The End of the History Channel as We Know It?


It has been a few years since the History Channel actually wanted anything to do with history. They swapped out serious programming for Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Swamp People, Ax Men, and the like a long time ago. However, their sister network H2 still remained with a tiny shred of credibility, as most history-oriented shows ended up on there, even the farcical Ancient Aliens—yes, that’s just how bad the History Channel became when that insanity ended up on the better of the two networks. With a line-up of reality garbage and rednecks, and seemingly anything but history, a recent article in TV Guide noted how much the network was struggling with ratings. They also announced that H2, beginning in February, will cease to exist, and be changed to a new network called Viceland. Any history programming that we have come to know will be gone, in favor of shows that better represent the current generation’s interests, which according to Deadline Hollywood, are as follows:

Viceland will launch with a full slate of prime-time shows, including Gaycation (with Ellen Page and Ian Daniel), Huang’s World (with Eddie Huang), Noisey (with Zach Goldbaum), VICE World Of Sports (with Sal Masekela), Black Market (with Michael K. Williams), Flophouse, Party LegendsWeediquette (with Krishna Andavolu), and more…The launch of Viceland is part with Vice’s explosive growth across online and mobile as it goes after Gen-Y-ers. Vice Media also has a deal with HBO, which has been expanded and extended through 2018. It focuses on news content and includes a daily Vice newscast as well as new seasons of the Emmy-winning weekly documentary show and specials. Viceland also fulfills Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith’s ambition to have a Vice-branded cable channel. “This network is the next step in the evolution of our brand and the first step in our global roll-out of networks around the world,” said Smith.

Well, doesn’t that sound exciting? I wonder what will happen to H2 shows such as former parent network masterpiece Modern Marvels and The Universe, two highly educational series. Furthermore, I will include my desire to see Brad Meltzer’s Lost History, Monsterquest, and yes, even Ancient Aliens, because as preposterous as some of their premises may be, we sometimes do learn a little information and are entertained. Will they simply come to an end? Surely we cannot trust the History Channel to actually add historical programming back to their network?

This is the final nail in the coffin as far as I am concerned. For years, I have poked fun at these channels for some of their programming and how bad it was getting, but this really is the end. And quite frankly, it is their own fault. They had a good thing going, even when people grew tired of the endless World War II and Nazi documentaries of the 1990’s. The channel was interesting. It was serving its purpose as stated in its own namesake: History. Somewhere in 2004, it began to change, albeit slightly. Then a few years after that it veered off course and now it shall never return. They thought their viewers wanted these reality shows. They were wrong, because if it was working, ratings for the main network would be high and H2 would not be switching over to something called Viceland. What on earth is going on in this country? Is junk like this really what the younger generations want? If so, I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed to be an American. You’ll have to stick with the Smithsonian Channel from now on for real content…if you can find it in your listings.

Deadline Hollywood also stated the following: “H2 will continue to operate internationally where it is distributed in over 68 territories. Launched in 1996 as a companion channel to History, H2 mainly has been re-purposing History programming, along with new episodes of the former History series and original specials.” And we wonder why the rest of the world is beating us in everything. 

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Michael says:

    The history channel and H2 were always my favorite channels before they turned to that reality crap. Just goes to show you what a bunch of morons this country is turning into!!!!!!

  2. Monte Bullock says:

    Bring it back vice success bad

  3. lisa says:

    Like the biography channel going to FYI, this is another huge mistake. I’m really disappointed in these changes!

  4. i’m very disappointed in h2 and the biography channel switching to this nonsense. do we really need or want channels like fyi? give me the original programming anyday.

  5. SaveUsFromOurselves says:

    I guess it was only a matter of time before the H2 History Channel would finally succumb and jump on the band wagon of these so-called “reality” sleaze shows that have become so pervasive on TV and utterly tiresome to say the least. How refreshing it was to be able to watch decent shows on H2 like Ancient Aliens, America Unearthed, Modern Marvels, The Universe, Hangar 1, or Brad Meltzer’s Lost History, to name a few. These were interesting, educational, stimulating, and truly enjoyable programs to watch.

    Instead, H2 has replaced these programs with ridiculous so-called “reality of life” shows which don’t require any creative thinking or writing to produce; just shove a camera into someone’s oddball life and voila, you got yourself an instant TV show. Well H2, now that you’ve taken away the few remaining decent programs left on TV, do you really think people will continue to be loyal followers to your channel? If so, you are in for a rude awakening. I assure you, the people who watched H2 will not stay tuned to your new line-up of programs.

    Let’s start with “Noisey,” a show about a guy who goes back to his hood to meet da homeys he grew up wit from the notorious Piru gang. Are you kidding me? Or how about “Gaycation” a show about LGBTQ societies: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. (It’s insulting that gays are even clumped together with “Transgenders” and “Queers”). Oh, I can’t wait to cozy up in front of the TV for that one! Or how about “Weediquette.” Great! I can learn how to have good etiquette while smoking my weed. I can’t even begin to wonder about your other new shows like “Balls Deep.” Is your mind in the gutter, or were you hoping to force other peoples’ minds in the gutter with that suggestive title? That reminds me, I can’t wait to sit down with the family and watch your other new show with the F-word in the title. I see that you put blanks after the “F” so that we can still figure out what you’re really referring to without you having to spell it out. Guess that was pretty decent of you.

    Thanks but no thanks, H2. You ain’t gonna dumb me down wit deez kinds a programs cuz I’m fixin to block yer ass from now on.
    You disappointed me, Fredo.

  6. Keith C says:

    I consider myself open minded, but first the great programming once found on Discovery, Science Channel, what was once called Military History, now AHC, and yes, The History Channel, and H2 has been forsaken for reality shows 24/7, with H2, and some Sci channel programming remaining true to the original ideas the channels were named fir. However, they “Gen Y” crowd has been raised with no intetest in history, or science, only immoral drivel, and reality shows that have nothing to do with Science, or History, just a stoned, gay agenda. I have no problem with a petsons sexual identity, but I doubt a show about Heterocation would be acceptable to those pushing their agenda on us. I think Ancient Aliens is funny, and aling with the crazy ideas they present, there’s a ton of REAL HISTORY intertwined into every episode. I cannot watch Viceland, just the concept saddens me that our children are being indoctrinated into a Godless, immorality driven frenzy of life choices that are nothing more than a rebellious fad gone terribly wrong. If I were the king of the world, half the crap on TV would be outlawed, and channels named History, and Science would be nothing but History, and Science. If I see one more two day marathon of Pawn Stars, or American junk men,(Pickers), I’m going to puke! No wonder we spend so much on education, yet rank so low internationally, with a illiteracy rate approaching 45!!! Say no to Viceland, and no to Naked people running around in the jungle, acting like they are all alone,( do they get nice accimidations off camera like the crew? Hmm?

  7. Cannot fathom the reasoning behind what has happened to the History Channels. The garbage that is presented on these channels now are dumming down the intelligence of even the average person. I was a faithful viewer of both channels when true history and documentaries were aired. Now the lessons I learned and the enjoyment I received from these programs are lost. For the powers that be who are responsible for the changes should be ashamed of themselves for presenting such garbage

  8. Shelly says:

    I was disappointed when the History channel showed predominantly reality shows.That is all that is on television nowdays! Then I found H2 and was a loyal follower. Now H2 is showing nothing but the reality shows too! What a waste of airtime. They should keep one channel with the original documentaries and true history shows. Very unhappy with the changes in the H2 channel.

  9. Ramon says:

    I still remember the spartan series, or the alexander’s campaign fully explained by military tacticians, but that was 10 or 12 years ago, now with these stupid reality shows tv is dead.
    However, we must accept that this is what the new generations like, as hard to accept as it is, no wonder why the world is getting dumber everyday.

  10. Chris says:

    How about all those idiotic mechanics shows?, discovery and history channels suddenly declined when their top shows are a bunch of tattooed morons drooling over a motor, not all of us are mechanics or even care about cars.

    Lots of history implied in painting skulls in a car and showing off ridiculous tattoos.

  11. Stephen says:

    If you are into living on a mountain, driving a truck, or being a blacksmith, then History channel is the place for you. I don’t think the parent company understands that most of America does not aspire to be a hillbilly. The channel won’t last. It’s obvious that it will change format soon. What’s even more sad, CMT has better programming — and their focus is on the south. At least CMT doesn’t exploit their audience.

  12. Marc says:

    Great article, I absolutely agree… I miss the history channel of 2004, I could deal with the H2 shows also but 24/7 pickers and pawn stars was a turn off and way over played… hope something pops up with real history and documentaries.

  13. Lynne Wood says:

    I am a teacher and I am very disappointed in the direction that the History Channel has gone. My students used to talk excitedly to me about some moment in history that they found out about on your channel. Now no one mentions it. I used to feel proud that my students we’re supplementing their learning on their own time by watching the “History” channel. Now I pray that they are not watching the deplorable programming that you’ve elected to put on your channel. How can you in good conscience even call it the History Channel? Current school curriculums are cutting out History as it is and now these poor children will get this education from no source. Certainly most students today won’t be bothered to read about it. Students today are more electronic media oriented and I felt reassured that at least they were getting some historical background from your channel. Now I realize we are going to raise a generation that will be ignorant of the past. They won’t know about Wounded Knee, or Auschwitz, or Masada. It is a shame that they’ll not be taught about the past because those who fail to learn about the past are doomed to repeat it. I fear for our future when the past becomes unimportant. I just don’t think watching foul mouthed, over emotive, reality stars will have any benefit for our future citizens. You should think about that when you choose your programming. Thank you for your attention.

  14. Michael says:

    History Channel absolutely blows now. I don’t even LOOK at what’s on there anymore. You guys should watch AHC instead. No STUPID REALITY REDNECK CRAP. They actually show HISTORY on that channel.

    Smithsonian still has decent shows, also. All the old school great channels–History, A&E, Discovery, TLC, and Animal Planet–are all absolute CRAP now. I HATE it!

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