5 Shows on (Formerly) The Learning Channel That Teach Nothing

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The Fall of The Learning Channel

It may surprise you to learn that The Learning Channel was actually founded back in 1972 by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and NASA. Then named the Appalachian Community Service Network, it was focused on providing meaningful educational programming through the medium of television. Only in 1980, when it was privatized, did the channel finally become The Learning Channel, or TLC for short.

It was at that moment, that the channel began its descent to drivel.

The decline of the network can be summarized in its changing slogans. In 1980, TLC was "a place for learning minds." Geared toward an inquisitive audience, it featured shows like Paleoworld, that, you know, actually taught things. By the mid 90's, that changed. Officially changing its name to TLC and operating under a new motto of "Life Unscripted," the channel eschewed education in favor of mindless entertainment. In 2006, seeking to reclaim a semblance of its former respect, TLC engaged a new promotional program under the slogan "Live and Learn." But it was a half-hearted attempt. Reality television shows still dominated its programming lineup. With the launch of the infamously awful Toddlers and Tiaras in 2008, TLC gave up entirely. Its slogan became "Life Surprises," whatever that means.

You'll scarcely find any educational programming on TLC today. But you will find a great many shows that don't teach you anything. Here are five of the worst, along with recommendations of what you should watch instead.

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