Everything You Need To Know About the History Channel

History is the new re-branding of The History Channel, a popular cable TV channel that focused on history, historical fiction, historical specials and historical documentaries from 1995-2008. The re-branding took place in March 2008. Even with its new name, History is still owned by A&E Networks, which is a joint venture between the Hearst Corporation and the Disney-ABC Television Group of the Walt Disney Co.


How can I get access to History?

As of February 2015, nearly 100 million U.S. households had access to History via their cable and satellite TV providers. For many, History is part of the basic cable or satellite package and does not require any additional subscriptions. Moreover, History is now available internationally. Starting in the late 1990s, History began creating local versions of the channel for Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. In part, this was due to criticism that History provided only a U.S.-centric view of historical development.

What types of programs are available on History?

History continues to challenge the conventional notions of what “history” represents. According to the network, it includes more than just documentaries and historical specials.

Thus, the company has made a push into other historical genres, including reality TV (e.g. “Pawn Stars,” “American Pickers” and “Ax Men”) and, even more controversially, pseudo-documentaries such as “Ancient Aliens,” “UFO Hunters” and “The Nostradamus Effect.” Some view these pseudo-documentaries as being only loosely based on fact, and sensational in nature. Even the reality TV shows have come under criticism, as they tend to feature individuals like alligator hunters and truck drivers rather than real historical features.

outlanderThe most popular shows currently on History include “Pawn Stars,” “American Pickers,” “Forged in Fire” and “Doomsday: 10 Ways the World Will End.”

What about original programming at History?

Just as networks like HBO now feature original studio content, History has also experimented with original programming. The first original series at History, “Vikings,” launched in March 2013. Starting on November 30, 2016 “Vikings” will return for Season 4.

How has History evolved since its founding in 1995?

In the mid-1990s, The History Channel (as it was known as back then) largely featured programming dedicated to World War II. As a result, some referred to the channel as “The Hitler Channel.” As a result, The History Channel moved much of its military programming to a sister channel, known as the Military History Network.

wolf hall main characterIn addition, the channel, as noted above, has pushed into new genres and has embraced new international historical shows. The channel is still known for its themed weeks and history marathons organized around themes like warfare, technology, mythological creatures, inventions, and apocalyptic scenarios. Moreover, the website of History often includes content related to current events. For Halloween 2016, for example, History.com included a special feature on “All About the Pumpkin.”

What has been the critical reaction to History?

Ever since re-branding as History, the channel has encountered skepticism from critics. Some have challenged the historical veracity of some of the shows appearing on the channel, while others have said that the new pseudo-documentaries are more fiction than history. Finally, some have criticized the channel for its lack of educational content for children. You can find other interesting programs about history here.