America's Got Cable: The Search for the Country's Finest Cable Channel

Attention, readers of TV.com:

Ever since the inception of cable television, the old joke has gone that no matter how many channels we have, there's never anything on. Well, that joke needs to go jump in a grave, because it is NOT TRUE. Sure, we might TELL ourselves that cable doesn't have much to offer in order to ease the pain of missing out on most of it. But let's be honest: There is more good stuff on right this minute than you'll ever have the time to actually watch.

The time has come, then, to finally sort through and rank the channels for which we overpay every month. So TV.com is pleased to present our new weekly series, America's Got Cable: The Hunt for America's Finest Cable Channel. We want to know what cable channel is MOST worthy of our valuable time, and WE NEED YOUR HELP to find it.

Every week, we'll present to you two cable channels facing off in our tournament-style bracket, and you'll tell us which one you prefer. We'll use the most perfect form of democracy in existence, as invented by American Idol: WE will offer our own judgments, but YOU will be the ultimate arbiters of who moves on to the next round.


When you cast your vote in the comments, here are some useful criteria to keep in mind:

... How good is the network's ORIGINAL programming?

... Is the channel easy on the eyes and ears? Do you like its graphics and jingles, or does the announcer shout too much? (Hi, Bravo!)

... Most channels air reruns of old shows. Did the channel choose GOOD shows to rerun?

... Does the channel add to the popular culture? (Example: TLC gave birth to Ty Pennington)


Also, to keep things fair, we're looking at BASIC cable channels only, no premiums. (Sorry, HBO!)


Please DON'T use the following criteria to judge a channel:

... The channel's original purpose. Who cares if MTV isn't about music anymore? A channel's only purpose is to be entertaining.


Now that all that's out of the way... Are you ready? I'm scared, hold me. Okay, here we go!

This week's battle:

E!

Background: Originally conceived as a movie-centric channel specializing in movie trailers, making-of specials, and filmmaker interviews, E! Entertainment Television has transformed itself into the foremost purveyor of all things celebrity. One of the few cable channels with a daily news broadcast, the channel not only facilitates and contributes to celebrity image-making, it also regularly celebrates celebrity annihilation. Heck, E! even CREATES celebrities out of thin air now. It's like a circle of life over there!
Why It's The Best: As mentioned before, few channels rival E!'s facility with celebrity news, live awards coverage and riveting documentary storytelling (see: True Hollywood Story). But also, I've got two words for you: THE SOUP. It's one of the funniest shows on television and it couldn't exist without E!'s contributions to the celebrity sphere.
Why It's The Worst: Unfortunately the bad outweighs the good by a long shot. There are a hundred thousand reality shows about the Kardashians or Playmates or BOTH. Ryan Seacrest. Not to mention E!'s two lowest points to date: Pretty Wild and Bridalplasty. The former starred a truly reprehensible girl who was later arrested for her involvement in L.A.'s notorious "Bling Ring" and the latter involves BRIDALPLASTIES.


Comedy Central

Background: Comedy Central's birth name was The Comedy Channel, but the channel was rechristened after it merged with its nemesis, rival comedy channel HA!, in 1991. The initial programming was extremely low-budget, mostly consisting of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and other late-night movies. Later, the network splurged on reruns of SNL while forging hits out of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher and a Craig Kilborn-led The Daily Show. After finding moderate success with original series like Dr. Katz Professional Therapist and Exit 57, Comedy Central finally struck gold with South Park, Chappelle's Show, and its current must-watch daily broadcast The Colbert Report.
Why It's The Best: Except for a grim period involving Carlos Mencia, most of Comedy Central's best-rated programs are genuinely great. South Park is still strong after all these years, plus Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert continue to kill it on weeknights. New kid on the block Tosh.0 has really come into its own, and Comedy Central continues to take chances on some of the weirdest sketch comedy this side of Adult Swim.
Why It's The Worst: When Comedy Central misses, it misses HARD. Remember Krod Mandoon? Or The Jeff Dunham Show? Plus, the channel's schizophrenic nature means left-leaning shows like The Daily Show air alongside things like Blue Collar Comedy, which means that 50 percent of its target audience is annoyed at any given time. Even worse, occasionally Comedy Central stumbles onto something wonderful, like Strangers With Candy or TV Funhouse, and then unceremoniously dumps it when unsure of how to promote it. Very frustrating!

 
Official TV.com Verdict

It's not even close, you guys. COMEDY CENTRAL all the way.

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

Click the image below to see the full tournament bracket; we'll be back next Thursday with this week's results and a new match-up!

Comments (88)
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E!
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Comedy Central because I love watching the roast!
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E!
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If "The Soup" moved to CC, where it rightfully belongs, they could shut down E! (for "Ewww!) and nobody would notice. Does that answer the question?
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comdy centeral daily show corbert
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i can't think of the last time i watched E...
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E! Surprises the heck out of me! For all the reasons you said, I should like CC, but I find I watch E! more often. Not the reality stupidity but the "Teen stars grown up", etc. or True Hollywood Story. The humor on CC has become too gross for me. More for young boys.
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Upon further review.... This 'competition' is insulting and racist. Why would you put ther lily white CMT against the all black BET?? No matter who wins that bracket, you lose. Shouldn't BET go against Centric?
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Why are tyou wasting your time and ours by having such a stupid 'competition'. I have hundreds of channels, but never heard of or never watched many of them. WHO CARES???
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Comedy Central @CharlesRichmond took the words right out of my mouth.
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Comedy Central
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Comedy Central. The Daily show made the Bush years almost bearable
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Comedy Central
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Comedy Central all the way! Tosh.0 in itself makes it number 1 in my book. And The Colbert Report is also crazy amazing.
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Comedy Central, this battle was unfair.
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IFC and Onion News Network/Sportsdome!!
Funniest new stuff on now!!!
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I vote CC but USA is the BEST cable network by far.
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I watch CC more often than E, although I love E for Chelsea Lately... hmm.
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I must admit i am more a Sy-Fy channel guy or else Showtime. But of these channels clearly Comedy Channel The Daily Show, South Park and Futurama, have can you resist. :-)
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Comedy Central! I never watch E!, and Comedy Central has some funny shows, like South Park. I used to watch South Park, but I haven't in a while.
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Comedy Central
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Comedy Central
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Comedy Central
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CC :)
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I have crushes on both Joel McHale and Stephen Colbert, and I love both of their shows, but I have to go with Comedy Central. E! makes me physically ill 95% of the time I see it, and while Comdey Central is far from my favorite cable channel, it's definitely preferable.
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Since Comedy Central introduced me to my favorite show, Mystery Science Theater 3000, I'll vote for them.
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Jon Stewart > the soup
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Comedy Central.E is so stupid with the idiiotic Fashion Police,The stupid Sex in the city and the Hot but stupid Kardashians
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to be honest, I don't care for either. I watched Soup once, but didn't find it that entertaining.....however, I do watch South Park occasionally...So I guess its Comedy Central
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Comedy Central!
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Other than "The Soup", E! has nothing but spoiled annoying morons with zero talent getting their own reality series. And although I am not usually a fan of crude comedy, Comedy Central stills kicks E!'s butt. So my vote is for COMEDY CENTRAL.
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i love the soup but COMEDY CENTRAL HANDS DOWN
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Comedy Central is Better. E might as well be called K! for Kardashians since they hijacked the channel! Comedy Central still has original programming, cool movies, and an over all satisfying mix!
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I don't care for celebrity realty shows, so Comedy Central wins out with me.
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Just for the Roasts alone this is a clear victory for Comedy Central.
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I must say Comed Central mostly because of South Park, The Daily Show With J.S. and the Colbert Report.
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Comedy Central no question. Seriously only South Park tops every other show in the universe.
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I go with E! plainly because i love The Soup
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Comedy Central without a doubt. It's really a no contest. Besides the soup, E really doesn't have any big name shows. They're all about the same and that's why you usually find people just referring to it as the E channel. Comedy Central's Daily show/Colbert Report Are sheer power houses that, alone, could take them to the final rounds of this contest but add in the Juggernaut that is South Park and you can't lose. Tosh.0 completes the round up and finishes anything left standing.
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Very difficult. I love Chelsea Lately, some of those crap reality shows and The Soup and I also love Daily/Colbert and a bunch of other stuff on CC. All in all, prolly CC.
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I couldnt live with out my daily dose of jon stewart. Keep up the funny CC
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CC al the way! And Onion News Network!
Funniest Sh## on tv going!!!!!
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I also want a button to click!
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An obvious win for Comedy Central. As much as I love The Soup, it can't make up for the other programs they have . Even if all Comedy Central aired was Tosh.0 and The Daily Show, it would still win.
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I will take Comedy Central for 500 Alex !!!
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I refuse to vote in comments. Give me a button to click.
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Pretty easy....Comedy Central. Tosh.0, Daily Show and South Park. Kinda sad premium channels arent in the race though.
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I love the Soup, but I gota give my vote to Comedy Central. I love tuning in to random stand up specials just to see who's funny and who's not. Plus laughter beats out annoying "celebrities" any day!
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Comedy Central gets my vote. I can't say no 2 the Chapelle's Show. Also they revived Futurama.
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