TV tonight: History Channel still embracing histrionics over history

The premiere of ‘The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man’ on Histrionics Channel

Photo: History Channel/The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man

WASHINGTON, August 6, 2013 —Out of History Channel’s 38 listed shows on their website, only 14 are related to actual history. This includes counting scripted dramas like “The Bible,” “Vikings,” and the upcoming “Bonnie & Clyde.” Ratings have proven that people love the scripted dramas from History Channel, but the vote is definitely still out when it comes to their never-ending parade of “reality” TV.

Tonight when “The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man” premieres on History Channel, it will further reinforce History Channel’s current trend to dismiss history in favor of histrionics. Drama for the sake of drama we don’t need. If the TV viewer wants contrived drama, all they have to do is turn to any news channel and watch as the talking heads posture and protest over the latest talking point, whatever that may be.


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To be fair, “Pawn Stars,” American Pickers,” “Counting Cars” and “American Restoration” on History Channel deal with the history of the various items featured on these shows. A ’67 GTO, a Colt Peacemaker or a vintage Indian motorcycle all had a place in the history of America, but none of these will ever be the topic of a lecture in a history class.

These shows definitely blur the line, but at least we can learn little tidbits of history when we choose to watch them. But other shows on History Channel like “Big Rig Bounty Hunters,” Swamp People,” “Chasing Tail,” “Mountain Men,” and now “The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man” have nothing to do with history. For this reason, the History Channel should create a spin-off network and call it “The Man Channel” to avoid confusing anyone who tunes in to watch actual history.

By now we all understand reality shows are so popular with basic cable net-heads because they are cheap to make. In the best case scenario the new network would generate enough additional revenue to enable the real History Channel to get back to what it does best, teach the viewer history.

Eventually the people willing to sign on for reality TV and the people willing to watch these shows will wear thin, but history has an endless source of topics that are worthy of further exploration.


SEE RELATED: TV tonight: Rizzoli & Isles and Perception on TNT: 2 basic cable gems


A word of advice for the History Channel; relegate the gators and the urban deer hunters to other venues and return to your original premise. In other words, dance with the one who brought you.

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

8 p.m.


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ABC: Extreme Weight Loss: (New) Chris travels to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to train Alyssa with the help of celebrity trainer Drew Manning and gold medalist Lindsey Jacobellis.

CBS: NCIS: (Repeat) Gibbs teams up with FBI agent T.C. Fornell on a joint investigation when Fornell becomes the target of a shooting. The case gets more complicated when their mutual ex-wife, Diane, becomes involved. Meanwhile, rumors run rampant when Diane stays overnight at McGee’s place.

FOX: So You Think You an Dance: (Live) The top 12 dancers perform to win America’s votes.

NBC: Hollywood Game Night: (Repeat) The celebrity players are Tom Arnold, Stacy Keibler, Patricia Heaton, Rose Byrne, Anthony Anderson and Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Included: Contestants must identify cat-theme movie moments.

CW: Whose Line is it Anyway?: (New) Hosted by comedian Aisha Tyler, cast members Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie, along with guest comedian Gary Anthony Williams (“Mad”) put their comedic skills to the test through a series of spontaneous improv games that are prompted only by random ideas supplied by the studio audience.

8:30 p.m.

CW: Whose Line is it Anyway?: (Repeat) Candice Accola appears.

9 p.m.

CBS: NCIS: Los Angeles: (Repeat) A Navy lieutenant dies and a pilot is hospitalized after they both drink from a communal water jug.

NBC: America’s Got Talent: (New) Twelve more performers take the Radio City stage to prove that they have what it takes to make it to the AGT semifinals.

CW: Capture: (New) Luke Tipple introduces a new element to the game when he reveals a chance for one team to sabotage another during the hunt. Tensions run high after a team deliberately destroys the food supply so the others can’t have any.

10 p.m.

ABC: Body of Proof: (Repeat) During a murder investigation, a woman bites Tommy; Megan turns to the new health commissioner for help uncovering the truth behind strange rabies cases.

CBS: Person of Interest: (Repeat) : Reese is tasked with protecting a reporter, but he must do so on the sly so she doesn’t start investigating him.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Pretty Little Liars at 8 p.m. on ABCFAM

Nine for IX at 8 p.m. on ESPN

Return of Jaws: Sharktweeto at 8 p.m. on DSC

Property Virgins at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on HGTV

Mythbusters at 8 and 9 and 10 p.m. on SCI

The Haves and Have Nots at 9 p.m. on OWN

Face Off at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Covert Affairs at 9 p.m. on USA

Twisted at 9 p.m. on ABCFAM

Rizzoli & Isles at 9 p.m. on TNT

Airport 24/7: Miami at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel

I Escaped Jaws at 9 p.m. on DSC

Who Do You Think You Are? At 9 p.m. on TLC

Shelby’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1 at 9 p.m. on A&E

Perception at 10 p.m. on TNT

House Hunters at 10 p.m. on HGTV

Catfish: The TV Show at 10 p.m. on MTV

Doomsday Preppers Bugged Out at 10 p.m. on NGC

Spawn of Jaws at 10 p.m. on DSC

Chopped at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Suits at 10 p.m. on USA

The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man at 10 and 10:30 p.m. on History Channel

House Hunters International at 10:30 p.m. on HGTV

Shark After Dark at 11 p.m. on DSC

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? On AMC

Entrapment on CINEMAX

Spaceballs on ENC

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on FLIX

Seven Pounds on FXM

Something Borrowed on FX

Rise of the Guardians on HBO

Slumdog Millionaire on IFC

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on SUND

Rebecca on TCM

Velvet Goldmine on TMC

9 p.m.

Freeloaders on MOMAX

The Odd Life of Timothy Green on STARZ

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on HBO

Later tonight:

Jack and Jill at 9:40 p.m. on ENC

Heavenly Creatures at 10 p.m. on FLIX

Chernobyl Diaries at 10:20 p.m. on MOMAX

Mercury Rising at 10:31 p.m. on AMC


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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

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