A la carte cable? John McCain wants to make it possible

An interview with my DVR (his name is Leonardo — after the Ninja Turtle, not DiCaprio in case you were wondering), confirms that despite regularly watching up to 30 different scripted television shows a week, I am only using a handful of the channels currently offered to me by my cable provider. Should a new bill from Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain pass, Leonardo might be recording my favorites from a far smaller batch of networks.

McCain’s proposed legislation, called The Television Consumer Freedom Act, aims to establish a television environment in which cable television customers only pay for the channels they choose.

By current practices, certain companies — like Disney and NBC Universal — sell their channels in bundles, thus charging cable operators for lower-profile channels, an expense that is then passed on to consumers. McCain’s proposal would seek to remedy that by forcing networks to unbundle channels and encourage cable operators to do the same. (What’s in it for them? Incentives around licensing.)

Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? My channel line-up would certainly slim down considerably. (Again, we’re assuming the major networks CW, ABC, NBC, CBS, and NBC stay put.) Honestly, if I really wanted to cut down to the bare bones, I’d probably only keep a dozen:

+ MTV. There may be a Teen Wolf factor swaying me.
+ USA. Yup.
+ A&E. Don’t look at me like you’ve never been sucked into Storage Wars.
+ FX. Need you ask?
+ ABC Family, where my PLLs live
+ Discovery, where Mythbusters lives
+ TLC. Don’t judge!
+ TNT. Well, maybe not ANYMORE. Kidding. I’m just hurt.
+ HBO. But I just need one — not HBO2, HBO Signature, HBO Comedy, HBO Zone, HBO Zoomba, HBO North Pole. Just HBO.
+ Showtime. See above. Keep it simple.
+ BBC America. For Who and more.
+ E! Mostly for awards season. Otherwise skippable and swappable. If work wasn’t a factor, it’d be TBS.

I know not all of these appear essential, but I’d rather overload a bit than find myself sitting around on a weekend — or late at night — without my old favorites.

Your turn. If à la carte cable was a reality, what would be on your must-keep channel list?

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