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 Legends, Weediquette (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.