The official podcast of the unofficial history of basic cable television. At the dawn of the 1980’s TV was dominated by three broadcast networks. Then along came some entrepreneurial and ambitious mavericks ready to upset the status quo with new programming services delivered, not over the air, but via cable. At first people scoffed. Who was going to pay for 24-hour news, sports, music videos or endless reruns? As it turned out, almost everybody. Slowly but surely, new services and brands like MTV, CNN, ESPN and Nickelodeon began to make their mark, with their plucky, audacious and often low rent original programing that helped these upstarts eventually become a major cultural force. Basic somehow could never get the respect it sought. For years it was seen as minor league to compared to network TV. And it often seemed low rent compared to the big budget, commercial free shows on HBO and Showtime. But finally, as the millenium arrived it started to stand shoulder to shoulder with both broadcast and premium, boasting huge viewership and high quality, award winning shows. But unfortunately it’s moment in the sun was not to last as they watched helplessly as all their progress was obliterated by the advent of the streaming services. On Basic!, former network executive Doug Herzog (MTV, Comedy Central, Fox) and pop culture critic Jen Chaney (New York Magazine ,Vulture) will talk to the people who created and starred in cable’s most popular shows, as well as the cult classics. They will go behind the scenes with network execs, showrunners and those responsible for the programming and milestone moments that made cable TV a must have for every American home.Join them for a look back at a glorious time in pop culture as the create an oral history stretching form MTV to Mad Men.


Doug Herzog
Jen Chaney