Television

From Televangelists to Transgender TV

The Family Channel ain't what it used to be.

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They say if you remember the '80s, you actually were in fact there.
Robertson campaign

You young'uns might not remember this, but the cable channel now known as ABC Family used to be called the CBN Family Channel, with CBN standing for "Christian Broadcasting Network." Pat Robertson had launched CBN after he bought a Virginia TV station in the early '60s; when he moved into cable in 1977 the new channel's schedule was initially dominated by religious shows, with Robertson's The 700 Club as its featured attraction. As the outlet's execs started adding old sitcoms, westerns, and other programming they deemed family friendly, they were choosy about what they would or wouldn't broadcast—Bewitched wasn't allowed, for example, on the grounds that it promoted witchcraft.

That was then, this is now. The Christian Broadcasting Network still exists, but it spun off the Family Channel as an independent company in 1990; the operation was eventually sold to Fox and then ABC. The channel still broadcasts The 700 Club—that was required by the sales agreements—but it now airs the show with disclaimers, and the rest of the schedule has changed rather drastically. We passed a cultural milestone of sorts when the outlet that once had refused to show Bewitched started transmitting Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

Since then, it's gone a lot further into territories that Robertson probably didn't envision when he went into the cable business four decades ago. Like The Fosters, its weekly drama about a lesbian couple. And, as of this month, the reality show Becoming Us:

Robertson, for the record, is more progressive than you might expect on trans issues, declaring on-air two years ago that he doesn't "think there's any sin associated with" sex-change operations. So it's possible that he wouldn't object to Becoming Us. Either way, I suppose it's appropriate to have a show about gender transitions on a channel that's gone through such a transition itself.

NEXT: Pope Francis and Naomi Klein Both Hate Free Markets, Technological Progress, and Economic Growth

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  1. More like ABC Infamy Channel. Am I right, people?

    And what ever happened to TBS? It changed from being the The Beastmaster channel to God knows what it is now. Is that progress, I ask you?

    1. I remember TBS in the old days. NWA/WCW wrestling followed by braves baseball. Andy Griffith, cheesy movies, and Captain Planet. Good times, except for Captain Planet which sucked double jointed donkey dick.

      1. What I miss is Night Flight on USA Network. Some of the most fun TV of the ’80s.

    2. Is that progress? No, no it is not.

      http://www.posters57.com/image…..pg=600.jpg

  2. Could we stop talking about trannies already? If some poor deluded soul doesn’t know what they are and they will be happier wearing dresses and make-up, more power to them. Still, I am getting tired of hearing about it.

    1. *gasp* you can’t say the T word…

      1. “They. They! THEY!!”

        BWAHAHAHAHAAA!!

    2. My car has a stick shift, the truck is a slushbox.

    3. Yeah, it’s getting to be rather overdone, isn’t it?

  3. I love how capitalism just wrecks the best-laid plans of the most devout.

  4. My wife watches shit on this channel all the time. Then she leaves the room right before 700 Club comes on and doesn’t change the channel or turn the TV off. Now I’ve gotta hunt for the remote so I’m not stuck listening to this garbage.

    1. Huh. What a coincidence. My wife does the same thing and it drives me nuts. I hate the sound of the television.

    2. Not for nothing, but my wife does the same thing, and 700 Club is not close to the worst original programming on that channel. I believe most of the original programming to be crimes against humanity.

  5. Mike Eisner = Devil

  6. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop about Brook.

  7. I used to occasionally enjoy getting baked and watching 700 Club late at night. Good times. I liked it when he would close his eyes and pray with the TV audience. And he had Mr. T on sometimes.

  8. There is no middle ground in the KULTUR WARZ!

    You’re either a snake-handling, fag-hating, “transphobic”, bible-thumping evangelical hater or a progressive font of new age virtue and tolerance (excluding tolerating those who wish to deny cakes to aforementioned gays).

    It is apparently impossible to be a secular atheist who thinks that human beings should have the right to do things that he disagrees with. It’s not about rights and never has been. It’s about forcing people to celebrate your own unique sexual predilections. And fuck that.

    1. Yesterday or earlier today someone mentioned that some of the gays are complaining that they are being mainstreamed. They aren’t special anymore.

      1. Who’s the most mainstream gay?
        NPH?

        1. Ellen DeGeneres

        2. Charleton Heston.

  9. God don’t make no mistakes!

  10. Robertson, for the record, is more progressive than you might expect on trans issues, declaring on-air two years ago that he doesn’t “think there’s any sin associated with” sex-change operations.

    Haha! That’s awesome.

    1. There’s a particular line of social conservatives who are more comfortable with sex changes (and then adherence to the gender role of one’s new sex) than with androgyny or homosexuality. In some ways sex changes are more conservative about gender roles.

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  12. If a person wants to cut off his pecker, (or for that matter, sewn on a pecker) that’s between the person, their family and their doctor. Having said that: biologically there are 2 sexes for the human species:
    Male and Female. There is a small percentage of folks with various genetic disorders such as Kleinfelter’s syndrome, Down’s syndrome etc. where there is an extra chromosome and what not. And there are people born with ambiguous genitalia that are arbitrarily assigned female (for obvious reasons).

    It seems to me that if a person is transgender, first they could do genetic testing. Do they have a genetic anomaly? Are they genetically one sex but physically assigned the other, etc.

    And it does seem to me that if genetically (and at least outwardly physically) one sex, and “feel” like the other, doesn’t that indicate a mental or emotional problem? Please understand, this is not from some sense of God doesn’t make mistakes or any other nonsense. Rather just trying to make sense from a biological sense. After all, I may think and feel like a bear, or a Klingon. Doesn’t make it so. And while we can do plastic surgery and hormone therapy, if a person fits all of the characteristics for sex, why should we as a society indulge in a delusion?

  13. I remember that Robertson guy, and Billy Sunday and Billy Graham and Dickie Nixon’s Muerile Majority. So first we have the Democrats rejecting the Klan and their Kenyan defeating the Grand Old Protestants like a scene out of The magic Christian with Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers. Now the Supreme Beings legalize… what’s that German word for watching really obnoxious creeps squirming with discomfort? Anyway, first the Berlin Wall and now this. That’s entertainment!

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