One of the reasons people have been cutting the cord is that cable TV bills force you to pay for dozens and dozens of “zombie” channels you never watch. You’re not alone. There are lots of channels that have very few viewers, if any.

So, why are they still on the system? Because cable providers have to pay the owners of those channels for the right to carry them. And why don’t they just drop those “zombie” channels, which also fester on streaming providers like YouTubeTV and satellite services like DirectTV?

Rick Ellis explains in his Too Much TV newsletter:

Media companies continue to offer their large bundles of mostly pointless cable networks as part of a “take it or leave it” deal during carriage disputes…. But there are still an amazing number of channels which only exist because even with a primetime audience in the low five figures, the combination of a few cents per subscriber from the carriage deal as well as some ad revenue provides enough of a revenue stream to keep the channel alive. Even if no one cares.

Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery both have a sizeable collection of channels which exist only as revenue-skimming television zombies. They don’t have original programming, they are seldom even mentioned in corporate messaging campaigns. 

He then goes on to list some of the rarely-viewed channels Warner Brothers/Discovery forces cable providers to carry despite incredibly low ratings, including American Heroes Channel, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Life, and Motor Trend.

Those are from just one media corporation. Similar garbage from Comcast/NBC, Paramount, Disney, and Fox clutters up the cable channel listings even more — while you pay for it.

Read Rick Ellis’ full piece here.