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THE TIME CHANNEL AND OTHER CABLE TV FAILURES

We've got a lot of choices in our TV viewing these days, not only the national networks and a whole lot of regional ones, but literally hundreds and hundreds of cable channels to choose from, covering subjects from cooking to sports to nature, drama, history, comedy, soap operas, politics, crime, science fiction, science fact, westerns, 24/7 news shows, feature films, even a weather channel for those too lazy to open a window or possessed of a morbid curiosity as to whether or not it's still snowing in Wisconsin (Unless it's August, it is.). So you pretty much figure there's no room for new channels to be created, the cable people have got it covered.

Not quite. Like any competitive enterprise, TV executives are ever on the alert for new and better cable channels to add to our viewing menu and win valuable advertising revenue. Towards that goal, there are new channels being tested every day. Some are wildly successful, others… well, you be the judge. Offered below is a list of new cable channels that didn't make the cut.

THE TIME CHANNEL- Brought to you by the creators of The Weather Channel, the Time Channel offered basically a clock telling you what time it is. Not only where you are, but anywhere in the world. Tokyo time, London time, Borneo time, even what time it is in Bayonne, New Jersey! Unfortunately, in a test run, most viewers agreed it was time to turn the channel.

COOKING WITH THE HOMELESS- This channel was designed to compete with the many food and chef-oriented cable channels. Techniques were compared between traditional hobos cooking cans of beans over trash fires with that of deranged dumpster-diving unfortunates trying to warm up frozen half-eaten Big Macs with only their body heat. Ratings were quite low in spite of heavy advertisement by fast food chains and sterno manufacturers.

FORENSIC JAYWALKER FILES- It turns out there are some crimes that fascinate no one.

THE PHILOSOPHY CHANNEL- Enough said.

THE DENTAL CLINIC CHANNEL- See above.

THE LIVE SURGERY CHANNEL- This was actually a fascinating idea, having real surgeons performing real operations on live television. True, it was a little on the gory side but quite educational. Unfortunately, the enterprise failed when TV producers insisted on injecting an element of risk into the show in the form of a faulty anesthetic feed, with the chances only 50-50 that the patient would not wake up screaming in the middle of delicate surgery. Even the offer of a free operation deterred many patients from signing on. Then a few of them died on the table when they started writhing in pain just as the surgeon was wielding a scalpel near something vital. Then lawyers got involved, the government got all pissy and that was that.

LIFESTYLES OF REGULAR PEOPLE- The idea was to profile the daily lives of people who are not rich enough to appear on the celebrity lifestyle channels and not poor and deranged enough to appear on COPS. Unfortunately, bowling alleys, supermarkets, commutes to uninteresting jobs and the tribulations of soccer Moms bored even the producers and they cancelled themselves.

THE KNITTING CHANNEL- This one was all set to go until demographic studies revealed that most young people have no idea what knitting is and that people who knit generally don't have cable.

GREAT AMERICAN FOREIGN DIPLOMAT CHANNEL- Another good idea shot down by research. It was discovered that there are no Americans with any talent at all for foreign relations since Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson died.

GOOD CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP CHANNEL-Produced in the Canary Islands with no professional union technicians, this channel was unable to produce five minutes of videotape where the sound matched the visuals. The ensuing footage about corporate responsibility is now being offered for sale to Comedy Central.

THE GOOD MANNERS AND HUMAN DECENCY CHANNEL- This one was scrapped when no professional TV hosts could be found that fit the criteria.

THE AL JAZEERA COMEDY CHANNEL- In an effort to humanize Islamic Fascists, an exhaustive search of those regions of the world was made to find their funniest comedians performing acts that don't include the maiming of infidels. At last report, the search continues, but don't look for this one on your Fall TV schedule.

BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB CHANNEL-This one never even made it out of the corporate offices, unless you count the people who came up with the idea getting bodily thrown out of the corporate office window after receiving a severe beating at the hands of chubby TV producers.

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