Yet, on most Sunday evenings at 8, the cable channel offers a program that to me is superior to American Idol or Survivor for reality programming.
I'm thinking of Prime Minister's Questions, the televised proceedings from the British Parliament.
Each week Parliament is in session, the prime minister stands before the assembled members for 30 minutes of questions and answers.
"Governmental dialogue" doesn't do justice to what happens each week, especially to those more used to the drab back and forth that usually occurs in the U.S. Congress.
The Brits put on a heck of a show. Comic Robin Williams calls it, "Congress with a two-drink minimum."
Questions as well as answers are frequently met with a sort of harrumphing noise, catcalls and exaggerated posing.
A prime minister's responses are lively, a mixture of favorable facts with a dash of sarcasm and wit.
Above it all is the house speaker, who tries his or her best to bring order to the cacophony, asking for fairness in the middle of a democratic food fight.
One quote sums it up nicely, as the speaker of Parliament tells a potential questioner, "There's no point in waiting for silence. The honorable gentleman isn't going to get silence. Produce your voice, Mr. Hill."
The 48-year-old tradition, known in Great Britain as "PMQs," is embedded deeply into Parliament. Everyone knows the routine. Everyone plays their assigned roles.
A U.S. representative from South Carolina tried to introduce something like Prime Minister's Questions during last Wednesday's presidential address before Congress.
President Barack Obama was straightening out some of the myths surrounding health-care reform. As Obama was stating that his proposal would not provide coverage to illegal immigrants, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., blurted, "You lie!"
Oops. Wilson found himself on the wrong side of the Atlantic, as well as the wrong side of many of his colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats.
Such an ungraceful outburst is not how presidents or colleagues are typically treated in Congress. What works in town halls, where questions are shouted and unpopular answers are shouted down, doesn't work on Capitol Hill.
I can imagine a stiff upper-lipped Englishman saying: "Different field, different rules, old boy."
The Brits engage in a ritualized drama/comedy, a sort of Oscar Wilde version of democracy. (Though, according to the rules of Parliament, using the Wilson's "L" word is forbidden.)
Wilson's South Carolina holler was something out of burlesque, the painted clown throwing a pie in someone's face.
Give Wilson credit for offering an apology to the president. Take away some of that credit for later saying that the president would indeed grant coverage to illegal immigrants.
For those who can't wait on C-SPAN to air PMQs, highlights are plentiful online. Hours can be wasted observing the banter. Viewing portions last week, I was reminded that a regular topic is British health care, a system Wilson and his allies could legitimately call "socialized medicine."
However, it remains popular to any alternative, says T.R. Reid, Washington Post foreign correspondent and author of the new book, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.
In a recent NPR Fresh Air interview, Reid said that it's standard for a backbencher to relay a constituent complaint about Britain's nationalized health-care system to the prime minister.
What happens next? Well, no one seriously entertains doing away with the National Health Service, as England's system is known.
Reid notes, "The answer that the prime minister always gives is, 'Well, obviously, the gentleman opposite wants to see us institute for-profit, American-style corporate medicine. This we will never do.' You know? And they never will. That's the standard answer."
It's enough to make a South Carolina lawmaker scream.