What's the Better Channel: TLC or BBC America?

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Just as many of the high school-aged characters of ABC Family will someday go on to college where they'll get stoned and watch cartoons all day, it seems many of ABC Family's viewers have already made that leap! Congratulations to...

You guys made some great points! I liked these comments a lot:

Big_Pecks: "Cartoon Network. How can you say no to Finn and Jake?"

prettyedy: "Count me for Cartoon Network. Yes to Adult Swim, no to Pat Robertson."

bluemystique: "ABC Family because if I had to choose between feeling like an idiot watching teenage shows versus feeling like an idiot watching kids shows...teens ftw."

And special thanks to safibwana for reminding people why two completely different networks may occasionally face off:

"There can be only one. It's not just like things. In the end it may come down to QVC vs the Spice Network."

I'm definitely regretting leaving the Spice Network out of the bracket! Maybe next year...

High and low cultures collide in this week's mega matchup!

Background: Founded in 1972 when it was then known as, get this, the Appalachian Community Service Network, TLC didn't become "The Learning Channel" until around 1980, at which point it spent the next decade airing hard educational content. The Discovery Channel acquired the network in 1991 and retained much of its dry, informational tone as a contrast to Discovery's by-comparison mass-appeal entertainment. But as we all know, good things don't last, and TLC dropped the whole "learning" part of its mantra and became a repository for some of the basest, crassest, cheapest reality programming on the entire cable spectrum. It is, of course, one of the highest-rated networks.

Original Programming: The first modern TLC program was arguably the interior design show Trading Spaces (which made stars out of many of its designers), but personality-specific shows followed, including Kate Plus 8, Little People, Big World, 19 Kids and Counting, and The Little Couple. TLC also loves to explore weirdos, outsiders, and subcultures with things like Sister Wives, Toddlers & Tiaras, Hoarding: Buried Alive, NY Ink, Extreme Couponing, My Strange Addiction, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. And who can forget the who-asked-for-this classic Sarah Palin's Alaska?

Reruns: Like Discovery, TLC has a vast archive to recycle from, but it's also been known to acquire and/or remake foreign content, like BBC series Junkyard Wars and Say Yes to the Dress.

Why It's the Best: Faint praise, but TLC tends to air some pretty addictive content.

Why It's the Worst: Much of its content is soul-deadening? Even something as fun as Extreme Couponers got repetitive after the third episode.


Background: Americans may not know this, but anyone who watches TV in the UK is forced to pay a mandatory "television licence" fee, which basically pays for the BBC. Can you imagine if WE had to directly pay for Bachelor Pad or Ringer? There'd be rioting in the streets! Good thing we pay for things the old-fashioned way, by staring blankly at advertisements and then feeling mysteriously compelled to purchase the products later. Anyway! BBC America launched in 1998 as a member of the Discovery Channel family, and because UK citizens shouldn't have to pay for EVERYTHING, it runs advertising. Since its inception, BBC America has been mostly a repository for BBC's formidable array of original series but lately has started to air reruns of American shows as well as produce original content.

Original Programming: Define "original." A majority of BBC America's programming is original TO AMERICANS, but let's be real, it's mostly reruns or simulcasts of the mother ship's programming. In addition to its daytime BBC news coverage, some of the better-known shows include Doctor Who, the various Gordon Ramsay and Graham Norton shows, Top Gear, Being Human, Peep Show, Primeval, a handful of new Absolutely Fabulous episodes, plus the recently aired BBC America co-production The Fades and Chris Hardwick's The Nerdist.

Reruns: Lately BBC America's been airing more American reruns for some reason, including Battlestar Galactica, The X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The Tudors.

Why It's the Best: Not to be a nerd about it, but IT'S THE BBC. Look at the stats: At least 85 percent of the BBC's programming is awesome. It's a scientific fact.

Why It's the Worst: Many BBC series were not intended to include commercial breaks, so it can be awkward when an episode suddenly cuts to a tampon commercial midway through a scene.

Official TV.com Verdict
God save the Queen (so that she doesn't gain 500 pounds and then accidentally give birth in a Taco Bell bathroom): BBC America by a mile.

But now it's your turn! COMMENT BELOW and tell us your verdict: TLC or BBC America? 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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