Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Discovery Health No More!

Discovery Health Channel is no longer with us. The channel, which lived to be 11 years old was closed on Jan. 1, 2011. Now, in its place, is the Oprah Winfrey Network. With Discovery Health gone from the television lineup, the question remains whether or not it matters.

Aug. 2, 1999 - Jan. 1, 2011

We all have our preset channel surfing channels. As we are bored in front of the television with our remote in hand, we have those channels we check out first, and keep cycling through those channels until we notice something interesting to watch. Discovery Health was never a channel I surfed to. To be honest, I would try my best not to ever stop on it. It was a channel I not only skipped but ignored completely. Now don't get me wrong, I like the Discover Channel family. The channels that Discovery makes aren't ones you plan on watching, they're ones that you stop on when you notice Plant Earth is on.

I want to have a television dedicated to playing Plant Earth all day.

I stayed the hell away from Discovery Health though. It was in my astute opinion that nothing good could ever come out of watching Discovery Health Channel. In my opinion, it was a station dedicated to grossing me out. Shows based on surgery? Hell no, watching Nip/Tuck was bad enough. Neither did I want to watch a documentary on a man whose face was half tumor. I feel bad for the guy, but that's not how I want to spend my 60 minutes. Discovery Health started in 1999 as a dumping ground for TLC's surgery shows, back when TLC was more about making things in junkyards and less about babies and little people.

TLC is also responsible for unleashing Ty Pennington onto the world.

Discovery Health then grew into its own, producing television shows and filling its time with health inspired programming and reality shows. Shows like The Critical Hour were like COPS, only there was a lot more blood. But again, like I said before, I stayed away from Discovery Health. It was too disturbing. Plus I'm a hypochondriac, I don't need to know all these things. Going on WebMD is bad enough, I don't need a channel to tell me new ways I can think I'm dying.

For some reason, Discovery Health feels we need to watch Chicago Hope reruns too.

Discovery Health is dead and gone and now we have OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. This isn't Oprah's first time creating a network. Back in 2000, Oprah helped create Oxygen, which is like Lifetime, only without episodes of Supermarket Sweep. She sold Oxygen to Universal though, and now has a network that she's literally hung her name on. The Oprah Empire, which had it's own magazine, radio station, and films, now has a 24/7 home.

The scheduling isn't just Oprah though. Oprah's best friend Gayle King now has a show along with Dr. Laura, Shania Twain and even Oprah's old talk show competition Rosie O'Donnell. And of course, there will be Dr. Phil reruns. Some Discovery Health shows have been saved, with Mystery Diagnosis and Deliver Me both being added to the scheduele. The rest of the shows being saved are being dumped on FitTV.

Love or hate Oprah, her following is undeniable. And really you can't get too mad at Oprah. Yes, he influence is greater than some political leaders and yes she has more money than some countries. But keep in mind that she is a walking, talking, great American success story. Also, according to my mom, the show Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes really seems to humanize her and show that she is still just a person. Whether a whole network was needed to create that PR is a different story, but with Oprah's long running talk show set to end this year, she now has an outlet to continue her success. Oprah's show, and by extension Oprah herself, is a singular phenomenon in pop culture. This is just one more outlet for her personality that people can't get enough of. There's a reason why this earnest woman from Mississippi is so beloved and revered.

I can't believe I just spent that much time talking about Oprah.

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