No Encore For Bravo
Posted by Kirsty at 07:16 on 16 Sep 2010
On Tuesday, the Office of Fair Trading decided not to refer Sky’s purchase of the Virgin Media Group to the Competition Commission, despite the fact that this means Sky now own pretty much 95% of digital television.
Following this seal of approval, Sky announced yesterday that they would be closing Bravo, Bravo 2 and Channel 1 (Virgin 1 as was), and funnelling the funds from those dead channels into Living TV.
Their reasoning for this is that Bravo’s programming overlaps with Sky’s demographic, and that Living TV complements their existing stable of programs. Read: Sky1 is for Boys, Living’s for Girls. Really?
Whilst Living TV has a schedule clearly aimed at women, I don't think Sky1 is particularly specifically "manly" - how many of the men you know settle down for a night of It Must Be The Music, The Middle and NCIS: Los Angeles? Few, if any, I'd imagine. Not only that, but the a couple of the shows that were building Bravo's reputation would be probably too edgy for the current Sky1 audience; Spartacus: Blood and Sand, or Sons of Anarchy anyone?
Of course News Corps have Sky's 2 and 3 to dump all the second-string Bravo shows onto, and perhaps they can take the time to clean house and streamline Sky1 into a more well rounded channel, by which I mean air the next series of Criminal Minds and get rid of that bloody show with James Corden on it and stop showing Are You Smarter Than Your 10 Year Old immediately.
There's a sadness to this news, which isn't just the departure of TNA Wrestling from our screens or the uncertain future of sexy Hawaii 5.0 . Bravo has been on satellite and cable television in the UK since 1985. It was the British home of Twin Peaks, Alias, and its teen programming block "Trouble" was a big part of the reason I sit at my computer and write articles about One Tree Hill. Yes, it went slightly bonkers in the late 90's and 00's, but it also broadcast Adult Swim for two years between 2006 and 2008. You knew where you stood with Bravo, it wasn't for the lilly livered. It was for people who wanted to see animals attack, trawlers in storms, Dog the bloody Bounty Hunter.
Bravo is an important part of British televisual history, and to see the little devil knocked down and stripped for parts genuinely hurts my square eyes. TVArk has an excellent catalogue of old Bravo idents, including the stomach-churning "eyeballs in a jar" here.
As to the other side of the cleaning house, with Challenge TV now taking the place of Channel One (which frankly I still call Virgin1, because that name change was stupid), you can enjoy reruns of 1 vs 100 and Golden Balls instead of the very excellent Chuck or my personal guilty pleasure Warehouse 13, as "BSkyB looks to grow its presence in quizzes and gameshows."
Bravo, Sky, bravo. Bastards.