R.I.P Bravo TV (1980 – 2001)

Once what used to be the “film and arts network” turned into the “watch what happens” petty drama, I was truly dismayed.

Then again, I would tune into it to see if anything has changed. Nope…
Now they’re committed to giving the rest of the world the impression that gay people and women have the worst taste in television ever!*[see notes]

Why would you encourage “arts” or “film” or even “class” when you can entertain with non-entertainment.

Former class act... Bravo TV sucks!

Former class act...

Now I’m starting to spend more and more time on IFC which has also been seeing its share of hiccups, but I think it probably won’t end in the same fate. Considering it is owned by Rainbow Media, the original owers of Bravo, I’m more hopeful. In fact, I think IFC (though a bit rough around the edges) is what Bravo should have been today.

There is some reality TV and semi-reality TV out there (ones inspired by some predicted outcome that goes horribly awry resulting in entertaining moments I.E. Mythbusters) that are actually interesting beyond the same arguments and silly banter we’re already used to only relocated to more affluent settings.

“Project Runway”…
Reinforcing my belief that fashion designers have no sense in fashion. I’ve seen abstract art from the 60’s that seem more comfortable and functional wrapped around a person (I.E. a scene from What a Way to Go!  from 1964 is a classic example). What better way to give a great first impression than to dess like a freak.

Whatever happened to “usable fashion”. As in something you could wear on a daily basis without handing out free seizures to everyone on the street?

“Sheer Genius”…
And I don’t care about hair! If I didn’t have to cut it or comb it to step out of the house, I would forget that I even have any. I understand you need to present some sort of upkeep there, but if I could, I would place a restraining order between my hair and each and every contestant in that show.

“Millionaire Matchmaker” ?
Here’s a hint for the naïve… There’s no such thing as romance. You find someone who puts up with you, produce offspring, and then you die. End of story. If you want comedy between that, then consider stubbing your toe and your partner laughing at you as your personal highlight. Excitement? The time you pretended to enjoy the company of your significant other while menacing over another unsuspecting soul. Your options are only as good as your looks and the size of your wallet.

If you’re wealthy, then chances are, your wallet is the only reason your significant other puts up with you. And that person isn’t so significant to you either, if their looks start to fade.

Then there’s Kathy Griffin’s “My Life on the D-List”…
I’m not going to bring up her personal life and difficulties as that has no bearing here. I just don’t give a flying intercourse about celebrities, their idiosyncrasies or other gossip. And if you’re not living a sham of a life with your only source of entertainment coming from the misery and suffering of famous intellectual midgets, neither would you.

As Patton Oswalt once exclaimed, we’re spending all our time watching “***holes and ****wads at work”, only to come home and watch the same on TV. Why?

People with enough privilege to afford plenty of therapy and be motivated to stick their heads out of their shells to see a world of suffering are not looking to reality TV to boost their careers. Those that don’t are media whores.


*Apparently, the network primarily caters to a gay and female audience between the ages of 18-54. If the line-up is any hint, according to the Bravo execs, the folks in this range, who also happen to be gay or female, are tasteless, pretentious dimwits. I sincerely hope that’s not the case.

Considering Agnieszka Holland co-wrote and directed Europa Europa, Sarah Jacobson wrote and directed I Was A Teenage Serial Killer, and Kathryn Bigelow directed Point Break, I also can’t believe female writers and directors are all one trick ponies a la “Romance” & “Comedy”. I put quotes around them as I’m seeing a disturbing trend in films created by women, allegedly part of these genres, that failed to induce either sentiment.


28 thoughts on “R.I.P Bravo TV (1980 – 2001)

  1. The problem I have with ‘reality’ TV is that it is so obviously faked!

    With all the thousands of TV channels available, its typical that they all show the same old crap.
    ‘Original’ programming consists of stealing the idea for another sow and simply changing the name!

    • I think all three can be answered with one quote…
      “To each his own” I suppose.

      I find her more annoying than funny, though I did get a chuckle at a few of her jokes. The material is just all too reliant on celebrities for my taste.

  2. Bravo was one of the few channels I ever bothered to program into my remote control.

    The day I saw a show hosted by the girl who played Jessie from ‘Saved By the Bell’ (she was in ‘Showgirls’ too) that was a knock-off of a knock-off of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, I took Bravo off my remote.

    Same thing with A&E. When I saw an episode of ‘Growing Up Gotti’ I knew I would never watch A&E again.

    Rememeber when MTV used to play music videos and not stupid shit that makes me wanna break things and scream at the TV in disgust?

    I’ll tell you. Too fucking long ago.

    • Yeah, what a shame.

      Ugh, “Growing Up Gotti” was such a load! Yeah, let’s add glamour to the criminal families. Nothing says, “class” like displaying the privileges a life of crime can purchase.

      MTV stopped being “Music Television” sometime during the mid 90’s. Now it’s the SBRBSN (Spoiled Brat & Reality BS Network).

  3. I am dismayed I was looking for a place to post my rage about how bad Bravo has become and I could only find but a few posting…

    We should not be surprised that this is what NBC (Nothing But Crap) would do with the channel. Exploitation TV is what sells to the sheep and we who stand in the way will just get run over.

    Today however was the last straw for me… I thought the Real “hore”wives… and the like was bad enough but I was channel surfing and caught the “NYC Prep” show and I almost lost my lunch. How can these people be so stupid that they think this crap will not follow them. I mean I would not hire any of them when they get out of school. They look like fools… And that is just what the producers want!

    I don’t know about the rest of you but I think it time we start taking out our feeling on the programming supporters of this crap and stop purchasing their products. Write letter (emails) to any company that shows a commercial on these shows and tell them that if they support “X” show we will not “support” them.

    Enough is enough!!! If I had the time I would crate a web site that post what show has what commercials and their customer service email address… Anyone want to take that on?

    just my $0.02

    • My sentiments exactly, Eric.

      NYCPrep reminds me so much of “My Super Sweet 16” on MTV. Another plague on the civilized world. Honestly, between these two shows, I’ve lost hope for young people. I can’t even imagine the mindset one would need to sit through either show without feeling utter contempt and extreme rage.

      Unfortunately Bravo wouldn’t care about viewer dissent because of the throngs of idiots who still watch the shows. Nothing short of a massive social overhaul will change this.

      I guess we just have to remember the good times let the channel die.

      What would make sense for a site is listing all the good shows and movies that were shown on Bravo. I remember when it didn’t even have commercials.

      If we can’t have a “Film and arts Network” then a “Film and arts Site” would be the appropriate reaction.

  4. May i join in on the fun on the anti-reality tv brigade. I am so sick of what these producers and corporations are doing to our tv stations filling us with such fake and filth and waising our time.

    Why do people watch them or even go onto these shows it’s not real it’s fake don’t sign the dam contract. All these idiots at TPTB care about two things profit and ruining people’s lives. I read a few stories where some celebrites had their marriages breakup, friendships broken etc and i do feel bad that these things happen but why do they even bother going onto these shows in the first place.

    Message to the producers and the higher power ups: The American Public ain’t interested in your reality junk. Stop waisting our time feeding us with filth and crap.

    Enough is enough it’s time to get rid of reality tv once and for. It must come to an end now.

    • Please do!
      It’s really sickening how far people can push this tired genre. Then again, I feel sad that there are people who still eat up this stuff.

  5. This is old thread which I found accidentally by typing “when did Bravo stop being about arts” in Google.

    I haven’t watched the channel for years – simply stopped watching it after all the good programs disappeared, but haven’t really questioned it. Same with A&E. But last weekend I started copying some of my old VHS tapes to DVDs and noticed that some of them – including the recording of Ernani with Pavarotti/Mitchell/Milnes was made from either A&E or Bravo, not PBS.

    I am surprised anybody watches Bravo and A&E now as there is nothing good there at all…

    I don’t have problems with reality when it is done with class and taste – like some of the PBS programs; or Susan Froemke’s “The Audition” documentary about Met Council Auditions.

    IFC is not the same – it does seem to have some movies, but I cannot find any theater or ballet or classical music there – all the stuff we used to have on A&E and Bravo. The only channels which may come close is a combination of TCM and PBS Great Performances.

    • I agree, IFC isn’t quite the same.
      There were some absolutely beautiful shows and movies whose names I can’t even remember now.

      The Canadian channel “Bravo!” still has some of those shows albeit not to the same degree as classic Bravo, but I don’t have access to it.

      I’m not really the artsy fartsy type, but some of those programs were really eye-opening. Especially when I was a teenager with no other TV source for culture other than perhaps MTV… Yikes!

      Bravo set a new landmark for a lot of shows that even PBS was emulating.

      It’s a shame really.

  6. BRAVO has JUMPED THE SHARK for sure and it DOES hone in on gay or female, are tasteless, pretentious dimwits. The shows are getting tired and “glamming” it up by adding the word MILLIONAIRE WON’T help at all. Maybe they should try featuring a reality show with Asians, we’ve gotten enough botox, blonde, plastic surgery overhauled, new money aka “nouveau riche”, over the top, train wrecks…
    It’s reasonable to show all socio-economic levels in REALITY TV and of course extremes always do well.
    Maybe they should take a clue from OVER SEAS programming…Japan, Europe…just a thought.

  7. Back in the day, late 80’s to early 90’s, suburban Chicago, high school–I would make sure to be in the den, sitting on that recliner at 7:00 when The Learning Channel (yeah, TLC before they shortened it so peoples’ mouths wouldn’t get so tired having to say the whole name and got rid of most of the EDUCATIONAL shows) switched over to Bravo. Of course, I would have to scramble like hell to get all my homework done, but I would book it down the stairs from my bedroom when I finished it so I reached the den AT 7. THAT was how much of a crazed fan I was of the OLD Bravo. Whenever “International Film Festival” came on, I would watch the movie no matter what it was. Didn’t care; here was finally a cable network that WASN’T an insult to my intelligence! It was an extremely welcome refuge for this dorko sixteen, seventeen year-old culture vulture away from the stress of being a teenager and the humdrum of my square existence. IFC and Sundance are on pay cable and we’re broke so I can’t get either of THOSE. Guess I’ll just have to live on the memories, huh?

    • Jonathan, that’s almost exactly the same experience I had when I was younger.

      The entire Discovery network seems to be going downhill. TLC Is one example, but after that mess, I had some hope when they turned Discovery Home into Planet Green. They had some pretty good shows that went along the same lines as The Learning Channel with an added environmental perspective, but that too is now turning sour.

      It’s pretty sad isn’t it? Why is it that we have to stick to obscure websites and arthouse theaters to find good movies and shows? Why is it that none of the broadcast networks these days care that they’re airing utter rubbish?

      The IFF series was one of my favorites too. There were so many movies that I now wish I had recorded or at least written the titles somewhere so I can look them up and watch later.

      Memories indeed.

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  9. I think reality shows are fun. Some of them are probably a little faked, but for the most part reality shows do capture the essence of day to day life. I pretty much watch Bravo and TLC and I recently have gotten captivated by some of the new reality shows on Lifetime. Mary Mary is really a cool show. I wish people wouldn’t be so condemning of reality shows, because these shows really do mirror many aspects of our daily lives. If reality shows were so terrible, why then are they so popular?

    • Hi Nin,

      I agree that some reality TV can be entertaining, but the dosage must be low to be palatable for me. The fake factor exists in far too many shows for my taste.

      TLC’s shows really sadden me because I remember it actually being about “learning” when I was a kid. Same with Bravo; it’s just too weird to see the reality TV stuff on them.

      I’m guessing they’re popular for the same reason parachute pants were popular. There’s no accounting for taste ;)

      Thanks for dropping by.

    • No one (at least myself, family, and friends) wants “reality” TV when we come home from work and school. We want beautifully produced movies, good comedies, good music, educationally rewarding shows and documentaries. We have all the reality we can stomach in our daily, modern lives. This constant diet of “in-your-face” bad, immature behavior and crappy shows are an insult to those of us who are intelligent, considerate human beings.

  10. I typed in “What the HELL happened to Bravo” and came across this. Well said Eksith! and yes Ovation comes close to what this channel used to be and don’t even get me started on IFC! I fired off angry emails to them stating um isn’t the title of the channel Independent Film Channel?? And Sundance was soon to follow sadly :(

    • I get exactly what’s happening here.


      Money can both fund and destroy creativity as you need cash to create original programming, but the influx forces you to “play it safe” I.E. produce more watered down malarkey.

      It seems broadcast (cable, satellite etc…) media is truly dead and the last frontier for art is the internet.

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  12. Bravo will not be airing TRHONJ because their “star” Teresa Giudice is in prison for fraud felonies and will not be available to film for their summer season. Do I care? No. Typical of Andy Cohen, as he has his favorites on each franchise of RH’s. If you’ve seen one of the many HW’s you’ve seen them all, different names, same BS. A bunch of alcoholic hags fighting, dating young boys and bad behavior. Not entertainment but disgusting. Blacks and gays on all reality shows, can’t stand that girl, Ms Cohen. Ciao Bravo I have better things to do than watch the crap you put on, shame on you rewarding a convicted, ugly person! Blocking your channel from my remote.

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