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Joseph Scarbrough launched what he called "The Scarblog" as a way of cataloging his work over the years, as well as going into greater detail of things on his mind (known as "Unfinished Thoughts").

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fantasy: Niche Puppetry Channel

I certainly would watch, wouldn't you?
Remember the old days of cable, when niche channels catered to a specific demographic? Like how MTV used to be all about music videos and other music programs? When Cartoon Network used to be all about animation? How about when A&E used to show informative and educational programs? Or when TV Land used to be the ultimate home for television classics of yesteryears? Or when Animal Planet used to have programs about animals? Heck, even the Weather Channel used to be about weather!

No matter what the interest, demographic, or community, there used to be (and in some cases, still are) niche channels catering to those specifics, but if there's one thing that never really got to experience that was puppetry. I suppose, in a sense, having such a channel might seem senseless: not only is puppetry an underrated art form that most people tend to overlook, but a majority of puppet shows on TV have been preschool shows, and there's been niche preschool channels throughout the years (Noggin, Sprout, PBS Kids, etc.). But a lot of people tend to forget there's been puppet shows for other audiences and demographics out there, and not only that, there's been a lot of puppet shows that are all but forgotten in this day and age.

I doubt we would ever see such a niche channel for puppetry, but it's something nice to think about. I can even figure out what a decent schedule would be like:

- Early Morning (6am - 10am): Sid & Marty Krofft shows. These guys dominated Saturday Morning back in the 70s and 80s, so it seems only fitting that this slot in the schedule be home to such fare as H.R. PUFNSTUF, THE BUGALOOS, LIDSVILLE, SIGMUND AND THE SEA MONSTERS, LAND OF THE LOST, THE LOST SAUCER, FAR OUT SPACE NUTS, and their latest contribution: MUTT & STUFF.

- Daytime (10am - 5pm): Those "preschool" shows I was talking about. Any of those shows you can imagine, they could fall into this slot. SESAME STREET, BARNEY & FRIENDS, TELETUBBIES, WIMZIE'S HOUSE, BETWEEN THE LIONS, MUPPET BABIES, ALLEGRA'S WINDOW, JACK'S BIG MUSIC SHOW, BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE, THEODORE TUGBOAT, LAMB CHOP'S PLAY-ALONG, THE CHARLIE HORSE MUSIC PIZZA, JOHNNY AND THE SPRITES, ANIMAL JAM, and those are just to name a few.

- Evening (5pm - 8pm): Family shows. These are the shows that have broad audience appeal, such as THE MUPPET SHOW, MUPPETS TONIGHT!, FRAGGLE ROCK, THE GREAT SPACE COASTER, COUSIN SKEETER, and again, just to name a few.

- Primetime (8pm - 11pm): One thing about niche channels is they always brought us original programming that you couldn't find anywhere else - Nickelodeon gave us Nicktoons, Cartoon Network gave us Cartoon Cartoons. This slot would be perfect for all-new original programming: just imagine if Tim Kelly's Zook and Max had their own half-hour show, or if Kevin L. Williams's Muley the Mule and his cohorts had their own show, or if relatively newer acts such as A Company of Fools or The Creatures of Yes had their own shows. This would be perfect for them.

- Latenight (11pm - 2am): The adult shows. CRANK YANKERS would probably fit at home here, but so could televised broadcast of puppet improv showcases, such as the Jim Henson Company's PUPPET UP!, and other similar fare.

- Dear Air (2am - 6am): I could easily see this being reserved for obscurities. Probably a lot of these syndicated Christian puppet shows you used to see on local channels. But certainly, rarities that time has forgotten, such as that Mr. Potato Head show from Fox Kids, and perhaps this slot could conclude with some of the Kroffts' lesser-known shows like PRYOR'S PLACE and D.C. FOLLIES.

And that would be the Monday through Friday weekday schedule . . . I could see the weekend schedule showcasing Muppet movies, individual standalone specials from any of the above mentioned shows, short independent films, and the like.

Now that would be some good TV.

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