America's Got Cable: TBS vs. TNT

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

OLD BUSINESS: The readers of TV.com have spoken and the winner of last week's bout between E! and Comedy Central is...


*********************************COMEDY CENTRAL*********************************


Because duh. OBVIOUSLY it's better than E! Still though, this is a democracy so a bad decision was definitely possible. What a delightful surprise, then that Comedy Central won out with an insane margin of 67 to 5. Ouch! Sorry, E!, that's rough. Let's not rub it in too hard though, you guys. It's tough out there for a cable channel. Okay, E!, go sleep this one off. IN A GRAVE.


NEW BUSINESS: Now that that's out of the way, let's take a look at this week's battle:

TBS

Background: TBS is one of the oldest networks in existence and basically INVENTED the idea of basic cable. Originally an independent UHF station in the South that aired Braves games and black-and-white reruns, eccentric owner Ted Turner recognized an opportunity when cable/satellite providers needed more channels to transmit. Although this "Superstation" continued to broadcast as a local station in Georgia, Turner spun it off into a national version, complete with its own advertising and lineup, which included mostly movie reruns and classic sitcoms and later professional wrestling. TBS has lately refashioned itself into a more comedic enterprise, producing a slate of family sitcoms (including a pair from Tyler Perry) and famously becoming the new home of Conan O'Brien.

Original Programming: Today's slate of TBS original programming is a bit of a mixed bag, depending on your point of view. Tyler Perry's House of Pain and [Tyler Perry's] Meet the Browns have become mainstays; they air alongside the Ice Cube movie spin-off Are We There Yet? and period college comedy Glory Daze. Personally, TBS has a lot more going for it when it comes to late-night TV, as both Conan and Lopez Tonight bring great stuff on weeknights.

Reruns: TBS has really improved its rerun slate in recent years, boasting not only pop-culture favorites American Dad! and My Name is Earl, but also Family Guy and The Office. Even its older selections are great: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Married with Children and Saved by the Bell.

Why It's The Best: TBS is VERY watchable, especially when it comes to reruns. Plus it's hard not to view TBS as a bit of a white knight for giving beleaguered hero Conan O'Brien a safe haven. Sure, he may not be besting Leno in the ratings (TBS's smaller audience may be a contributing factor), but his content is as watercooler-worthy as ever.

Why It's The Worst: Remember when TBS shows used to start five minutes later than everything else? What was THAT about? Anyway, TBS's original sitcoms are tolerable at best, and while its syndicated reruns are great, I can easily watch those elsewhere (and with fewer commercials). Basically it seems like I only watch TBS when I'm flipping channels.


TNT

Background: The success of TBS led Ted Turner to start up a number of sister stations, including TNT in 1988. Its original purpose seemed to function as place to air spillover from TBS, mostly focusing on old movies, professional wrestling, and NFL games. Eventually, TNT began exploring original content with things like MonsterVision starring the awesome Joe Bob Briggs, the final season of Babylon 5, and Witchblade. Then, in the early 2000s, TNT started emphasizing its "We Know Drama" angle by picking up tons of serialized dramas and procedurals and eventually producing several of its own.

Original Programming: The current TNT lineup includes several well-regarded hits like The Closer, HawthoRNe, and Leverage as well as relative newcomers Men of a Certain Age and Rizzoli & Isles. Its acquisition of the critical hit Southland only upped its critical bona fides and the upcoming alien invasion serial Falling Skies promises to keep TNT on the radar for the near future.

Reruns: TNT's reruns lineup is absolutely stacked with hit procedurals like Bones, Cold Case, Law & Order and CSI:NY, but it also boasts several cult faves like Angel and Supernatural.

Why It's The Best: Much like TBS, there's almost always something very watchable on TNT at any given moment.

Why It's The Worst: SO MANY PROCEDURALS. We get it, people like to have identical storybeats before pre-designated commercial breaks. But this means that very little on TNT ever seems to be MUST-SEE, leaving the average viewer with a take-it-or-leave-it feeling (even though that viewer probably only channel surfed there to begin with).


Official TV.com Verdict:

This is a tough one! Both TBS and TNT have great selling points, and neither one is terrible. However, as a comedy nerd, I'll give the edge to TBS. But if Falling Skies ends up being as good as it looks, this opinion could change.

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

Click below to see the full tournament bracket:

Comments (85)
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i would say TNT cause it just more shows that i like then TBS
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tbs
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TNT! The shows are just so much better-and no canned laugh-tracks
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Tnt is the best.
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TBS (for Conan.. and maybe Family Guy)
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TNT, of course! If for no other reason than "Closer" and "Men of a Certain Age."
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well you forgot to mention that during the NBA season you got some real great commentators like Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith. I enjoy watching the NBA on TNT during the NBA season. Especially with these guys. TNT all the way!!!
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TNT!!
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TNT is def. the winner Hawthorne, Leverage, and Rizzole and Isles are better than anything TBS can produce
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TNT to win!!
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TNT for obvious reasons The Closer,Men Of A Certain Age,Rizzoli & Isles)
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TBS is funny and TNT is serious...how can the two be compared..? If I had to pick, its TBS. I love watching reruns of all the shows I grew up with (Seinfeld, Saved by the Bell, friends)
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TNT by far! The amount of original programming is great for a cable channel and a lot of TBS' lineup are weak comedy reruns. My viewing is 20-to-1 TNT over TBS.
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TNT. No Contest. Great reruns and fantastic originals. Men of a Certain Age is not a procedural and fresh programming. I am up early and TNT has watchable reruns even at that hour.
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Don't watch anything on TBS, but several shows on TNT and looking forward to Falling Skies. So TNT for the win.
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Hmmmm I've never even watched anything on TBS before, TNT on the other hand has a whole batch of shows that I love. So for me, it's TNT, it wins hands down.
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Damn, this is a tough one. I love TBS for its reruns and Conan is hysterical!
But I LOVE Leverage, and the Bones reruns, while I hate TBS's Tyler Perry nonsense.
I love comedy, but I have to say that TNT IS BETTER. Sorry!
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TNT - no contest
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TBS! Love "Are We There Yet!"
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TNT for me....I absolutely love the gritty Southland, and I need more BRENDA!! The closer is an absolute must!
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TBS: just for conan
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TNT: Leverage and Rizzoli & Isles. Plus reruns include Angel and Supernatural, what's not to like?
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TNT for Leverage and hopefully falling skies..
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TNT because they have The Closer and Leverage and for saving the BEST cop show SOUTHLAND! Can't wait for Falling Skies. And Tyler Perry is just not funny...
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TNT: Leverage and Closer
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TNT also has the best part of the NBA playoffs! I like them both, but I seem to watch TNT much more often than TBS.
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They mean what they say....TNT KNOWS DRAMA!!!
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as much as i love tbs i have to give it to TNT because i am addicted to leverage
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TNT wins in my book. Leverage is one the best shows on TV, throw in The Closer and Rizzoli and Isles and it's a done deal. Can't wait for Falling Skies to begin.
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TNT wins just for having Parker the Schizophrenic Super-Thief on it.
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I don't watch TNT and mainly watch TBS for Conan, but I'll go with TNT based on their original programming. TBS just has talk shows, and a handful of Tyler Perry comedies while TNT has a variety of dramas.

Plus, I'm still kinda pissed at TBS for interrupting Family Guy with promos for the Bill Engval Show
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TNT wins the original shows on TBS are okay but TNT has awesome original programs and awesome reruns where else can you watch supernatural, charmed and angel... nowhere else
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TBS wins. Love the comedy. But hard choice, and TNT's dramas are getting better and better. That being said, Reruns have it and comedy reruns over procedural. Ask me again next year, I may give it the other way around. TNT original programming getting better and better.
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love the programs on TNT and love the SEINFELD reruns on TBS
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TNT - original programming is better and the procedurals can come in handy for background noise
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TNT!!
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What's up with putting TBS and TNT against each other in the first round? Both are top 5 networks in prime time and each deserved a first round bye. Also, orchestrating a showdown between TBS/TNT and USA in the second round (the biggest rivalry in basic cable) is a letdown.
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TNT all the way! I can't wait for Falling Skies!
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TNT
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TBS for CoCo!!
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I love TBS for Conan, but that's basically it. I'll have to go with TNT for Leverage, Rizzoli & Isles, Hawthorne, The Closer and Saving Grace.
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TNT for Raising the Bar, Leverage, Rizolli & Isles, The Closer & Saving Grace
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TNT! Leverage & Falling Skies
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TNT: Leverage & Beth Riegrasf
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I hate to say this but TNT wins. It has a fair ammount of cult hits, Supernatural, Charmed, Angel. And also some great Dramas, Southland, Las Vegas, and Bones. And I hope that Falling Skies is as good as it looks.
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TNT : Southland
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How do you leave out Southland as part of TNT's original programming? TBS definitely has better reruns, but with so many easier ways of watching old shows (NetFlix, Hulu, Dvd, torrents) I haven't watched a rerun on TV in years. TNT wins for original programming.
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