Screen Savors: Star-less, star-less night

Star World is going off the air on both HOT's digital and cable services as of January 1, 2009.

D'oh! If you're a fan of The Simpsons or desperately in love with Desperate Housewives and have been watching them on Star World, you might want to start recording some episodes for posterity. As of this writing, Star World is going off the air on both HOT's digital and cable services as of January 1, 2009. According to an official statement released by the cable provider, a deal had been struck with Star World to continue broadcasting on HOT for another two years and to supply the station in a subtitled format. "Recently, Star violated its undertaking to continue to broadcast the station and announced unilaterally that it would stop broadcasting…thereby violating the written contract," says HOT in a written statement. HOT's Karni Ziv promised that the company is actively seeking replacements for the station to meet the seemingly endless thirst some viewers have for English-language comedy, drama and adventure series. But for now, this simply means one less English-language station on our screens, leaving a gaping hole in the lives of many non-digital subscribers, for whom Star World was the only venue for many American and British shows. For digital viewers, it means Star World follows in the footsteps of CNN and TCM - both of which have already disappeared from our proverbial dials. What's a viewer to do? According to the cable regulator's rules regarding the contracts signed with the cable and satellite TV companies, removal of such a station can be a loophole allowing viewers to cancel their contracts without being subject to a fine. However, a check with HOT on this matter drew only a vague response that "HOT will act according to the law and the agreements signed." It's too early to tell just what will happen on New Year's Day, when Star officially exits the Israeli market. In the past, campaigns mounted by the public to save BBC Prime on HOT succeeded in keeping the station on the air locally, but that was when HOT was making the decisions. Here, it is Star that has decided to cut the cord - preferring, perhaps, to focus on its massive presence in India and elsewhere around the world. For those who, in any case, would like to make their feelings known, write to the power that is: Hila Shafrir at As for Star, their representative in Israel could only say the company had made the move for "internal reasons," but would not elaborate. Star's relevant website is: Should there occur any new developments regarding Star World or the procedure for quitting HOT as a result of the channel's upcoming disappearance, we will let you know. In any case, Star World's quality had sagged of late, with too many FOX-produced series like Most Dangerous and the like. We'll certainly miss some of the more entertaining programming, like Prison Break. Maybe we can get that creepy FBI guy from the series to track down the culprits. As for HOT, it's difficult to understand how it can afford to lose Star World. Cheesy stations like Zone Reality (channel 50), which always seems to feature a woman with weird hair investigating paranormal phenomena, programs about bad birth defects and that stupid program Cheaters (where over-sexed ugly people are caught cheating by their equally ugly spouses) just isn't going to cut it. The shopping channel and all the other flotsam we zip past while clicking to the few shows we do watch begs the question as to whether HOT is really giving us our money's worth. While there are promises of some upcoming, new additions - including the new season of 24 and Damages - HOT is in dire need of an overhaul of its content packages. Otherwise, the loss of Star World might just be the impetus for a massive ship jump over to their sole competitor YES. Because once we lose The Simpsons, we are going to have a cow, man!