I’m not entirely sure of when the metamorphosis took place.
Perhaps the evolution was slowly occurring anyway and I just missed it happening.
It really started to hit me square on in the face early this year, though, that something had changed with the Travel Channel.
Over the course of the last couple of years, the network has evolved from one of truly covering disparate aspects of the travel experience to basically serving as an extension of the Food Network.
If you look at the primetime schedule for the channel, it is dominated by food:
• Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.
• Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern.
• Adam Richman’s ode to competitive eating Man vs. Food.
• Newly added Food Wars.
• Plus the countless specials “_______ Paradise” shows (Deep Fried Paradise, Steak Paradise, etc.)
• Over the course of five weeks in January of this year (I believe) there was a show focused on the 101 Places to Chowdown, which looked like they took some of the stock footage from Man v. Food and the Paradise specials and mixed them up in a bowl.
Recently, a show called Three Sheets was added to the lineup. This show focuses on drinking instead of eating, but the same premise seems to hold.
And I haven’t even mentioned the paranormal shows like Most Haunted and Ghost Adventures.
The third panel of the current Travel Channel tryptich are shows dealing with how the rich live, and how luxurious their lives are, and look at the places where they can go and get away. Look at their gorgeous cabin. You’ll never be able to afford this. Look at their yacht. Are you jealous yet?
I just wonder when the Travel Channel went from celebrating travel to a celebration of excess and gluttony. Oh, with an over reliance on food programming to boot.
It seems to me that some of the diversification of their programming has vanished in short order.
I guess in these budgetary times, it can be hard to produce a show that requires travel to exotic lands.
Is that why the network seems to be recycling footage and airing programs over and over again?
Maybe that’s a legitimate rationale for this.
It seems to me, though, that there has to be ways to create high quality, diversified programming that highlights aspects of travel other than places to eat and places that might be haunted.
Or am I missing the mark?