What's the Better Channel: Bravo or IFC?

UPSET! Ladies and gentleman, another Goliath has fallen. As we mourn Discovery's surprise defeat, let us also congratulate...

There were a lot of great comments this week. These were three of my faves:

DavidJackson8: "Despite having John Noble, Nathan Fillion, and Morgan Freeman staring at me as I was reading this article, I'm going with the Discovery Channel."

Miz_Tasha: "Have you ever tried turning off the Discovery Channel once you've started watching? It's very hard to do. I just gotta find out if that lion finally ate the gazelle, you know what I mean?"

FranVanster: "Science. 'I drink my urine' guy killed Discovery for me a while ago."

R.I.P. Discovery. May all your loggers and shooters and swampers and moonshiners and longshoremen not get eaten by sharks.

This week's showdown will be loud and/or quirky!

Background: Bravo began as a premium, advertisement-free network offered by Cablevision way back in 1980. At the time it mostly consisted of art films and classical performances geared toward affluent arts supporters. In the mid-'80s the channel switched from premium to basic cable, and then in the '90s it began accepting advertisements and airing more documentary series. Its biggest makeover came in 2002 when NBC purchased the network and remade it into the pop-culture reality juggernaut it is today.

Original Programming: What began with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (and a handful of other gay-friendly reality shows) led to Project Runway and Top Chef, two of TV's most prestigious reality competitions which both brought huge ratings for Bravo (at least until Lifetime poached away the former). The network has also been in the Kathy Griffin business for a while now, being the home of her annual stand-up specials and her Emmy-winning Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. But the channel's current bread and butter is its seemingly endless supply of Real Housewives, which include the highly controversial Beverly Hills cast and the much more comedic Atlanta cast.

Reruns: Bravo has stayed true to its roots by occasionally airing critically acclaimed films (and related episodes of Inside the Actors' Studio), in addition to airing outsourced entertainment like House and America's Next Top Model.

Why It's the Best: Despite an over-reliance on sensationalized reality TV that threatens to cross over into VH1 territory, Bravo is an undeniably upbeat, fun place to spend an hour or ten.

Why It's the Worst: Must the announcer be so shouty?


Background: The Independent Film Channel is another one of those surprisingly old cable channels that’s only recently burst into popular consciousness by overhauling its image and mission statement. Back in 1994, IFC was originally established as a sister channel to Bravo (remember, that's when Bravo was still considered a movie channel), and it aired primarily independent films uncut and commercial-free. After an acquisition by AMC Networks (and after dwelling on the fringes of basic cable for, oh, 16 years or so), in March 2010 the channel rebranded itself, began airing original programming, and (unfortunately) began including commercial breaks.

Original Programming: At least those advertising dollars are going to a good cause—IFC has TERRIFIC original programming, particularly comedies. Shows like Onion News Network, David Cross’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, and recently departed sketch stalwart The Whitest Kids U’Know share schedule space with the amazing Food Party and the amazinger Portlandia. Basically, if you like your comedy conceptual and weird, IFC is your home away from Adult Swim.

Reruns: IFC really knows how to pick ‘em. For a while it’s been repurposing British and Canadian series like Kids In the Hall: Death Comes to Town, Dead Set, The IT Crowd, and Monty Python stuff. But its American rerun track record is just as good: Arrested Development, Freaks & Geeks, The Larry Sanders Show and Mr. Show. But also, you know, IFC still airs movies. GREAT ones. Today alone, IFC will air Alien and Bad Lieutenant!

Why It's the Best: IFC may still be a plucky underdog of a channel, but for quality comedy and sheer good taste it really is tops.

Why It's the Worst: The only thing worse than a movie nerd is a comedy nerd (believe me, I own a mirror) and IFC is just a straight-up enabler for both.

Official TV.com Verdict
IFC gets huge respect points for its movie selection and comedy prowess, but Bravo tends to get more airtime in my household. Bravo it is.

But now it's your turn! COMMENT BELOW and tell us your verdict: Bravo or IFC? 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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