An Ode to the WB, Chiller & More Networks That Are Long Gone

Ode to 8 Long Gone Channels Featured Image with Nick GaS, UPN, and Chiller
Chiller; Nickelodeon; UPN

In the TV industry, nothing is permanent. Just as a show can be canceled without a proper goodbye, a TV channel can go off air just as abruptly.

Just because we can't watch these networks anymore doesn't mean we shouldn't remember them. From ESPN 3D to Chiller to UPN, the mid-'90's to the early 2010's gave us an incredible mix of groundbreaking entertainment. Some franchises from them even continue to this day. With the Supernatural finale right around the corner, it's only fair to remember its original network, the WB.

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To pay our respects, scroll down to read about eight incredible defunct channels and the shows that made them dear to us.

The Box juxtaposed against their phone line featuring Eminem
The Box

The Box

Years Active: 1985 – 2001

Replaced by: MTV 2

No, we’re not talking about the Roddy Rich song, but rather, the network that was more jukebox than a TV channel. Unlike MTV or VH1, The Box’s content (no pun intended) was totally controlled by viewers. For only 99 cents, you could call in and request any song from a video library of over 1800 songs. No VJs meant no programming blocks. Music videos could air two, three, or 10 times in a row, depending on the number of requests. Needless to say, John Mulaney would have loved the channel. The more conventional MTV 2 replaced The Box in 2001 but would continue to air viewer picked content through MTV2 Request and Control Freak.

ESPN 3D logo juxtaposed with 3D camera
ESPN 3D

ESPN 3D

Years Active: 2010 – 2013

Replaced by: Nothing

Avatar may never get a proper sequel in theaters, but its effects on the early 2010s were undeniable. ESPN 3D launched during the overwhelming hype surrounding 3D technology at the turn of the decade. Billed as “your 24/7 3D sports channel,” ESPN 3D started strong by broadcasting the massively popular 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Summer X Games. Unfortunately, 3D-mania was short-lived. Viewership was very low by 2013, not to mention ESPN 3D could only broadcast at 720p. As it turns out, sports fans are happy to let the players stay on the field and the audience stay in their living room.

Fox Reality juxtaposed against 'My Bare Lady'
Fox Reality Channel

Fox Reality Channel

Years Active: 2005 – 2010

Replaced by: Nat Geo Wild

Fox Reality Channel was marketed as the home for scandalous and shocking reality television. Straight out of its launch, FRC began airing shows such as My Bare Lady¸ where porn stars attempted day jobs and Battle of the Bods, where hidden panels of men and women would rate each other’s bodies. Besides sex appeal, Fox Reality Channel did well by their name with Solitary, a game show where competitors went into solitary confinement and endured legitimate psychological trauma. Human nature proved less attractive than nature itself, as Fox Reality Channel quietly rebranded as Nat Geo Wild in 2010.

Chiller Logo and Slasher (2016)
Chiller

Chiller

Years Active: 2007 – 2017

Replaced by: Nothing

Chiller specialized in the content of your nightmares, namely horror, thriller, and suspenseful television shows and movies. The channel rebroadcasted timeless anthology shows such as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, as well as dabbled in original programming like 2016’s Slasher. Chiller’s films were the main draw, bringing the low budget joy of B-movies to a new generation. Most of their films haunt IMDb with ratings of 4 or 5 out of 10 stars. Since Chiller’s shutdown in 2017, however, the rights to their media library have gone unpurchased.

Nick GAS Logo and 'Legends of the Hidden Temple'
Nick GaS

Nick GaS

Years Active: 1999 – 2009

Replaced by: Teen Nick

Viacom launched Nick GaS (Nickelodeon Games and Sports) as a hub for TV shows that highlighted physical activity. Most of its programming included older Nickelodeon game shows like Figure It Out, Double Dare, and Legends of the Hidden Temple. Unlike its sister channel, however, Nick GaS was commercial-free. Instead of airing advertisements between shows, viewers were treated to shorts celebrating athleticism and teamwork, like “Heroes of the Game.” The network grew up with its audience and became Teen Nick in 2009.

Fox Soccer Logo with Lionel Messi
Fox Soccer

Fox Soccer

Years Active: 1997 – 2013

Replaced by: FXX

Fox Soccer got straight to the point. The channel broadcasted soccer (football) leagues from around the world, including the USL (United States), the Premier League (U.K), and the A-League (Australia). In what may be the strangest programming shift in recent memory, 21st Century Fox transformed Fox Soccer into FXX, the home to some of the wackiest shows on cable TV. To mark the occasion, Fox Soccer interrupted a clip of Lionel Messi scoring a goal with Frank Reynolds’ (Danny DeVito) infamous couch scene from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. As of 2020, FXX is still going strong, airing new episodes of Archer, It’s Always Sunny, and the breakout hit Dave.

UPN logo juxtaposed with Veronica Mars
UPN

UPN

Years Active: 1995 – 2006

Replaced by: The CW

Despite only an 11-year run, UPN was legendary. For sci-fi fans, it aired both Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise and the 2002 reboot of The Twilight Zone. As far as reality TV goes, UPN wrote the book. It established countless living room mainstays, from America’s Next Top Model to WWE SmackDown all the way to Iron Chef. Best of all, UPN saved Buffy the Vampire Slayer after its cancellation on the WB and brought us the first two seasons of Veronica Mars. UPN eventually merged with the WB to become the CW, but its unique contributions to TV should not be forgotten.

The WB Logo with The Winchesters from Supernatural
The WB; Jack Rowand/The CW

The WB

Years Active: 1995 – 2006

Replaced by: The CW

As the rival to UPN, the WB had a lot to compete against (and compete it did). It started on a high note with 7th Heaven and kept the hits rolling throughout the ’90s, redefining television with shows like Dawson’s Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Setting the stage for the CW’s superhero universe, the WB premiered Smallville to critical acclaim. The WB’s legacy is felt to this day, particularly through its final gift to the world: Supernatural. Now in its 15th and final season, Supernatural is not only the network’s last continuing series but also the longest it ever produced. Clocking in at 327 episodes, Supernatural will lay the WB to rest when it airs its final episode on November 19 on The CW.