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.

Comments (55)
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IFC!!!
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A year of two ago I would have said neither. However, in the past year IFC has brought us Portlandia to remind us what funny sketch shows used to look like, Onion News, which is hilarious and the Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. ALso with reruns of the Whitest Kids U know and Freaks and Geeks and random good movies. Without a doubt IFC has stepped up its game and is making an effort to deliver a quality product and should be recognized for doing so.



Bravo has done nothing but further bring down society with its endless drivel of Reality Shows, made idiots stars and should be admonished for doing so. I can't think of a more deserving channel to be removed. (maybe NBC minus Community, Parks and Rec and Jimmy Fallon)
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i dont watch tv, it ruins ur mind
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definitely ifc.

great movies and reruns
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Bravo went from Art House to an over flowing Outhouse of stinky "reality" shows. My vote is for IFC. I love Portlandia and the IFC awards.
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IFC gets my vote.
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IFC
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I would have to go with IFC hands down because not only do play good movies, they play them UNCUT even though they air commercials.
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IFC wins.
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ifc

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Let's go IFC!
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IFC!! <3
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IFC is Classy, Bravo is Trashy.
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IFC. Any network programmed by the talentless and tasteless Andy Cohen comes in a bleak and distant second. Inside the Actors Studio hasn't been the same since Lipton stopped focusing on craft and became just another talk show host. IFC is what Bravo thought it wanted to become until reality hell took it over.
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If I went by the shows critics tell me I should like, then I'm sure I should choose IFC, but I'm sorry - the shows I actually watch are on Bravo, so it gets my vote
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Hey! If you were a Bravo watcher circa 2005, I'd love to interview you for a book about the network's design firm Open--you can email us at info@notclosed.com if you are interested :)
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Bravo hands down!
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I'll go with Bravo. Bravo rocks!!!
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i guess i'll go with Bravo...



two reason...



1. inside actor studio

and

2 100 top scariest moment in film
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Bravo- Queer Eye. Project Runway. Top Chef. Kathy Griffen. Inside the Actors Studio. Andy Cohen and I've never watched an episode of Watch What Happens Live.



Kudos Ifc, Love Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret and Arrested reruns, but this is all Bravo.
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Weak matchup this time around, IMO. IFC wins this one by an urban mile.

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Five years ago I woulda been like "Bravo!!!" and "IF whuuu?", but that was back when Bravo was watchable- remember when it had Six Feet Under reruns? And actually really good movies??? But now it's soooo terrible. So I gotta vote for IFC and I dont even GET that channel. Plus, Portlandia makes me laugh my butt off
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IFC!! AY OH RIVER!
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IFC hands down! Anything remotely having to do with so called "reality" tv is a plain waste of time!

Their comedy shows are gut wrenching!
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IFC!
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IFC!!!
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Delete all Real Housewives shows on sight! IFC!
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I'm going with Bravo, not because Bravo is a better channel, in fact all of those Real Housewives shows alone make me hate Bravo sometimes. But I don't have IFC and on a regular basis I see something I want to watch on that channel and when I try to watch it, I'm painfully reminded that I don't have it. So by default, Bravo wins.
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IFC. No contest.
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IFC wins for me by far.
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IFC. Seriously.
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IFC all the way. I remember them airing The Godfather way back when. Had myself a 9 hour marathon discovering mobster films. While I dont watch any of their original programming, they seem to be highly rated. Every now and again they sneak in classic films that brings me back. Excellent purchase by AMC. Just wish they'd make IFC HD free with digital subscription.
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IFC. I'm not wild about anything on IFC, but a lot of it is okay and at least I respect what they're doing. Bravo adds negative value to American culture and can go burn.
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The real housewives of any city and rachel sour face chupacabra notwithstanding, I have to go with Bravo, for its superb merit-based reality series such as the original project runway, top chef and all of its variations, and even the short lived formulaic but a for effort design something and shear whatever (that gave us Tabatha).
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IFC
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IFC. Portlandia and Todd Margaret. Must I say more?
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I don't usually watch either of these, but IFC wins for airing The IT Crowd and Freaks and Geeks.
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IFC by a long shot. Bravo's content has slid so badly into mediocrity while it crows about it. Bravo has gotten cheap and trashy the last few years, it's sad.
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Easily IFC. While Bravo has some interesting shows (Millionaire Matchmaker, Top Chef, Work of Art) IFC manages to continually air unique and fantastic programming (Whitest Kids, Z Rock, Ideal, Todd Margaret, Wilfred).
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IFC FTW... If it wasn't for IFC I would never have know the dream of the 90's is alive in PORTLAND
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I don't think I have ever watched IFC, so Bravo wins.
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Never even turn Bravo on. IFC has some really funny shows and if they can add a few more good new shows that would be great.
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IFC definitely takes the bacon in this one. Actually the whole damn hog! And bravo can have whatever nasty parts left over that go into hot dogs. But I digress, IFC has much more userf friendly shows than bravo so that's where my vote goes.
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IFC and this isn't even close.
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I AM JUST WAAAAAAAAAAITING FOR UR RECAPSSSSSSSSS :D
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The dream of the 90s are alive in Portland... and IFC!
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IFC wins because who can argue with ONN, Todd Margaret, Kids in the Hall and especially Monty Python. Plus Bravo is reality tv central, and that's not something to be proud of.
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BBC 2
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IFC easily wins this for me. I am not a fan of any of those reality shows, although Queer Eye was fun way back when. But Onion News, Portlandia, reruns of Freaks and Geeks, and the great re-runs of movies it always seems to have going, there really isn't much of a contest here. IFC.
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Bravo hands down!!!!!!!!!!

RHOA, NENE is the best

Kathy Griffin

the list just goes on
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IFC for the win! Portlandia? Todd Margaret? ONN? Freaks and Geeks? vs. reality TV on Bravo? It's no contest really
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