting a few cable companies to drop the channel; although this has since been reversed. Eventually the tabloid shows went away due to budget cuts, and it became a Lionsgate TV rerun farm. It could be argued that this change was made to compete with Internet channel listings and the electronic program guide features available with satellite and digital cable packages (which allow viewers to scroll through the listings at will and select channels from the menu), including ones developed by the same people in charge of Prevue/TV Guide (irony much?); the HD version of the network has no listings whatsoever.
- In 2013, CBS bought a stake in the channel, which rebranded as "TVGN" on an interim basis (TVG, a horse racing network, was formerly TV Guide Network's sister network, so there was good reason for it to get a better name to avert confusion). CBS moved Big Brother After Dark to the network from Showtime 2 at the start of the 2013 season to give TVGN a boost, and it also grabbed same-day The Young and the Restless episodes from the dying SoapNet, as well as The Bold and the Beautiful. In January 2015, TVGN re-launched as Pop, which is focused on pop culture-related programs.
- Fine Living Network, a sibling to Food Network and HGTV, was revamped into Cooking Channel on May 31, 2010 (though Fine Living already showed some food-related programming). It was originally positioned as an upscale lifestyle-oriented network, with emphasis on the upscale (thus the "fine"). It was basically a classier version of Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel rolled into one. There were a lot of shows about wine, entertaining guests, and travel to exotic locales, and the home decor/gardening shows definitely didn't have low budgets in mind.
Somewhere along the line it fell victim to the usual problems, and became a dumping ground for shows from the other Scripps networks, as well as a program featuring Martha Stewart's daughter MSTing her old syndicated program; things which made the "fine" in the name seem superfluous (if you take it to mean "of high quality", though the word has myriad meanings). Its decay can probably be traced right back to Food Network and HGTV's decay, but it was also a victim of bad timing more than anything, with the economy tanking (though the slide began before then). When people's McMansions are being foreclosed on, they probably don't give a crap about hosting parties in them, and showing a program literally called I Want That! in a recession is probably not a good idea. Not to mention, given how Food Network itself has decayed (they're listed in Major Shifts That Fit), though, the retool of this network might be a blessing in disguise. On that very day in May 31, 2010, it ended with a bizarrely creepy sequence where the Grim Reaper shows up at what's presumably Fine Living HQ, and then presses the doorbell. However, it was eventually revived in March 2014...in Italy only.
That said, someone still seems to think there's a market for the original concept, but don't remind anyone with HD cable service of that fact. Along with MAVTV in the past note and any outdoor channel producing content for pennies, Wealth TV is a major Berserk Button channel since it takes a slot that could air actual programming more than 21 people in a service area would watch... and instead airs inane programming that appeals to a very select few. It rebranded in 2013 as AWE, which stands for "A Wealth of Entertainment" to try to cool down those viewers.
- Planet Green replaced Discovery Home as a channel which was intended to jump on the trend of "going green" in 2008 by airing a schedule of programming solely involving green and environmental programming. However, a combination of the economic meltdown and former Discovery Home viewers angry because Discovery threw off all the Home programming without placing it anywherenote , made programming a network about a lifestyle that required lots of that other kind of "green" to maintain untenable for the long run.
A couple of non-green programs snuck on the schedule in 2009, and because of the incredible viewer apathy the network received even among environmentalists, it was pretty well on the road to ruin only a few years after its launch. Their original shows after the first year bore little to no relation to the environment at all, and included: a show about Canadian restaurants run by prisoners on work release and ex-cons, a show about two business executives learning how to run a farm from the internet, a show about oil drilling in North Dakota and the people lucky enough to make money from it (no, that's not green at all), programs about UFOs (little "green" men landing on a "planet"? Does that count?), ghost stories, and reruns of stuff Discovery has aired to death on their other networks, but can't air after other network conversions (historical documentaries that used to air on Discovery Times, which is now Investigation Discovery, for instance). Meanwhile, the actual "green" programming was stuck in the middle of the night and completely ignored, while the network's logo was recolored red. Even Discovery's CEO said the channel was on life support.
In 2012, they began to devote their Wednesday nights to shows airing police chase shows regurgitated from shows that aired years ago, and a horrible Parking Wars clone involving hit-and-run wrecks, about as far as you can get from environmentally conscious. The only thing "green" about these programs is the recycling of old footage and the remains of said salvaged felony wrecks. The reason for these odd programming choices was to give the channel any ratings life ahead of Memorial Day 2012, when the channel relaunched as Destination America, which turns up the Patriotic Fervor to 11, features nothing but Eagleland programs. It was Discovery admitting they shouldn't have sold the Travel Channel (which carried much of this programming until it was sold off) and that they had the worst timing ever in launching Planet Green.
Among the programming in Destination America's first few days: marathons of David Blaine specials, Destroyed In Seconds, and A Haunting, and LA Ink. Does it count as decay if you're doing it in the very first block of programming? In 2015, they briefly dabbled in wrestling—adding Impact Wrestling and later Ring of Honor (although both have since been dropped). Since then, the channel began to increasingly focus on its paranormal programming, going as far as doing a minor re-imaging in 2017 to make it Darker and Edgier.
- Romance Classics, a rather specific Spin-Off of AMC that was geared towards women, was launched in January 1997 and aired nothing but old and cheesy romance films and Doris Day movies. By late 2000 it was decided that the channel was going nowhere, so it was blown up and overhauled into WE: Women's Entertainment, intended to be a "contemporary" counterpoint to Lifetime. It has since changed its name to WEtv and is better known for Bridezillas and other wedding-related fare (enough to fill a Spin-Off, Wedding Central, which died in July 2011 both because the wedding craze died and their parent company couldn't get anyone to carry a weddings-only channel) than anything else. Eventually, male-skewing programs such as CSI: Miami snuck onto the schedule and eventually filled up many timeslots. In 2014, the network underwent a rebranding, dropping the "women's entertainment" tagline in favor of using "We" to represent the idea of "sharing common interests and experiences". Despite the repositioning, its overall lineup (besides the CSI and Law & Order reruns) is still in line with how it was before.
- PAX Television (now ION) was founded by Christian home-shopping mogul Lowell "Bud" Paxson as a family-friendly alternative to the major broadcast networks, with wholesome original programming, game shows and reruns of Touched by an Angel. The format wasn't working and Pax was rebranded "i" with the intention to lease airtime to independent producers. Those leased programs wound up being terrible and unwatched, consisting of mainly Canadian content dramas and the network soon resorted to filling 2/3 of their broadcast day with Infomercials to keep the lights on, giving it the infamous industry joke that "'i' stands for infomercials" and nearly losing most of its coverage from Comcast and DirecTV because of it (only saving it with a loop of public domain programming). Paxson left his company in 2007 and "i" became Ion Television. Since then, its schedule now largely consists of Crime Drama reruns, James Bond films and at one point even the WWE's third-string weekly show (effectively making it a broadcast version of USA Network), with the kind of violent content that Paxson most likely abhorred, but at least gets ratings and advertisers. As of late 2013, Ion's sixth subchannel now carries another Bud Paxson creation, the Home Shopping Network, under a channel lease agreement.
- One of Ion's sister networks, Ion Life, began in 2007 as a network focusing on lifestyle-oriented series (the vast majority of which were Canadian imports). In January 2019, the network basically became "Ion Plus," adopting the binge-style scheduling format that its parent network implemented eight years earlier (dumping its lifestyle shows in favor of airing reruns of American and Canadian drama series that Ion had in its inventory) as well as replacing most of its overnight and morning programming with infomercials (which Ion Life had been airing only in certain morning and midday timeslots since 2013).
- getTV quite possibly the first digital multicast network to go into significant format drift began in 2013 as basically the over-the-air equivalent of Turner Classic Movies, focusing initially on pre-1980s classic films. The network's descent into totally abandoning this format began in 2015, when it began airing recent and older sitcoms and drama series as well as classic variety specials. In May 2016, getTV formally switched its programming format to a general entertainment format, focusing mostly on series from the 1970s to the 2000s and shifting its film selection towards movies released after 1960 (although older films remained part of its Saturday western block). By 2018, the network had scaled back movies to weekends and diluted its film selection to mainly made-for-TV movies.
- The Odyssey Network, founded in 1988 as VISN (Vision Interfaith Satellite Network) was created to counter the popularity of televangelists at the time by airing programs from a heavy amount of religious denominations. By the mid 1990s, it merged with another religious network it shared space with, ACTS (which was owned by some of the very televangelists VISN was created to counter), and became known as the Faith & Values Channel, staring to carry a limited amount of secular programming. With the investment of cable giant Liberty Media, they rebranded as Odyssey and added more secular programming in an attempt to stem the network's massive losses. In 1998, a joint venture of Hallmark and the Jim Henson Company became principal investors in Odyssey, and through their influence, brought forth the most unusual marriage of Muppets, the Hallmark library (which at the time included the Hal Roach library, Filmation shows and stuff from RHI, Robert Halmi's production firm), and spirituality. The religious programs were limited to 40 hours a week with the remaining time devoted to general-entertainment programming. In 2001, Hallmark bought controlling interest in Odyssey and renamed it The Hallmark Channel (the Henson content quickly vanished). Unlike what happened to Freeform, Hallmark gradually phased out religious programs; by 2010 its content was 100% secular. The channel's founding parent company continues to produce religious programming for other cable channels under the Odyssey name.
- Even Hallmark Channel gradually drifted away from its original intentions. Prior to 2006, Hallmark owned a library of Robert Halmi-produced TV spectacles such as Merlin and Gulliver's Travels with Ted Danson and other stuff (such as the Hal Roach library), plus it relied heavily on Disney live-action features from the 1960s-1980s, so clearly the network was programming shows for the entire family. Then Hallmark lost the rights to those programs, and the format changed along with it. By 2016, the schedule consisted of Home & Family, a talk show with no appeal to kids whatsoever, along with reruns ranging from The Golden Girls to The Middle, and original movies. As such, Hallmark Channel gradually became a network for adults in Middle America, much like what became of Pat Robertson's Family Channel (prior to their multiple buyouts) and what PAX TV was before becoming i Network and then Ion Television. However, its success with romantic holiday-themed original movies throughout November and December brought in a sizable female demographic as well, leading to the network making variations of those, but with different seasonal themes (June Weddings, Fall Harvest, etc.). In fact, they made so many of these TV movies that they now make up the bulk of Hallmark's schedule, shifting reruns to late nights and early mornings.
- Ovation launched in 1996 as a fine arts-specific channel similar to Bravo in its early years; its addition to the DirecTV lineup in 2007 may have been a response to Bravo's decay and the demise of its Trio spinoff (which became Sleuth). Gradually, documentaries and performances relating to visual arts, ballet, modern dance, jazz, world music, theater, and classic foreign cinema were shoved aside as obscure and low-budgeted flicks, fluff pop culture documentaries, Antiques Roadshow reruns, and U.S. airings of Murdoch Mysteries (as The Artful Detective) took over the schedule. Ovation was actually thrown off Time Warner Cable for a year due to this decay, but reinstated at the start of 2014 with promises that they would reverse it. After a few feints in that direction, what little fine arts programming remains airs in the wee hours just before the infomercial block.
- This led to Dish Network dropping the channel for good in April 2015. The TWC contract was rolled over to Charter around Christmas time in 2016. With that assured carriage, Ovation now airs the same few British dramas run to death on your local PBS station, along with a package of circa 80's-90's mainstream films that seem to be very limited.
- Once upon a time, there was a premium cable channel called the Home Theater Network (HTN), launched 1978. It broadcast mainly movies (as almost every such channel then and now), a call-in trivia program and, most importantly, filler travel-based programming, which it called "The Travel Channel". As the time grew, the owners, Group W/Westinghouse saw it wasn't growing and so, in 1987, they sold the satellite space and the "Travel Channel" name to an airline, and so the modern Travel Channel, which has changed hands various times, was born.note note
- For many years, state channel Venezolana de Thelevisuion (VTV) was a general entertainment channel. In the following years after Hugo Chavez's ascension to power VTV shifted exclusively to news and opinion-related programming, exclusively starring the government's viewpoint. The entertainment programming was moved to a new state channel, TVes, which was created after the government refused to renew the broadcast license of private network RCTV and took over its assigned signal and channel space.
- TVes itself presents heavy decay. At the beginning, it presented more national productions, many educational programs from small producers who hadn't a chance on more mainstream channels, and having a feel of being a Take That! towards RCTV (which was an ordinary entertainment channel, but a politically rebellious one). Nowadays it is merely a copy of the channel it replaced, with very little original production no that different than the ones from the channels it competes against, but with constant mentions of socialism and pro-goverment themes on their locally produced shows to remind us who is financing the channel. The exact point of decay can be pinpointed just two years after the network was found, when the National production buffer dried because of lack of financing, and whoever was on charge decided it was cheaper to load the programming grid with cheap Argentinian imports and reruns of Ally McBeal and Korean dramas.
- The entirety of cable TV, in a sense. Its original purpose was to make it easier for viewers in rural or mountainous areas to watch television. Systems were originally known as "CATV" for "Community Antenna Television". (Cable TV in the UK, however, started with commercial-free TV only, because that was all that was available; when the more recognisable 1960s model started the provider - Rediffusion - also owned an independent TV channel, and showed adverts on its rebroadcast ITA broadcasts.) There originally wasn't anything on a U.S. cable TV system other than network stations, a few independents and public stations and maybe a channel that showed local weather conditions or an electronic news ticker. In the mid-1970s, HBO transitioned from a microwave pay-TV service to cable TV (originally only broadcasting from about 5 p.m. to midnight). Then Ted Turner put the signal of his WTBS independent station on satellite. Eventually, a network called "MSG", which showed mostly New York Rangers games, began to carry other forms of programming. You know that channel today as USA (in the 1980s, USA was more like TNT in that it also showed more movies and sports such as Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL, than it does today).
- Cable TV of the 1960s most likely was entirely over-the-air TV stations in the immediate market and perhaps a few from outside markets. Two Denver stations, KWGN, then an independent station, and KRMA, a PBS station, found themselves on cable TV systems from western Kansas to southern Idaho because the programming they offered wasn't available from any other source (Western Kansas wouldn't have its own PBS station until 1988).
- The US also had a completely different network named the Military Channel... which also happened to fit this Trope perfectly, because it used to be Discovery Wings, a network dedicated exclusively to aviation. Until the execs caught onto the fact that their most popular shows were about military aviation. Interestingly, this channel then drifted from documentaries on current military life and technology to showing nonstop World War II documentaries, perhaps in a bid to capture disgruntled former viewers of the History Channel. They later let in some of the same kinds of questionable documentaries that have spread across The History Channel (one of the more popular ones espouses the discredited chemtrail conspiracy theory), and in March 2014 changed their name to The American Heroes Channel, which according to them, somehow considers John Gotti and Al Capone American heroes (via re-airings of The Mafia's Greatest Hits).
- The majority of South American over-the-air television networks have been plunging into this for some time, catering only to lower-class viewers. While unoriginal only-six-plots soaps are still their chief-products and released periodically, there's been a spike of cheap Reality Shows, "newscasts" solely devoted to (often-sensationalized) crime and soccer, and programs focused on celebrity gossip, butt exhibits, cashing in on the newest musical/memetic fad and crude uninspired humour. Sports other than soccer and Formula One rarely get broadcast - notable exceptions (depending on the country) include tennis, rugby, volleyball (though only important games) and UFC. And if you're not interested in any of the locally produced stuff, bad luck. It's been for some years that the major networks abandoned importing stateside-produced series (Middle- and lower-class South Americans have a strong anti-imperialist sentiment note , even in regards to media note to the point most attempts to do localized versions of American shows being victims of negative reception). In regards to movies, the typical modus-operandi of the networks was to buy 2-3 years old blockbusters (still not so good a deal) and announce them at the start of the year, them slowly air them until the purchase of the next batch. But nowadays, most of them just don't seem to care anymore, announcing fewer (if any) new movies, while infinitely recycling yesteryears batches (with titles like Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the earlier movies of The Fast and the Furious franchise and other big things of 5-10 years ago being aired every 3 weeks or so). Also, in the series department, there is rarely any new syndication as of this entry, not so many to begin with, and with long running comercially successful shows like House, the CSI franchise and Two and a Half Men getting very delayed new seasons, resulting in them re-airing old episodes ad nauseum (putting these kinds of +/-24 episodes-per-year series in daily time-slots definitely doesn't help), usually airing late into the night. Well, as long as there's someone to still sit through all this and see the ads...
- Regarding local production, in Argentina there are independent stations carrying programs from the Buenos Aires networks. Meanwhile Brazil's main networks have studios in most states note , but the local programming might be restricted to a newscast and a few local ads. A similar case happens in Chile with state broadcaster TVN having news and advertising divisions in regional capital as private network Channel 13 does in Valparaiso and Concepcion.
- Also, as of mid-2012, Brazil's Globo decided to kill off its weekday-morning cartoon block, which existed for more than a decade, was very popular with kids and teenagers alike, airing hits like SpongeBob SquarePants almost religiously, to give way to a generic variety show. Fans weren't pleased. As compensation, Globo launched a new children's channel, Gloob, on June 15, 2012.
- One of the saddest examples was Venezuela's Televen. Originally the third channel on national ratings, during the 1990's and the Turn of the Millennium positioned itself a classier alternative to the popular RCTV and Venevision networks by a programming based in American series, the most experimental soaps imports from Colombia and Brazil, and a big block of Anime, with shows showing always at the announced time (a rarity in Venezuelan TV, where the shows often creep on the others' timeslots). However, on the mid 2000's they hired a programming director who has been fired of RCTV, and soon there began to appear anomalies that were a trademark of the latter network, like repackaged programming (i.e. playing as "premiering movies" series episodes stitched together and old movies under a new title), getting rid of weekdays animated shows, creeping timeslots... Then, when RCTV was closed in 2007, Televen absorbed what they could of their talent and somehow decided to become a replacement for them. Nowdays this network is not different to its remaining competition Venevision, having even the same kind of programming (raunchy gossip shows in the morning, Mexican soaps all the afternoon, cartoons quarantined to weekend's early mornings).
- Court TV. Birthed from the cultural/media supernova that was the OJ Simpson Trial, the channel originally aired only actual courtroom trials, which included the proceedings along with anchor's analysis. Then the channel began carrying original and acquired shows surrounding crime and mysteries. It was then revamped as truTV, which focused on "not reality, (but) actuality"; a.k.a. Reality TV (most notoriously the Pawn Stars knock-off, Hard Pawn) and "caught on camera" shows, both of the "chiller" kind—Most Shocking/Most Daring and of the ""look at this dumb person who did a dumb thing on camera!" kind—World's Dumbest... and Top 20 Funniest, and reduced its courtroom coverage to a short afternoon show known as In Session (which was now produced by HLN as of 2009; a network which then decided to be Court TV and air live wall-to-wall coverage of the Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias trials, and now spams reruns of ''Forensic Files'' into just about every filler timeslot imaginable.) And now truTV has started showing college basketball during March Madness which has nothing to do with crime whatsoever...well, other than the obligatory "basketball court" puns.note
As World's Dumbest became the network's flagship show and Impractical Jokers became a hit (in addition to the negative reception of most of the network's dramatic fare), truTV revamped itself in October 2014 as "The New truTV", which abandoned the focus on "actuality" in favor of reality shows with humorous elements, like Branson Famous and Barmageddon. Now the channel has a focus on comedy programming with the occasional "caught on camera" show (of the comedic kind, of course) or sporting event (having flirted with HBO-produced boxing, and broadcasting the NCAA basketball and beach volleyball tournaments).
Back to Court TV, many channels or programming blocks that focus on actual courtroom proceedings tend to fall victim to decay anyways because, let's face it, real courtroom drama is about as dramatic as watching paint dry, and the ones that actually are dramatic get wall-to-wall coverage on the major media outlets anyway. And in any case if a local trial gets national attention, all the local stations in the area will stream it on their websites anyway for free. Nonetheless, those who still missed Court TV were in for a surprise when Katz Broadcasting announced in December 2018 they acquired the rights to the network's trademarks and programming for a Court TV relaunch in May 2019.
- Its Canadian equivalent, which retained the CourtTV name until 2010, became a Canadian version of its former competitor Investigation Discovery through a wider licensing agreement between Discovery Communications and the channel's parent company CTVglobemedia.
- AXN was launched as an all-action channel in 1997, but now they run movies and TV series in general (though this is mainly due to the traditional "action show" market basically bottoming out in the years since its inception with the death of syndicated dramas in general and the growth of streaming). Most of their shows are not even action-oriented. Their signature shows include all three CSI shows, House, The Amazing Race, and now So You Think You Can Dance. Strangely enough, it's not a bad thing.
- A rare case of premium channel decay occurred in December 2013 when Encore Love, a channel of nothing but romance films was refocused into Encore Classic and began to carry broadcast sitcoms from the 70s and 80s. It at least allows new viewers to discover those shows, but having to pay $15 as part of the Starz/Encore suite to do so feels odd in an age where Netflix and Hulu combined give you so many more classic shows for near the same price.
- There used to be an awesome cable/satellite TV channel called Newsworld International that was owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, aired in the U.S. and showed all sorts of foreign TV news broadcasts, from Britain's ITV News at Ten to evening news broadcasts from Japan's NHK, Germany's Deutsche Welle, its very own CBC, etc. Then it was sold to an investment group largely owned by Al Gore and it transformed itself into the Current TV. It purports to be a 24-hour news channel for young adults (the 18-34 set), but eventually degraded into the same old mish-mash of reality shows and snark about the news you see on other general channels because of the usual problem with channels that start with a higher purpose, but have to downmarket to get ratings. And now with Keith Olbermann coming into the channel the signal is clear that Current is going after young adults of a certain political ideal above all others.
- Keith Olbermann has since been fired due to Creative Differences. In spite of his firing, the idea of a news channel for young audiences was probably a case of Tropes Are Not Bad. The three big news networks (Fox News, CNN and MSNBC) were aimed towards older audiences and the one aimed towards liberal audiences (MSNBC) doesn't do 24-hour news. A news channel for young liberals could actually work in the right hands.
- Al Gore purchased NWI with the intent to create a liberal alternative to Fox News (before MSNBC fully embraced Keith Olbermann's popularity and populated its schedule with other liberal hosts), but Current initially didn't launch with that format because he found that it would be difficult to get cable companies to carry such a channel or advertisers to advertise on it. Instead, Current launched mostly with documentaries. Oddly, Keith Olbermann's arrival may have caused Current to "re-cay" to a format it was originally intended to have but never actually had in the first place. As for the Canadian CBC Newsworld (the "Newsworld" name effectively became an Artifact Title), it was later re-launched as CBC News Network, and re-focused on a more CNN-like lineup of rolling news and talking heads.
- The turnaround of the channel initially seemed to come full circle; after the failure of the all-liberal-talk-all-the-time format (somehow failed-on-CNN hosts Elliot Spitzer and Joy Behar didn't attract many eyeballs post-Olbermann), Al Gore sold off the channel to the Qatar-based news organization Al Jazeera, who started an American-centric news channel (Al Jazeera America) using Current's channel space after years of exhaustion trying to get cable companies to pick up their world English news channel. Unfortunately for Al Jazeera, the cable companies apprehensiveness to pick up their channel seemed to be vindicated, as Al Jazeera America floundered in ratings. The network ceased operations altogether after a mere three years of existence, marking the end of the story of the troubled network.
- DIY Network started out as a channel which had wonderful programming which laid out projects step by step in such diverse genres as knitting, scrapbooking, car care, basic home maintenance, and larger projects. However, as the years have gone by, the instructional programming has been pushed off to accommodate the shows on HGTV's schedule which didn't fit the "Buy, buy, buy! Remodel, remodel, remodel! Redecorate all you want, the fun times never end!" programming model that was at its worst at the height of the housing bubble. As of the early 2010s, it's a mix of some of those older shows, along with shallow and inaccessible programming designed to appeal to the "king of the castle" guy like Cool Tools, and programs consisting entirely of outdated tips spewed out by rent-a-spokesmen on the Today Show. And as of late 2012 unfortunately, much of the DIY archive, along with older HGTV programs such as Paul James' gardening shows and Room by Room has now been repurposed into I Love the 80s-esque snarkfests with D-list celebrities and comedians making fun of the designs in vogue at the start of HGTV (and yes, the hosts) and hosted by Joey Lawrence called That's So 80s/90s!. That Carol Duvall and the guys of Hands On have no recourse against their educational content being turned into comedic material is a bit infuriating to fans who remember DIY in the old days.
- "Independent" television stations in North America are an endangered species; many channels arose beginning in the 1960's and through to the 1980's with absolutely no network affiliation of any kind. These channels still managed to air just as wide a variety of programs as network affiliates, but they had the added benefit of being able to program their own primetime lineup, often with "first-run" syndicated programs and coverage of local sports. Some stations also operated scrambled premium television services for all or part of their broadcast day. The concept of independent stations began to fall out of favor with the growth of cable television, which began to offer the same variety, if not wider, that the independents previously offered (ironically, one of these channels happened to be an independent station, Superstation TBS in Atlanta, although it transitioned itself into a traditional cable channel in the late-2000s). Not helping matters was the establishment of brand new television networks to compliment the "big three", such as Fox (which eventually ascended to being a de facto fourth major), and later UPN and The WB.
Stations affiliated with home shopping services and religious networks (such as TBN) also began to spread. Paxson Communications would go the way of taking over channels with an all-infomercial network in 1996, before they too would introduce a network in the form of Pax (which, ironically, would end up consisting mostly of infomercials). However, independent stations were still an occasional fixture of the television landscape; near the turn of the century, Berry Diller's USA Broadcasting flipped several HSN affiliates (most prominently WAMI in Miami) to an independent "CityVision" format (patterned off Toronto's Citytv — an independent that later evolved into a conventional network) that had an aggressive focus on locally-produced programming. However, by 2002, the company had folded, and the stations were sold to Univision as the basis of its new sister network Telefutura (now UniMas).
UPN and The WB would merge to form The CW in 2006, prompting Fox to create a new sister network, MyNetworkTV, for stations that were displaced by the merger. Its attempts at first-run programs were generally considered a failure, prompting the network to retool itself as a syndication package for off-network reruns instead. The transition to digital terrestrial television also brought the ability to divide a single signal into multiple channels with different programming; following the transition, a slew of specialty networks designed for carriage on these subchannels (typically as a value-added service on top of the main affiliation) began to proliferate, often relying on acquired programming (such as off-network and "retro" television series, films, or other narrowly-targeted and niche format). As these services tend to have a full, centralized schedule of networked programming (not unlike a cable channel), a station could get by just running multiple subchannel networks rather than deal with having to acquire programming on their own, and all they would need is someone to sell the ads, someone to run everything else, and someone to watch.
Most of the remaining U.S. independent stations are tied in some way to a major broadcasting company and may be a sister station to a major network affiliate (such as CBS's WLNY and KCAL, Fox's KICU, and WPCH Atlanta, the former WTBS — which is now owned by the local CBS station). Some independents, especially those that may have previously been an affiliate of one of the "six major networks" (including WGN in Chicago, WJXT in Jacksonville, WDVM in Hagerstown, and most recently WHDH in Boston), as well as KUSI San Diego, tend to rely heavily on their local news programming to pad out their daily schedules, often by scheduling newscasts in unconventional time slots (such as during the 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. primetime hours to provide an alternative to network fare)).
Nowadays, the stations closest to the format of a traditional independent without technically being independent, are stations which carry MyNetworkTV or The CW. Barring the latter's one-hour daytime talk show and 3-hour E/I block, both networks only program two hours of primetime on limited days of the week (with MNTV only programming weekdays, and CW programming weekdays and Sundays as of the 2018-19 season), and do not have national news or sports programming — meaning that affiliates have significantly less network programming to work around than big three stations. Plus, due to its current status as a bottom-feeder with no first-run programs, some MNTV stations (including, ironically, two Fox-owned stations, one which is also affiliated with The CW) pre-empt its programming into the late-night hours, and may downplay the affiliation in their overall branding (some Fox-owned MNTV outlets have been re-branded as offshoots of their respective Fox station, such as "Fox 9 Plus" or "Fox 5 Plus", as opposed to previous names such as "My 29") because in its current form, MyNetworkTV is not really much of a network anymore.