Surfs up on new channel choices
- Pete Schulberg
- Portland Tribune - Features
Bored with the same old 150 channels? Me, too. I say it's high time for another batch of new niche cable offerings. Here are my proposals Ñ and if you think these are a tad far-fetched, just remember that less than a decade ago, the Cooking Channel was believed to have as much chance as Emeril giving himself food poisoning.
The Celebrity Crime Channel: All Robert Blake, all the time? There's never any shortage of big names being accused, arrested or charged. During O.J. Simpson, this would have gotten monster viewership. Even eight years later, CNN showed a big bump in its ratings at about the time Blake was jailed. O.J. and Marcia Clark could be hosts for a nightly prime-time wrap-up.
The Worst-of-Talk Channel: Fess up. You miss those classic on-screen slugfests from 'Jerry Springer,' or the demonstration of the worst interviewing in television history that was 'The Chevy Chase Show.' If life's lost its luster ever since Geraldo got his nose broken on stage, this is your channel. As ABC's 'The Bachelor' has proved, the very worst TV is often the most entertaining TV.
The Channel-Surfing Channel: Flipping through the remote every night and constantly replacing those AA batteries is becoming tiresome. So why not let a network do it for you? Tune in and get a three-second peek at each channel on your cable or satellite system. Every once in a while, a voice could come on (representing a family member or friend) and yell, 'Stop playing with the [email protected]#$% remote!!' The CSC will be the only choice for millions of viewers who can't seem to make a choice.
The Voyeur Channel: Set up cameras backstage at fashion shows, in pro sports locker rooms and in the limos of Hollywood stars. If that doesn't pass muster with the censors, just watch and listen in on conversations of ordinary people at restaurants or even in their living rooms. Unlike 'Survivor' or 'Big Brother,' nobody would tell the participants they're on TV. Rights to privacy? Hey, these people will become celebrities Ñ they'll love it!
The One and Done Channel: No shortage of old programming here. Just replays of Blazer playoff games from the past decade or so. Late night feature: Blazer dancers Ñ then and now.
'P!' The Pundit Channel: It's gotten to the point where there are too many know-it-alls on the all-news channels É and not enough hot air time. This way, they can talk till they drop Ñ or at least get really hoarse.
The Reading Channel: So what if Oprah's dropping her book club? She only talked about her favorite reads. What we need are authors to come on and read their latest works aloud. You also could call this the Naptime Channel.