America's Got Cable: History vs. Investigation Discovery


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

OLD BUSINESS: The people—SOME of them, anyway—have spoken, and they do NOT like Nancy Grace. Congratulations go to...


****************************************CNBC!****************************************

Good call, you guys. While some of us respect HLN for its occasional usefulness, I think we all agree that CNBC has tons more to offer. Both sides had some great explanations for their votes; here are some that were clearly written by people who are winning at life:

NateDogTheGreat: "HLN's interpretation of what important news is falls short of anything relevant and, instead, consists of mainly celebrity-centric coverage and drama-bloated court cases that are only appealing because of their soap operaness. (They make up news, can't I make up words?)"

aondieki: "I choose HLN because, unintentional as it may be, its comedy value is much MUCH higher than CNBC. Also, Jane Velez-Mitchell's mullet FTW!"

whatupwiththat: "CNBC. Just because when I was channel surfing, I landed on Nancy Grace, and my TV exploded. You owe me $250, Nancy Grace."


NEW BUSINESS: This week's battle will be a fact-based NIGHTMARE.


History

Background: Back in the olden days of 1995, a little network called The History Channel burst onto the scene like an antique cannonball fired from an old-timey cannon. Like many cable channels, History Channel began with a central specialty—in this case, historical documentaries and the kind of educational entertainment traditionally found on PBS. An initially stodgy brand, The History Channel came to attract a wide audience with its Nazis-and-Nostradamus-heavy lineup, and after years of incorporating more and more tangentially (but highly-) rated reality shows, a 2008 rebranding to just "History" cemented the channel's place as one of the most accessible and entertaining networks on cable.

Original Programming: The majority of History's programming consists of its bread-and-butter documentary specials. Although its original lineup included more varied subject matter (like, for example, international history or events that occurred more than 100 years ago), these days we're more likely to find specials about 2012, the occult, and, of course, Nazis. However, History has become a heavy hitter during primetime, with reality offerings like Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Ax Men, Swamp People, Ice Road Truckers, hypothetical history chronicle Life After People, and target practice "hit" Top Shot, plus History's recent foray into red-state humor, Only In America with Larry the Cable Guy.

Reruns: Like NatGeo, History has amassed so much original (and eminently rerun-able) in-house content, it has little need to syndicate outside shows.

Why It's The Best: History is the perfect combination of classy and trashy.

Why It's The Worst: I'd probably prefer watching stodgy educational specials over marathon airings of shows about hicks with terrible jobs, but that's just me.


Investigation Discovery

Background: Sometime in the mid-1990s, somebody must've splashed some water on the Discovery Channel and fed it after midnight, because dang! So many Discovery Channel spin-offs popped up! One of them was christened the very distinguished moniker of Discovery Civilization Network: The World History and Geography Channel. The name pretty well sums up its primary subject matter at the time, but in 2003 the channel was rebranded to Discovery Times in honor of its new co-owner, the New York Times. That partnership was short-lived, and in 2008, Discovery's then wholly owned child was renamed yet again to Investigation Discovery and given a higher purpose: to be the most incredibly entertaining murder-themed channel on the air.

Original Programming: As long as folks are getting murdered, Investigation Discovery will keep cranking out the hits. Deadly Women, On the Case with Paula Zahn, Stolen Voices, Main Street Mysteries, Buried Secrets, Disappeared, Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry, and I (Almost) Got Away With It are among countless other nearly interchangeable (in a good way!) shows that prove just how bizarre and horrifying non-fiction can be.

Reruns: The most prominent reruns featured on Investigation Discovery are the true-crime shows that originally aired on other networks, particularly 48 Hours and Dateline. However, many of these reruns are actually IMPROVED since their original broadcasts, in that many of them have been updated with additional information on how their respective cases have developed since then.

Why It's The Best: Almost any time of day, one can flip to this channel and be confronted with a living nightmare. Crime is horrible! But also endlessly fascinating? Last Halloween I watched a four-hour marathon of American Occult and learned about a satanic prostitution ring in Baltimore who'd murder hookers that stepped on their turf. #powerfulstuff

Why It's The Best: Once you've seen one terrible re-enactment, you've seen them all. (I want to see them all, but that's just me).

 


Official TV.com Verdict:

Not gonna lie, my television is rarely tuned to anything other than Investigation Discovery. It gives me nightmares. It makes me want to write crime novels. I LOVE this channel. (Note: I don't ever want to be ON this channel, okay?)

But now it's your turn! COMMENT BELOW and tell us your verdict: History or Investigation Discovery? And make your case! What do you love or hate about each channel?


Click below to see the full tournament bracket, and read previous America's Got Cable stories here.

Comments (44)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY ALL THE WAY! Best channel ever.
Reply
Flag
ID
Reply
Flag
ID all the way!!
Reply
Flag
There's more history on a 1 hour ID TV show than the "History" Channel shows in a whole week! I don't know ..maybe I'm getting old..but I remember when MTV played music videos, the history channel had actual history instead of republican-alaska propagana and space alien gibberish, and the biography channel didn't have 24/7 mobster showcases.
Reply
Flag
ID all the way. I watch this channel every day. It fills up my dvr. ON THE CASE WITH PAULA ZAHN and TRUE CRIME WITH APHRODITE JONES are amazing. Very well researched and presented. Very interesting cases. I don't like the shows with reenactments. 48 Hours Mystery and 48 Hours ID are all updated and not just aired repeats. This channel is very classy while showing some scary stuff. A +++ Totally addicted!!
Reply
Flag
Hard choice.. Have to hand it to ID tho.
Reply
Flag
ID - I'd had it with the History Channel when they started putting out all that religious nonsense as history.

History Channel leads TOO far to the right for MY tastes.
Reply
Flag
ID people! Don't people get tired of learning about Hitler
Reply
Flag
ID all the way!!! I know most people say tv shouldn't make you think, but ID does and I love it for that.
Reply
Flag
ID - hands down! While I'm a big history buff, I fail to see what the History Channel's primetime lineup has to do with ACTUAL history! On the other hand - ID is exactly what it says it is - I love this station! (To be fair though, they could ease up on the reruns a bit, the same 5-6 shows in a 24-hour block gives monotonous a new meaning!)
Reply
Flag
While I do enjoy some programming on History Channel....I am ALL about Investigation Discovery!!!! I have been addicted to it since it first came on!!!
Reply
Flag
Investigation Discovery here!
Reply
Flag
Definitely ID, History is boring! LOVE ID! Watch it every day!
Reply
Flag
ID!! Where else on cable can you find as much engaging programming? Not to mention different from the usual Housewives of Anywhere or singing competition!
Reply
Flag
Investigation Discovery is the best hands down I Love that station!!!!!!!
Reply
Flag
ID is AWESOME! History is good but sooooo boring. I'd rather watch the same episode of Deadly Women 4 times in a row than watch one of History's dry war documentaries.
Reply
Flag
Going with Discovery ID. Love all the shows. I could watch it all day, every day.
Reply
Flag
ID
Reply
Flag
I'm giving it to History, because when all the other channels are trying to copy your show, you must be doing it wrong. So horribly wrong.
Reply
Flag
History Channel -- not for the stupid reality shows, but for the actual history programs. Plus, I can't stand sensational "journalists" like Aphrodite Jones.
Reply
Flag
ID is one of my FAVORITE TV stations. I still DVR the New Detectives and The FBI files. One of my favorite shows is FBI Pursuit. This station offers so much. I am a crime person anyway. If it ain't all the CSI shows, Law & Order (All new/repeats), ALL crime dramas and Discovery ID, I do not watch it ( well.... I am addicted to TLC too).
Reply
Flag
Investigation Discovery because I am trying to construct a plan to commit the perfect murder...I am just kidding. I watch shows about murder all day simply bc I am weird and I never plan to use the information for evil purposes. I promise.
Reply
Flag
ID is my favorite channel! I especially love the show "Disappeared." History Channel has a couple of good shows, Pawn Stars is entertaining, Larry the Cable Guy is really funny, but I absolutely have to watch ID. It seems like there's always something good on @ID. It's the only channel where the shows end too soon. History Channel I watch once or twice a week, ID every single day/night.
Reply
Flag
Investigation Discovery, because they creepily whisper the channel's name 11 times during commercial breaks. Also, the commercials are just previews for the shows to come. No need to fast forward!
Reply
Flag
History Channel.
Reply
Flag
History FTW!!!
Reply
Flag
Investigation Discovery. Simply because high school teachers use History Channel specials like a new form of water-boarding. I still have torture flashbacks.
Reply
Flag
I'm going with I.D. because I have grown a liking to Discovery Channel and its other channels (or as I call them children). Why I didn't pick History is because whenever I'm channel surfing I never find any thing interesting to watch on that channel. Albeit I'm currently watching "The Kennedy's".
Reply
Flag
History Channel FTW
Reply
Flag
I must say that I am intrigued by Investigation Discovery now, not having heard of it before; and I always watch 48 Hours and Dateline when they are on CBS and NBC respectively. But, I must also say that even though I dissaprove of pretty much History channels' entire primetime line up, History still gets my vote!
Reply
Flag
History channel, and its not even close.
Reply
Flag
I don't get I.D. here at my college but when I'm home visiting my parents, my TV never strays from it. It's addicting. As for History Channel (which I do get here at school)...well, it's alright, but I can't think of the last time I watched it...
Reply
Flag
Investigation Discovery Channel FTW!! I love all the crime shows on here, and you can only watch so much on the Nazis, and 2012. BORING ZZzz!!!!
Reply
Flag
History Channel. I stay away from the reality programming and just watch it for the docs, and reruns or no, they are still very entertaining and informative. The America: The Story of Us series was simply amazing, well researched and filmed and firmly cements it as one of the best learning channels on TV today. Not to say I don't like Investigation Discovery, I love Most Evil, but with all the procedural crime shows on TV these days, it's just more of the same. With better narrators.
Reply
Flag
History
Reply
Flag
I like them both so this is going to be hard but I watch History Channel a lot more because of History Mysteries and Monster Quest which I love but I wish they wouldn't show so many shows about the Nazis and Hitler But I also like ID Channel because of Who the Bleep Did I Marry.
Reply
Flag
History. I love me some Pawn Stars.
Reply
Flag
Ive actually never heard of Investigation Discovery but you sold it pretty well and anything is better then the ten reality shows that are exactly the same on the History channel so ill go with Investigation discovery.
Reply
Flag
Investigation Discovery. It is always interesting to see so many different aspects of many different crimes.
Reply
Flag
I get enough crime on every other channel on TV. Do I wish the History Channel showed more non-Nazi themed historical pieces? Goodness yes. But I like history, and the History Channel is still by far the best place to get it on TV today.
Reply
Flag
History. I could watch their vampire and occult specials every day. Also, interesting other history stuff.
Reply
Flag
I'm going to give it to Investigation Discovery. You can only watch shows about the Nazis so many times before it starts to get stale. However, the morbid fascination with crime never goes away!
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook