America's Got Cable: BBC America vs. truTV

Welcome to another head-thumping week of America's Got Cable: The Search for the Nation's Finest Basic Cable Channel!

OLD BUSINESS: Attractive teens and the Lord go together like peanut butter and chocolate! Congratulations goes to...

*************************************ABC FAMILY*************************************

Good call, you guys. Also, thanks for keeping in mind that two channels don't have to be super similar in order to vote on which one is more entertaining. That is the ONLY criteria that matters, right? I loved these comments:

Amaya-Fire: "I had enough teenage drama in high school. GSN gets my vote."

CrimeDramaBee: "Hearing crazy people yelling all the time just gets to me, I guess. ABC Family because I actually enjoy watching some of their shows."

LPHeadstrong: "This was the first AGC article I read! Until now I thought this was a reality show that got a lot of attention on! Huh. The more you know. Also, ABC Family!" [Ed. note: Haha, welcome?]

NEW BUSINESS: This next matchup will be covered to death by the world's trashiest tabloids!

BBC America

Background: Americans may not know this, but anyone who watches TV in the UK is forced to pay a mandatory "television license" fee, which basically pays for the BBC. Can you imagine if WE had to directly pay for Bachelor Pad or Marriage Ref? There'd be rioting in the streets! Good thing we pay for things the old-fashioned way, staring blankly at advertisements and then feeling mysteriously compelled to buy these products later. Anyway! BBC America launched in 1998 as a member of the Discovery Channel family and because UK citizens shouldn't have to pay for EVERYTHING, it runs advertising. Since its inception, BBC America has been mostly a repository for the BBC's formidable array of original series, but lately has begun to rerun American shows as well as produce original content.

Original Programming: Define "original." A majority of BBC America's programming is original TO US, but let's be real, it's mostly reruns or simulcasts of the mothership's programming. In addition to its daytime BBC news coverage, some of the more well-known shows include Doctor Who, Law & Order: UK, various Gordon Ramsay shows (the ones with British contestants), Top Gear, Being Human, Peep Show, Primeval, the James May specials, and upcoming BBC America co-production The Fades.

Reruns: Lately BBC America's been airing more American reruns for some reason, including Battlestar Galactica, The X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The Tudors.

Why It's The Best: Not to be a nerd about it, but IT'S THE BBC. Look at the stats: At least 85 percent of the BBC's programming is awesome. It's a scientific fact.

Why It's The Worst: Many BBC series were not intended to include commercial breaks, so it can be awkward when an episode suddenly cuts to a tampon commercial midway through a scene.


Background: Way back in 1991, America demanded a courtroom-themed cable channel—and thus Court TV was born. Jointly owned by Time Warner, NBC, and Liberty Media, the network burst onto the scene with wall-to-wall live coverage of the Menendez trial, and most importantly, the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Like many other single-concept cable channels, the network soon began to incorporate fictional programming, reality shows, and reruns into its schedule. Then a 2006 buyout by Turner Broadcasting led to a name change: truTV.

Original Programming: During the daytime, truTV continues its bread-and-butter coverage of tabloid-friendly trials, with commentary by various on-air personalities which have included Nancy Grace, Ashleigh Banfield, Dan Abrams, and Star Jones. But its primetime schedule is largely stocked with inexpensive reality shows, including Bait Car, Hardcore Pawn, Big Brian The Fortune Seller, Forensic Files, Las Vegas Jailhouse, Operation Repo, Lizard Lick Towing, Most Shocking and World's Dumbest.

Reruns: As its original programming slate has increased, truTV has been mostly able to get by rerunning its own content. But it IS worth noting that the network used to air Homicide: Life on the Street (a.k.a. the best show ever). Credit where credit's due.

Why It's The Best: If you like true crime, truTV gives you a pretty great look into the minutiae of the criminal justice system as cases unfold.

Why It's The Worst: This channel gave birth to Nancy Grace, and while I can appreciate her various talents, which include night vision and super-sonic screams, she's not really something I want in my house. You know?

Official Verdict:

I generally like it when cable channels aren't painful to the senses. BBC America!

But now it's your turn! COMMENT BELOW and tell us your vote: BBC America or truTV? And make your case! What do you love or hate about each channel?

Want to catch up on past battles? Head over to the America's Got Cable archives.

Follow writer Price Peterson on Twitter: @pricepeterson

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