I have to say, anything that is not music related on Mtv. I'm sorry but The Real World and all the show like it have got to go. Whatever happen to Yo, Mtv Raps, Headbangers Ball and MUSIC VIDEOS!!!!?????????????? What the hell happened to music videos??? At least Vh1 got some music related shows (outside those celebrity "reality" shows). Now Mtv has My Super Sweet Sixteen and Road Rules. I just wish the "m" in Mtv stood for music again.
The same could be said for a lot of specialty channels that lost their focus over the years. Remember when you could actually learn something watching The Learning Channel? Now, it seems to be all true-life drama crap that presents other people's daily lives as somehow more interesting than our own. What I wouldn't give for Connections, The Operation, or even American Chopper back when it was about building motorcycles. I don't actually mind the History Channel showing movies that bear no resemblance to history other than being set in the past. Those can be pretty good. Discovery Channel is still pretty educational, when they aren't showing sensationalized tabloid pseudo-documentaries that happen to tie in with a current movie. I have no idea exactly what the Arts and Entertainment channel is supposed to be these days. Seems to be crime shows whenever I watch it, but I suppose I was watching it mostly for the crime shows anyway, back when they had Columbo on every day. The list could go on and on.
About the only one that has remained true to its format is The Food Network, and I think that's only because there's less of a grey area. Harder to get onto that slippery slope when you don't have the intermediate steps between a show about food and a show starring people who presumably eat at some point in the day.
In Canada, The Women's Television Network offers about the clearest illustration of the slippery slope. I can't complain about that one, because it improved from my point of view. But just from looking at the movies they had in the listings, it seemed like over a couple of years in the 90s, they went from movies with strong female themes to movies with strong female leads, to movies with big female stars and eventually to movies with women in them.
Again, I probably would never have watched WTN if this hadn't happened, but not everybody has to watch every channel. I'm sure the original target audience didn't appreciate it as much. Really, why have these specialty channels if they're just going to become homogenized with everything else? It's like fast food. It used to be all right that people went to McDonald's when they felt like a Big Mac and KFC when they felt like fried chicken and home when they wanted to eat vegetables. At some point, it became necessary to please everybody all the time, rather than doing your thing extremely well for the customers who like it.
How I long for the days when McDonald's had burgers, shakes and fries (and fish for the Catholics), and the days when The Learning Channel could teach you something.