What's the Better Channel: ABC Family or Cartoon Network/Adult Swim?

People love oxygen but they hate Oxygen! Congratulations to...

Great comments! I liked these a lot:

withoutcanseco: "If this was a way to actually get networks off the air, that would be fantastic. Oxygen is the worst. Food Network gets my vote by about 10,000 miles."

misslee022884: "Oxygen... It doesn't make me feel bad about my unsophisticated, understocked refrigerator."

Miz_Tasha: "Maybe it's the Martha Stewart in me, but I'd rather learn how to make a chocolate souffle than see a bunch of starving girls trip over themselves on a runway. Food Network wins by a landslide."

New business!

This week's battle will NOT be family friendly!

Background: Today ABC Family is one of the best known cable channels due to its original programming and broad appeal, but many people may not be aware of its, um, unique origins. Originally founded in 1977 (!) by Pat Robertson (!) and known as the Christian Broadcasting Network, it was technically a non-profit evangelical outfit. But by 1990 it was definitely a for-profit station so it changed its name to The Family Channel and began airing more secular content considered safe for children and teenagers. (NICE teenagers, anyway). But in 1997 the network was bought by noted agnostics Fox Broadcasting and rechristened the Fox Family Channel. HOWEVER, a permanent clause in the sales contract guaranteed that Pat Robertson's daily talk show The 700 Club would continue to air regardless of network ownership for the rest of eternity (or until the Rapture happens?). So even after Disney swooped in and bought the channel in 2002, ABC Family has continued upholding that original contract by airing the leftover Christian-themed programming, albeit with heavy disclaimers distancing itself from Pat Robertson's occasionally extremist beliefs. It's possibly the most awkward arranged marriage in cable history.

Original Programming: In recent years ABC Family has put less emphasis on its ABC and Disney Channel cast-offs and put more muscle into its original programming. Kyle XY, Greek, and 10 Things I Hate About You started things off, but newer hits like Switched at Birth, Pretty Little Liars, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and The Lying Game have cemented ABC Family's place in pop culture relevancy.

Reruns: Reruns include forgettable nonsense like America's Funniest Home Videos and the borderline unwatchable Full House, but I've got two words for fans of excellent television: Gilmore Girls.

Why It's The Best: I may not be the desired demographic for this channel, but even I have to admit it's really shaping up to be the AMC Jr. of my cable package.

Why It's The Worst: The 700 Club thing is a legitimate bummer. Figure out a way to evict your lousy tenant, ABC Family!


Background: In 1991 Rich Granddaddy Ted Turner purchased the Hanna-Barbera cartoon library to go along with the vast archives of other animated content he'd acquired over the years, and celebrated by launching Cartoon Network in the fall of '92. As rival children's network Nickelodeon had begun to focus on live-action entertainment, Cartoon Network became the only network to rely primarily on animated content, and 24 hours a day at that. It was more or less an instant success; by 1994 it claimed to be the fifth most popular cable channel in the U.S. Shortly afterward, the network began to produce original content and scored immediate hits with Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, and Powerpuff Girls. Aware of its popularity among college students in the later evening hours, Cartoon network launched Adult Swim in 2001, which airs adult and—and let's be honest—stoner-friendly content. Adult Swim initially featured Home Movies and various remixes of the Hanna-Barbera vaults, including Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Harvey Birdman, The Brak Show, and Sealab 2020. Recently Cartoon Network has attempted to launch more live-action series, with mixed success.

Original Programming: While Powerpuff Girls put it on the map and things like Aqua Teen Hunger Force gave it comedy credibility, Cartoon Network's biggest current hits are Star Wars: Clone Wars, ThunderCats, Adventure Time, Regular Show, Ben 10, Generator Rex, and the Marvelous Adventures of Flapjack. Current Adult Swim favorites include Squidbillies, Eagleheart, Childrens Hospital, Delocated, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Check it Out! With Dr. Steve Brule, The Boondocks, China, IL, The Venture Brothers, and Metalocalypse. Additionally, in the middle of the night it airs various Japanese animation imports.

Reruns: Not only does Cartoon Network pull from its vast archive of older cartoons, it frequently dusts off classic series like Pee-Wee's Playhouse and Saved By the Bell, as well as British imports The Office, The Mighty Boosh, and Look Around You. To say nothing of its annual April Fool's Day tradition of airing Tommy Wiseau's classic film The Room.

Why It's the Best: Because Adult Swim.

Why It's the Worst: Because Adult Swim isn't on 24 hours a day.

Official TV.com Verdict
Adult Swim Cartoon Network.

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

Click below to see the full tournament bracket:

Note: Because we started with an odd number of channels, we gave some of the bigger channels a first-round bye.

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

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