One of my cost-cutting measures was to drastically reduce my cable package. I now pay about $13 a month (instead of $50), and get a rather eclectic amalgam of television offerings. Fortunately, my $13 gets me all the religious and home shopping channels, the networks, a couple of superstations, and a few others. One thing that I don't get is ESPN. I do get ESPN Classic, and I'm actually digging on that very much. I've always been something of a sports enthusiast, but not at the expense of other things. When offered a choice to see a game in just about any sport live, I take it. When offtered a choice between a game on television and just about anything else, I take the anything else part.
That being said, I like the fact that when I turn on ESPN classic, I am going to get to see a game that has went down in the history books as a good game. They have eliminated a lot of the guesswork for me. The fact that I am such a casual observer means that regardless of the game, I probably haven't seen it.
It occurred to me that this concept is simply a permutation of other networks. Nick at Nite was such a hit, that they made an entire network (TV Land) to play reruns of old TV shows. The superstations make names for themselves by offering "stripped" programming of more recent reruns, and each new TV show begins selling rights to its reruns years ahead of time, charging premiums based on the strength of their high ratings.
Based on the fact that American TV viewers seem to have an insatiable avarice for old programming, it gives me great pleasure to announce my own concept for a new TV network: C-Span Classic
Imagine the response when you can come home after work and experience the sheer nail-biting excitement of going back into time to December of 1985 and hearing the legendary Gramm-Rudman Act being read into the congressional record. The mere thought of that gives me chills. I remember being a spry young 5th grader at Cloverdale Elementary school when that act was introduced, and hotly debating the long term ramifications of the President's economic stimulus package on the playground with my friends. I was always of the opinion that the old guard was too Kenyesian in their approach, but this kid named Tony and had a different opinion that he shared as he was playing with the zippers on his Michael Jackson jacket. He told me point blank that in the wake of Nixon officially taking the country off the gold standard had set into place so many market corrections that the only hope that we could have was to place our faith on Milton Friedman's optimism for the growth of the global economy. It turns out that we were both off base on that one, but I for one would enjoy to revisit my own naivete.
That was the same year that we got to watch Oklahoma Senator David Boren filibuster the senate floor when Edwin Meese's confirmation was up for a vote as Reagan's Attorney General until Reagan agreed to sign an emergency farm relief bill. During that historic time, it became progressively harder for us to focus on other relevant issues such as the Chicago Bears Super Bowl Shuffle, because the action on the senate floor was just too damn exciting.
Not to mention 1992's landmark Revenue Act of 1992 to help inner cities introduced by historical footnote Lloyd Bentsen. I think that everyone remembers where they were when that bill was introduced, and would probably enjoy to revisit the tension in the air when Bentsen read that one into the record. I think that we were all on the edge of our seat for that one, and the senate floor was a shove away from a knife-fight. I know I'm not alone when I say I'd like to revisit that experience.
I don't know how soon I will get the chance to pitch this idea. I spoke to a representative of cable television juggernaut Comcast about this idea when I paid my bill last month at one of the Little Rock substations, and he supported my idea by giving an affirmative sounding grunt as he printed my receipt. I expect to get a telephone call about this shortly, and as soon as I have more information on this, gentle reader, so will you.