What's the Better Channel: USA or TNT?


"Fatality." —Mortal Kombat

Round 2 is already off to a killer start, as last week's showdown resulted in the death of a TITAN. That's right, it was a close yet decisive contest (and arguably one between apples and oranges), but only ONE male-skewing cable channel emerged victorious:


R.I.P. Comedy Central. Oh but hey, we got some GREAT comments:

sakuramankai: "Syfy is just as funny, or even funnier, than Comedy Central. Sharktopus > Jon Stewart."

Summerqueen: "Gotta be Syfy. I don't have a sense of humor, so... It's a no-brainer."

Cynycal: "Even though I hate to say it because they've betrayed me over and over and insist on showing professional wrestling... Syfy ((shudder))"

TAKE NOTE, Syfy executives: You may have won this round, but a huge number of your supporters continue to feel burned by your rebranding and emphasis on non sci-fi fare. You're basically about one cooking show away from oblivion!

Now onto the next matchup...



This week's challenge promises to be about as dramatic as your average basic cable procedural!

Background: USA was born way back in 1971 during the weird early years of satellite TV, when a channel could get away with only airing stuff at 5pm on weekdays and broadcasting local sports games. Like many early channels, it was scooped up by a cable conglomerate, retrofitted with additional content, and then purchased by a series of corporations until eventually settling in with NBC Universal. In the 1980s it became the home of a number of syndicated game shows, Hanna-Barbara cartoons, and blocks of movies, but in the 1990s it jumped ahead of the curve by producing its own original content (to air alongside professional wrestling), a strategy that continues to work for it today.

Original Programming: Some of USA's earlier offerings included genre-heavy fare like The Dead Zone, The 4400, G vs E, Duckman, La Femme Nikita, Silk Stalkings, Weird Science, Monk, and Pacific Blue. But these days the USA slate is more procedural in nature, with series like Burn Notice, Covert Affairs, Suits, In Plain Sight, Royal Pains, and the #1 most Matthew Bomer-starringest show on television, White Collar.

Reruns: Hope you like Law & Order! Other typical offerings include CSI and NCIS.

Why It's The Best: In recent years USA has really nailed its in-house mandate that all shows feature blue skies and beautiful people. Also, did I mention USA is the home of Matthew Bomer?

Why It's The Worst: USA might have a style that works for it, but that style is still not for everyone.

 

Background: The success of Ted Turner's original network (TBS) led him to start up a number of sister stations, including TNT in 1988. Its original purpose seemed to function as place to air spillover from TBS, mostly focusing on old movies, professional wrestling, and NFL games. Eventually, TNT began exploring original content with shows like the awesome MonsterVision with Joe Bob Briggs, the final season of Babylon 5, and Witchblade. Then, in the early 2000s, TNT started emphasizing its "We Know Drama" angle by picking up tons of serialized dramas and procedurals and eventually producing several of its own.

Original Programming: The current TNT lineup includes several well-regarded hits, including The Closer and Leverage as well as relative newcomers Franklin & Bash and Rizzoli & Isles. Its acquisition of the critical hit Southland only upped its critical bona fides and last summer's alien invasion serial Falling Skies brought TNT the closest it's ever been to watercooler television. An upcoming reboot of Dallas may continue the channel's winning streak.

Reruns: TNT's reruns lineup is absolutely stacked, with hit procedurals like Bones, Law & Order, and CSI:NY, but it also boasts several cult faves like Charmed, Smallville, Angel, and Supernatural.

Why It's the Best: Much like with USA, there's almost always something very watchable on TNT at any given moment.

Why It's the Worst: Except for Falling Skies and Southland, much of TNT's lineup seems disinterested in long-term storytelling. Procedurals are fine, but only in the way that bathroom readers are fine. Sometimes we want novels!



Official TV.com Verdict:
This is a tough one—Both networks have their strengths, but their weaknesses are nearly identical. But I think I'll give the edge to TNT for airing Supernatural.


But now it's your turn! COMMENT BELOW and tell us your verdict: USA or TNT? 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 (152)
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Dec 04, 2015
TNT for me, hands down because they show my favorite shows Falling Skies, The Last Ship, Rizzoli and Isles, Major Crimes, the Librarians, Cold Justice, Leverage, Southland, Franklin and Bash, Mob City, Monday Mornings and many more. And they show The NBA on TNT too which I love watching all the time! And TNT also shows more movies and has better quality than USA Network. TNT has me glued to my seat everyday for hours and sometimes for a whole day and I love the interviews and updates they have for the NBA after the game is over on TNT too.

The only shows I watch on USA are Psych, Law and Order and Royal pains and that's it because USA doesn't catch my eye like TNT does and TNT has more excitement everyday too. And I heard that time warner might bring back professional wrestling on TBS and TNT again someday, so we might get to see New Japan Pro Wrestling on TNT live someday and Ring Of Honor Wrestling on TBS live someday. So I pick TNT because all my favorite shows are on TNT and the NBA is on TNT too. So TNT for the win!
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Mar 17, 2012
USA FTW!!!!!!!!!!! .. only thing i watch on TNT is Charmed reruns.
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Mar 10, 2012
I don't see how TNT can beat USA any day. USA networks original shows are better than any other channels as a whole in my opinion. I think they need to bring a save or wildcard and put USA back in the competition.
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Jan 16, 2012
is it too late to vote for USA? I LOVE WHITE COLLAR! (even though i also like franklin & bash)..
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Jan 14, 2012
USA! USA!

I love their original programming. Talk about Characters Wanted!
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Jan 09, 2012
TNT - because of R&I and reruns of Bones and CSI:NY.
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Jan 06, 2012
I can't live without either. I used to be strictly TNT but USA started coming out with all these new original series which have me hooked. I can't choose it's just not right! They are both awesome and have evolved with the times.
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Dec 26, 2011
USA, no contest.
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Dec 18, 2011
USA hands down, even USA's reruns are better than TNT's original shows.
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Dec 16, 2011
I have favorite shows on both. I watch both reruns and original programming on both channels, so having to choose is truly difficult. For original programing I'm going with USA because Burn Notice and White Collar are just amazing. For reruns I'm going with TNT because I love Supernatural and it's always fun to watch the campy yet gorgeous Las Vegas. I'm giving the final win to TNT because it doesn't air any wrestling.
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Nov 02, 2016
well actually, TNT are gonna be showing lucha underground wrestling on TNT in Germany starting in December 2016. And then soon, they'll show Lucha Underground on TNT live in the United States in the near future. So we may get to see more championship wrestling like New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring Of Honor Wrestling on TBS and TNT soon too.

here's a link for you to see
http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonydimoro/2016/10/26/turner-broadcasting-gets-back-into-pro-wrestling-business-with-deal-with-lucha-underground/#666b3b39f738
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Nov 02, 2016
This comment has been removed.
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Dec 14, 2011
Easily USA - Psych, Covert Affairs, White Collar, Suits, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, Fairly Legal, Necessary Roughness
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Dec 14, 2011
USA
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Dec 14, 2011
There seems to be a wave of new channels becoming the leaders in well presented content. With AMC running the show, fx and others not far behind, channels like hbo, and showtime are no longer leading networks as top dog. With so much changing in our current day I would like to pick the network here whose pushed the furthest in original programming. TNT is really starting to show the viewers it's coming up, and maybe in a big way. Leverage is really getting a following, and falling skies should really hold. Picking up Southland was one of the best idea's over all the networks that year. As far as TNT being better then USA I'm going to have to say hell to the no! FIRST OF ALL HOW DARE YOU NOT MENTION PSYCH RULES! YOU'RE AN IGNORAMUS FOR NOT CONSIDERING IT YOURSELF! That having been said it has burn notice, which as it nears the end has really been strong all along. Monk should never be forgot, and White Collar is a serious classic just not setting into its grove. USA has way more big contenders so I'm going to have to bet for U*S*A!
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Dec 13, 2011
USA USA USA all the way. You said it: blue skies and beautiful people (and I will always be grateful for my obsessive compulsive genius detective Monk and the hotness of Peta Wilson).
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Dec 13, 2011
usa
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Dec 13, 2011
I love TNT's syndication. It may be the best syndication selection on tv. From morning until 12 or 1 (EST), TNT can keep you sitting in front of the television. Their original programming isn't too bad either, but Franklin and Bash, with all their witty repartee can't match the awesome banter of Shawn and Gus on Psych. Plus, I remember watching Silk Stalkings, and Monk... so, even though it is almost a tie, since I don't sit and watch tv all morning, but work instead, I go with USA.
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Dec 13, 2011
USA because of Psych and Burn Notice. Royal Pains is watchable. TNT shows so many procedural reruns it should be renamed CourtTV.
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Dec 13, 2011
Hmm. That's tough. USA has Psych, Burn Notice, Suits, and Covert Affairs, but goodness gracious there's only so many Law & Order SVU and NCIS reruns I can take. TNT has Leverage (which I love) and all of those great reruns. They're a bonus and there is a bit more of a variety in the reruns for the network. So...I'd still have to go with USA. TNT is great and I love Leverage, but in terms of original programming I'm a fan of a lot USA has to offer. I may not like all of their shows, but I'm looking forward to what they have coming up. Also, they have Matthew Bomer and Christopher Gorham.
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Dec 13, 2011
TNT, leverage and southland edge out white collar and burn notice
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Dec 12, 2011
i watch half of each cables show... but USA edges the other due to ..i dont know, can i quote you "USA is the home of Matthew Bomer"... and Psych, Burn notice etc
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Dec 12, 2011
USA is the best hands down! I hardly even watch TNT except maybe Bones reruns and Rizzoli & Isle. I watch USA all the time! Great scripts, characters and actors! BTW no mention of Psych at all in the lame network comparisons? Im dissapointed. Clearly you do not value the majority of Psych fans. How TNT won is based by poster's opinion that really shouldn't count. What is it with "opinion polls" not being acurate lately?
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Dec 12, 2011
USA all the way, burn notice, white collar, re runs of NCIS and covert affairs is definitely a winner!
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Dec 12, 2011
my roomate's aunt makes $83/hr on the laptop. She has been without work for 8 months but last month her pay was $8682 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site...Nuttyrich . com
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Dec 12, 2011
USA. Both networks are favorites, but the USA network holds a bigger chunk of my heart. It had Monk and The Dead Zone, has White Collar, Royal Pains, Burn Notice, and Psych, and has oodles of NCIS reruns. Also, the USA network has crossover commercials! (They should do more. All networks should, really.) I still can fondly remember the old Monk/Dead Zone and Monk/Psych crossover commercials. There's also the fun Psych music video-like ads, the Psych versions of classic TV themes/openings, etc.
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Dec 12, 2011
USA. I don't watch any of TNT's original programming, USA has Burn Notice, Suits and Psych... it's pretty much the only channel I watch during the summer.
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Dec 12, 2011
USA- I'm a Burn Notice fan.
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Dec 12, 2011
USA - Psych. 'Nuff said!
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Dec 12, 2011
I know, it didn't even get a mention above though!!!
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Dec 12, 2011
TNT because I haven't watched any of Psych yet.
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Dec 12, 2011
USA. Psych is hilarious and I absolutely love it. I also surprisingly enjoyed the new show Suits. They also replay CSI sometimes and I love that show. I don't watch anything on TNT, because everyt ime I flip past that channel Law & Order is on, and I find that show incredibly boring. At least USA has SVU which has better characters.



Let's not forget USA is also the network that repeatedly shows Elf around Christmas. Favorite Christmas movie and USA is awesome for airing it.
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Dec 12, 2011
USA for that new show summer show Suits.
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Dec 12, 2011
Damn. That's like asking what do you love more cookies or cake?! I have a sweet tooth dammit give me both!



Okay. TNT had a tad more variety. You have a little bit of something for everybody depending on the viewer. They seem to really nail their ensemble casts with shows like The Closer and Leverage where every member shines on their own right. It has a nice variety with the syndicated shows being shown. My personal TNT faves...Rizzoli&Isles, Leverage,The Closer, and Franklin&Bash.



But then there is USA. I always love this network because it knows it's niche and it sticks to it. They OWN Dynamic Duos! Sure they're riddled with procedurals but they do dynamic duos like no other! I mean nearly every show has a fantastic dynamic whether it's Shawn and Gus on Psych, those brothers on Royal Pains, Mike and Harvey on Suits, Neal and Peter on White Collar, Annie and Auggie on Covert Affairs, or Marshall and Mary on In Plain Sight...even their new series features another great partnership! How do you not love that! Suits was one of my favorite new summer series and it came out of the gate with fantastic writing, had me hooked within the first five seconds, with it's perfectly written and developed characters...I swear I felt like I knew them all by the end of the pilot! I live for USA during the summer especially my favorite shows being Covert Affairs, In Plain Sight, White Collar, Suits.... Plus any given weekend I can have a marathon of shows that I adore like NCIS...seriously there is a marathon for every holiday and no matter how many times I've seen an episode I never tire of them. Also love the Law & Order SVU marathons. The NCIS LA marathons.The made for tv movies. The wholesomeness of their "Characters Unite" campaigns.



So between Great and Greater my pick is: USA...all the way baby.
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Dec 12, 2011
USA because of Psych.
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Dec 12, 2011
USA, because Psych, that is all. TNT has Leverage and Falling Skies, but Leverage isn't that great anymore, and Falling Skies was mediocre. Psych keeps on being great. Therefore, USA.
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Dec 12, 2011
USA They need to put Psych back on in the Summer though, I don't like it in the fall. Suits was an excellent addition this year.
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Dec 12, 2011
White Collar's just the best - USA
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Dec 11, 2011
USA because of Psych
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Dec 11, 2011
for me USA because they have White collar
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Dec 11, 2011
I was thinking TNT but once psych was metioned it was usa all the way
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Dec 11, 2011
USA because I could spend the entire day watching reruns of Monk or Law & Order: SVU (and I have) I just love this channel!
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Dec 11, 2011
Usa, Defffff. Between Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Covert Affairs, and Suits, I'm interested all summer.
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Dec 11, 2011
Even though I love that TNT shows a LOT of david boreanaz....USA because psych is one of the best shows on TV! can't believe you didn't even mention it in your summary of the channel! shame on you! Also, Michael Weston is awesome.
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Dec 11, 2011
USA!!! Because when everyone else is airing garbage in summer, USA network saves my sanity with great shows like White Collar and Suits. Also, I've never watched TNT, so the choice is obvs :P
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Dec 11, 2011
USA! Fave channel ever. Psych, Covert Affairs, Royal Pains, & Fairly Legal, plus reruns of L&O: SVU, Monk, and NCIS. What else could I wish for?!

Though TNT is good too because of Bones reruns and it's the home of the most lesbian non-lesbian couple currently on TV.
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Dec 11, 2011
As much as I love Rizzoli and Isles and Leverage and my gratitude for saving Southland, I think I have to go with USA. I am a big fan of Michael Bomer, too. Covert Affairs and Royal Pains are also big faves
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Dec 11, 2011
Definitely USA!
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Dec 11, 2011
TNT's reruns are great but my vote goes to USA for it's original content: White Collar, Covert Affairs, Suits and Psych.
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Dec 11, 2011
I grudgingly vote for TNT because they run Smallville and Supernatural. Though I sort of hope they don't win because they also gave life to The Closer (miss won't eat chocolate, southern-bell just gives a stern look and the killer confesses immediately? Really?? Ugh! That show is awful! She is not cute and she sucks as a detective).



Most of all USA just sucks, it just gives Canada this giant middle finger and is all like "See these awesome shows? Well you can't have 'em!" So mean.. :(

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Dec 11, 2011
Purely for Matthew - USA!!
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Dec 11, 2011
USA is the better network

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Dec 11, 2011
U.S.A. all the way. I only watch 3 shows on TNT whereas I watch 7 shows on U.S.A.. TNT's new shows are always hit or miss but U.S.A. rarely fails me. The only negative thing I have to say about U.S.A. is that they pushed Psych out of the summer and forced it to air against a full slate of network shows.
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