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8 Very Short-Lived TV Channels

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While some cable networks like HBO are approaching their 40th birthdays, other channels came and went so fast that you may have never accidentally discovered them by pressing the wrong button on your remote. Here are eight channels that until now had been mostly forgotten.

1. CABLE MUSIC CHANNEL (OCTOBER 26, 1984 - NOVEMBER 30, 1984)

As a way to get into the emerging 24-hour music television business, on October 26, 1984, Ted Turner launched the Cable Music Channel, which was marketed as a more wholesome alternative to the "satanic" MTV. MTV countered with the announcement of an upcoming sister network that would play the same innocent, adult contemporary, MOR music that filled up the Cable Music Channel's playlist: Video Hits 1. Turner also had trouble getting the rights to popular videos because MTV allegedly put pressure on musicians to adhere to an exclusivity agreement. When cable operators weren't putting CMC on their systems, Turner gave up and sold his brand-new channel to MTV for $1 million, just 34 days after it launched. Cable Music Channel signed off permanently the very next day.

2. SATELLITE NEWS CHANNEL (JUNE 21, 1982 - OCTOBER 27, 1983)

It was notable that Ted Turner, known in the early '80s as "The Mouth of the South," had failed in attempting to create a new network to compete with—and copy—an existing network that had a specific format all to itself, because he had been on the other side of things just two years earlier. After CNN surprised most media experts by being a 24 hour news channel that people actually watched, ABC and Westinghouse combined to create the Satellite News Channel, an around-the-clock news network of their own. SNC's hook was that the news would be updated every 18 minutes. Once he had discovered ABC and Westinghouse's intentions, Turner quickly launched CNN2 on January 1, 1982, more than five months ahead of SNC's debut. CNN2 updated its news every 30 minutes; it would eventually be renamed CNN Headline News. Satellite News Channel couldn't manage to get on enough cable systems, whose operators figured one to two news networks were enough to begin with, and folded after 15 months.

3. THE OVERMYER NETWORK (MAY 1, 1967 - JUNE 1, 1967)

Warehousing mogul Daniel H. Overmyer got his start in television in 1966 when he created WDHO-TV Channel 24 in Toledo, Ohio (the call letters are Overmyer's initials). After acquiring five other UHF stations, Overmyer tried to use those and other willing potential affiliates to create a fourth major television network just one year later to rival CBS, NBC, and ABC, attempting to succeed where the DuMont Network had failed after ten years of broadcasting in 1956. Even though he employed former ABC president Oliver Treyz, and the broadcasting rights to the new Continental Football League (defunct as of 1969), he quickly got into money troubles before the intended launch. Eleven businessmen purchased a majority share of the network, renamed it the United Network, then watched its single program, a two-hour late night show called The Las Vegas Show, fail to make it a profitable investment. The prospect of a $400,000 AT&T bill for the June lease on telephone lines led to the cancellation of both the show and Overmyer's dream.

4. HAWKVISION (OCTOBER 1992- APRIL 1993)

Under the belief that it "wasn't fair to season ticket holders," and because he felt that it was ultimately costing him money, Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz decided after the 1992-93 NHL season that his franchise would be the only one out of the four major American sports to purposely not have its home games televised. This decision came after the headstrong, unpopular owner canceled all traditional broadcasting offers and offered Hawkvision, a pay cable service. Hawkvision existed for the sole purpose of televising Blackhawks games played at Chicago Stadium to fans' living rooms for a fee. When that proved to not be profitable after one season, Wirtz refused all television offers for the remainder of his life. After his passing in 2007, the home blackouts were finally lifted.

5. THE PUPPY CHANNEL (1997- 2001)

Created by a retired advertising executive who was tired of watching the O.J. Simpson trial and the daytime TV alternatives, The Puppy Channel was a 24/7 network that showed nothing but puppies doing puppy things, accompanied by light instrumental music. It lasted four years and was on just as many cable systems, ending in 2001 when the entirety of the internet was beginning to provide all of the cute animal content that would ever be necessary. The Puppy Channel returned on said internet in 2008. DogTV launched in 2012 as a 24/7 channel with sound, colors, and camera angles attempting to appeal to dogs themselves.

6. THE COMEDY CHANNEL (NOVEMBER 15, 1989 - APRIL 1, 1991) / HA! (APRIL 1, 1990 - APRIL 1, 1991)

Both Time Warner/HBO and Viacom wanted to bring more laughter into the world, but their noble deeds were thwarted by the fact that they both attempted to do it at roughly the same time. HBO's The Comedy Channel launched first, with shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Higgins Boys and Gruber and a Jon Stewart-hosted Short Attention Span Theater that combined bits and sketches with clips from old movies, TV shows, and stand-up. Viacom's Ha! premiered on April Fools Day 1990 with a couple of original sketch shows (The Unnaturals, Random Acts of Variety) and a game show (Clash!), but mostly relied on reruns of SNL, sitcom classics like I Love Lucy and The Phil Silvers Show, and sitcoms meant to be forgotten (All is Forgiven? Occasional Wife?). Because some cable providers didn't want to choose sides between the two powerful companies, in some cases they ended up not adding either channel to their lineup. As a result, viewership numbers were disappointing to both media conglomerates. Even though there was a $2.4 billion antitrust suit ongoing between the two, Time Warner and Viacom merged their two comedy channels together to form Comedy TV. By Comedy TV's April Fools Day 1991 relaunch it was rechristened as CTV: The Comedy Channel. Two months later on June 1st, it was Comedy Central.

7. CBS CABLE (OCTOBER 12, 1981 - DECEMBER 17, 1982)

CBS founder William Paley oversaw the creation of CBS Cable, the network's first foray into the then relatively new and unfamiliar land of cable. A reported $10 million was initially spent on the channel, which produced several of its own highbrow, cultured programs that focused on classical music, drama, films, jazz, and interviews with artists of those walks of life, as well as a quiz show with kid contestants hosted by Norman Lear. CBS Cable continued to create 60 percent of its own daily schedule every day until its last, when it presented a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. Paley was forced to shut the channel down because Bravo and ABC/Hearst's Alpha Repertory Television Service (ARTS), which later became A&E, took a sizable chunk of CBS Cable's desired demographic.

8. AMERICA'S TALKING (JULY 4, 1994 - JULY 15, 1996)

From the mind of CNBC president and chief executive Roger Ailes came the 24 hour talk show channel America's Talking. Ailes himself hosted a celebrity interview show on the channel called Straight Forward. A psychologist and behavioral therapist co-hosted the program Am I Nuts?. Break a Leg was hosted by contest winner Bill McCuddy. The morning show, America's Talking A.M., was co-anchored by Steve Doocy, one of a few America's Talking personalities that followed Roger Ailes when he left the company in 1996 to help Rupert Murdoch start the Fox News Channel. Ailes' departure, low ratings, and a partnership with Microsoft led to America's Talking taking a permanent vow of silence, paving the way for MSNBC. The lone America's Talking show to survive the change was Politics with Chris Matthews. Also surviving, in the form of a YouTube supercut, is Tony "The Prodigy Guy" Morelli, the man who was tasked to read selected posts from the Prodigy America's Talking bulletin board out loud during A.M. and Am I Nuts?:

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8 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 3
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[Warning: There are lots of Stranger Things season two spoilers ahead.]

Stranger Things season two is in the books, and like we all hoped, it turned out to be a worthy follow-up to an addictive debut season. Now, though, we’re left with plenty of questions, mysteries, and theories to chew on as the wait for a third season begins. But for everything we don’t know about what the next year of Stranger Things will bring us (such as an actual release date), there are more than enough things we do know to keep those fan theories coming well into 2018. While the show hasn't been officially greenlit for a third season by Netflix yet, new details have already begun to trickle out. Here’s everything we know about Stranger Things season three so far.

1. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER TIME JUMP.

The third season of Stranger Things won’t pick up right where the second one left off. Like the show experienced between the first two seasons, there will be a time jump between seasons two and three as well. The reason is simple: the child actors are all growing up, and instead of having the kids look noticeably older without explanation for year three, the Duffer Brothers told The Hollywood Reporter:

“Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They're going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can't start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. But what I like is that it makes you evolve the show. It forces the show to evolve and change, because the kids are changing.”

2. THE IDEA IS TO BE SMALLER IN SCALE.

If the series’s second season was about expanding the Stranger Things mythology, the third season won't go bigger just for the sake of it, with the brothers even going so far as to say that it will be a more intimate story.

“It’s not necessarily going to be bigger in scale,” Matt Duffer said in an interview with IndieWire. “What I am really excited about is giving these characters an interesting journey to go on.”

Ross Duffer did stress, though, that as of early November, season three is basically “… Matt and me working with some writers and figuring out where it’s going to go.”

3. THE MIND FLAYER WILL BE BACK.

The second season ended on a bit of a foreboding note when it was revealed that the Mind Flayer was still in the Upside Down and was seen looming over the Hawkins school as the winter dance was going on. Though we know there will be a time jump at the start of next season, it’s clear that the monster will still have a big presence on the show.

Executive producer Dan Cohen told TV Guide: "There were other ways we could have ended beyond that, but I think that was a very strong, lyrical ending, and it really lets us decide to focus where we ultimately are going to want to go as we dive into Season 3."

What does the Mind Flayer’s presence mean for the new crop of episodes? Well, there will be plenty of fan theories to ponder between now and the season three premiere (whenever that may be).

4. PLENTY OF LEFTOVER SEASON TWO STORYLINES WILL BE IN SEASON THREE.

The Duffer Brothers had a lot of material for the latest season of the show—probably a bit too much. Talking to Vulture, Matt Duffer detailed a few details and plot points that had to be pushed to season three:

"Billy was supposed to have a bigger role. We ended up having so many characters it ended up, in a way, more teed up for season three than anything. There was a whole teen supernatural story line that just got booted because it was just too cluttered, you know? A lot of that’s just getting kicked into season three."

The good news is that he also told the site that this wealth of cut material could make the writing process for the third season much quicker.

5. THERE WILL BE MORE ERICA.

Stranger Things already had a roster of fan-favorite characters heading into season two, but newcomer Erica, Lucas’s little sister, may have overshadowed them all. Played by 11-year-old Priah Ferguson, Erica is equal parts expressive, snarky, and charismatic. And the Duffer Brothers couldn’t agree more, saying that there will be much more Erica next season.

“There will definitely be more Erica in Season 3,” Ross Duffer told Yahoo!. “That is the fun thing about the show—you discover stuff as you’re filming. We were able to integrate more of her in, but not as much you want because the story [was] already going. ‘We got to use more Erica’—that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room.”

“I thought she’s very GIF-able, if that’s a word,” Matt Duffer added. “She was great.”

6. EXPECT KALI TO RETURN.

The season two episode “The Lost Sister” was a bit of an outlier for the series. It’s a standalone episode that focuses solely on the character Eleven, leaving the central plot and main cast of Hawkins behind. As well-received as Stranger Things season two was, this episode was a near-unanimous miss among fans and critics.

The episode did, however, introduce us to the character of Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), who has the ability to manipulate people’s minds with illusions she creates. Despite the reaction, the Duffers felt the episode was vital to Eleven’s development, and that Kali won’t be forgotten moving forward.

“It feels weird to me that we wouldn’t solve [Kali’s] storyline. I would say chances are very high she comes back,” Matt Duffer said at the Vulture Festival.

7. OTHER "NUMBERS" MIGHT SHOW UP.

We're already well acquainted with Eleven, and season two introduced us to Eight (a.k.a. Kali), and executive producer Shawn Levy heavily hinted to E! that there are probably more Hawkins Laboratory experiments on the horizon.

"I think we've clearly implied there are other numbers, and I can't imagine that the world will only ever know Eleven and Eight," Levy said.

8. THERE MIGHT NOT BE MANY SEASONS LEFT.

Don’t be in too much of a rush to find out everything about the next season of Stranger Things; there might not be many more left. The Duffer Brothers have said in the past that the plan is to do four seasons and end it. However, Levy gave fans a glimmer of hope that things may go on a little while longer—just by a bit, though.

“Hearts were heard breaking in Netflix headquarters when the Brothers made four seasons sound like an official end, and I was suddenly getting phone calls from our actors’ agents,” Levy told Entertainment Weekly. “The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.”

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Big Questions
Why Do Fruitcakes Last So Long?
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Fruitcake is a shelf-stable food unlike any other. One Ohio family has kept the same fruitcake uneaten (except for periodic taste tests) since it was baked in 1878. In Antarctica, a century-old fruitcake discovered in artifacts left by explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s 1910 expedition remains “almost edible,” according to the researchers who found it. So what is it that makes fruitcake so freakishly hardy?

It comes down to the ingredients. Fruitcake is notoriously dense. Unlike almost any other cake, it’s packed chock-full of already-preserved foods, like dried and candied nuts and fruit. All those dry ingredients don’t give microorganisms enough moisture to reproduce, as Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, explained in 2014. That keeps bacteria from developing on the cake.

Oh, and the booze helps. A good fruitcake involves plenty of alcohol to help it stay shelf-stable for years on end. Immediately after a fruitcake cools, most bakers will wrap it in a cheesecloth soaked in liquor and store it in an airtight container. This keeps mold and yeast from developing on the surface. It also keeps the cake deliciously moist.

In fact, fruitcakes aren’t just capable of surviving unspoiled for months on end; some people contend they’re better that way. Fruitcake fans swear by the aging process, letting their cakes sit for months or even years at a stretch. Like what happens to a wine with age, this allows the tannins in the fruit to mellow, according to the Wisconsin bakery Swiss Colony, which has been selling fruitcakes since the 1960s. As it ages, it becomes even more flavorful, bringing out complex notes that a young fruitcake (or wine) lacks.

If you want your fruitcake to age gracefully, you’ll have to give it a little more hooch every once in a while. If you’re keeping it on the counter in advance of a holiday feast a few weeks away, the King Arthur Flour Company recommends unwrapping it and brushing it with whatever alcohol you’ve chosen (brandy and rum are popular choices) every few days. This is called “feeding” the cake, and should happen every week or so.

The aging process is built into our traditions around fruitcakes. In Great Britain, one wedding tradition calls for the bride and groom to save the top tier of a three-tier fruitcake to eat until the christening of the couple’s first child—presumably at least a year later, if not more.

Though true fruitcake aficionados argue over exactly how long you should be marinating your fruitcake in the fridge, The Spruce says that “it's generally recommended that soaked fruitcake should be consumed within two years.” Which isn't to say that the cake couldn’t last longer, as our century-old Antarctic fruitcake proves. Honestly, it would probably taste OK if you let it sit in brandy for a few days.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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