‘Basic!’: Explore the glory days of cable with guests Jimmy Kimmel, Amy Schumer & more

Before binging, there was cable — and now it’s time to binge a brand-new SiriusXM podcast series exploring the history of the groundbreaking medium. Hosted by Doug Herzog and TV critic Jen Chaney, Basic! delves into the glory days of cable television, celebrating an era in pop culture when networks like MTV, Comedy Central, FX and ESPN changed the television landscape with groundbreaking, innovative programming.

Basic! is available on the SXM App, Stitcher, Pandora, and all major podcast listening platforms. Episodes of Basic! also air on SiriusXM’s VOLUME (Ch. 106).

Listen in and revisit cable’s low-budget, quirky beginnings all the way up to the Emmy Award-winning premium dramas of the modern era. Basic! features interviews with the stars, key players and creative visionaries that helped make cable TV the most important utility in any American home. The podcast also zeroes in on unforgettable milestone moments in basic cable history, from Live-Aid to the Monday Night Wrestling Wars, from CNN’s game-changing 24-hour news coverage to the birth of reality TV.

Herzog and Chaney anchor the conversations in this new podcast, creating an oral history as they go along. In each episode they are joined by guests who thrived and starred on cable TV, including Jimmy Kimmel, Amy Schumer, Fab Five Freddy, Cindy Crawford, Neal Brennan, Tim Gunn and many more. From the ’80s to the present day, Basic! takes a closer look at the influence and impact that cable had on pop culture over the last 40 years.

“As a career cable weasel, I’m thrilled to bring the secret history of basic cable to ears everywhere,” said Doug Herzog. “It never had the same respect of network television, HBO or even the streamers who threatened to make it obsolete. But with a chip on its shoulder, it managed to change the TV landscape forever.”

“With streaming options proliferating by the minute — seriously, two new platforms were launched in the time it took me to say the beginning of this sentence — it seems like a perfect time to revisit the early years of basic cable and track its evolution and impact on the TV we watch today,” said Jen Chaney. “This podcast will be fun, conversational and, hopefully, educational. With Basic! in the world, hopefully no child will ever have to wonder again who Beavis or Butthead was.”

Doug Herzog is the former president of Viacom Music and Entertainment group where he oversaw MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, TVLand, Spike and Logo, among other cable channels.  Jen Chaney is a TV Critic for New York Magazine and Vulture. She is also an author and journalist who writes about movies, television and pop culture, and has written for numerous publications including The Washington Post, New York Times, Esquire and Salon.

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