7 TV Channels That Should Come Back From the Dead

Not every American TV network gets to live forever. But some should have!

Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) in Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2.
Photo: 20th Television

TV networks come and go. While the state of cable TV now isn’t particularly stable amid the constant streaming wars, TV network deaths have always been monumental funerals. Corporate mergers, changes in demographics, and budget cuts all contributed to channel deaths during the early 21st century that crushed my spirits – long before Netflix even cast the first streaming stone.

Not a day goes by when I don’t reflect upon my childhood spent watching programming on long-gone networks. These networks gave unrepresented artists platforms, brought audiences of underserved demographics together, and ultimately established specific TV identities. These are a few channels that deserve a second or third shot at life.

Spike TV

Before it became the “Yellowstone and Friends” channel, also known as Paramount Network, Spike TV was machismo-television personified. Who doesn’t remember the days of watching Rambo, Star Wars marathons, and 1000 Ways to Die in rotation? While it was initially a very bro-y network, Spike constantly evolved to go beyond the product of its action meets TnA allure. It had a widened appeal beyond the cishet demographic for shows like Lip Sync Battle and Ink Masters to break the MAN-otony. 

Spike had its identity, but with many kinds of dudes out there today of all shapes, sizes, and orientations, it was always going ahead of the curve, changing for the better with fine programming and a great film collection. Now it’s just…Paramount. Yay for shapeless corporate redundancy! 

Ad – content continues below


Hear me out. G4’s second coming could’ve done better without emphasizing “Here’s these internet personalities on your TV,” as if people didn’t watch Twitch streams on their TV sets already. Ideas like television-formatted Scott the Woz videos were a decent investment. Sadly, NBCUniversal/Comcast, the channel’s owner, gave G4 little time to let the ringleaders find a new identity for the channel. With a new vision and emphasis on TV exclusivity in programming, G4 could strive again. Besides, it’s as they say: “Third time’s the charm.”

Toon Disney

Toon Disney’s current successor, Disney XD, was the GOAT channel during the mid-2010s. Rebranding the classic Disney-oriented network into an extreme, action-centric channel for a young adult demographic, with original shows that had more edge than your typical Disney show, made the channel thrive during the 2010s. Genre shows such as Gravity Falls, Kickin’ It, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, and Kick Buttowski all shaped Disney XD’s identity and made it the place to watch great Disney series, more so than what was on Disney Channel back then. 

It’s 2024 now, and the network has lost its sauce. Since Disney+ exists, there’s no newness to the channel whatsoever. All its current programming consists of reruns of concluded shows and ports of Disney channel shows. With it being a shell of its former glory, it’s time to bring back the first iteration, Toon Disney, and use it as a place to get late millennial to Gen-Z kids who are now adults back the network. It can play reruns of classic ‘90s-’00s Disney toons, alongside the action shows of the 2010s. 

Nick Gas

Lately, Nickelodeon has been testing their SpongeBob-infused waters with sports. The latest Super Bowl coverage featuring commentary from Tom Kenny in mocap as SpongeBob with appearances by Dora the Explorer became a Twitter-wide phenomenon earlier this year. Unquestionably, sports will become a mainstay on Nick as long as its sister network, CBS Sports, is up and running. So why not bring back the sports-geared Nick Channel, Nick Gas? 

If they’re so keen on introducing kids to football but do not want to take any airtime away from the only two shows they run –– SpongeBob SquarePants and The Loud House–– a network dedicated to sports from a Nick-type lens as they did before would land! They can play the latest football games with their green coat of slime alongside showing reruns of their old game shows, such as Legends of the Hidden Temple and Double Dare. With Marc Summers returning in his one-man off-Broadway show, The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers, there’s no better time to tackle a revival of this Nick sports channel. I’m telling you, it’d be so GAS. Nick Gas.


Before Shudder became a new home for horror, there were Chiller and Fearnet. The former was the mainstay for thrillers, and the latter was horror. The NBCUniversal/Comcast-owned network had many gore fanatics’ blood a-pumping as they showcased classic works from Hitchcock to Craven on their respective channels. 

Ad – content continues below

I remember watching early Hitchcock films on Chiller and running in the opposite direction when my late dad was watching Saw off Fearnet. There was a particular novelty in having the exclusivity of classic genre cinema present off the two networks. They eventually became one when NBCUniversal merged all of Fearnet’s content into Chiller. Considering the name, I lose my mind over the fact that the parent company uses Syfy as its means to usher in original horror content. It’s a great channel, but it’s misleading programming. A relaunch of Chiller and Fearnet would be a great way to bring young genre audiences back to cable television.


I have no quarrel with Disney’s channel used for soap operas relaunching as strictly Disney Junior. However, many old ladies want to watch their soaps. And no, not off solely Lifetime either. There are over 10,000 episodes of General Hospital and One Life to Live. And the love has never ceased from its fanbase. 

With Soapnet, Disney can dump all their current soap opera programs while adding some of their recent drama diversions from Hulu and put them through syndication, sitting alongside reruns of their other neverending programs of ABC yore like Grey’s Anatomy and….well, Grey’s Anatomy. Think about the grandmas who hate Lifetime and the Oprah Winfrey Network. Bring back Soapnet. It’ll make all the mommas happy. 


I’ve never felt more incredible heartbreak in my childhood than when Paramount and WB merged to launch The CW and UPN died. And that includes my parent’s divorce. UPN was the gold mine for diverse Black content, unlike anything we’ll ever get ever again. It launched beloved iconic sitcoms including Moesha, The Parkers, All of Us, Girlfriends, and One on One — all shows that strayed from permeating Black stereotypes and focused on authentic culture through light, upbeat, humor and resounding honesty. 

It was the antithesis of what BET is today … or what it always has been. Then, when Viacom and Time Warner merged their networks, the latter owning The WB, UPN died, and The WB became The CW – leaving the channel’s mascot, Michigan J. Frog, out of a job. UPN’s shuttering was my Pompeii. Once the CW launched, many UPN shows made the cutting block because, lord knows, the teen-centric shows like One Tree Hill, Supernatural, and Smallville weren’t going anywhere. Black shows, however…

Following Everybody Hates Chris and Akil’s The Game ending their CW runs in 2009, there was a drought in the Black-led series, making me nostalgic for the once-in-a-lifetime range we had in programming that I hope to one day get again. Even into my adult years, I wish a channel like UPN would return and take a chance on the variety of content it holds from live-action Black shows. UPN was the last great American antenna network that emphasized progressiveness that should be recaptured once again. 

Ad – content continues below