Under Discovery Channel’s new regime, fake shark movies and man-eating anaconda stunts are out.
In an apparent response to viewer dismay over ratings-grabbing stunts that went against Discovery’s science-and-nature brand, the cable channel’s new president, Rich Ross, said he will avoid such content under his leadership.
Appearing at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour in Pasadena on Thursday, Ross was first asked about bogus nature documentaries, like last year’s Shark Week movie Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives – a fictional film about a “serial killer of the seas” disguised as a legitimate documentary. The project was slammed by fans of the annual programming stunt and is part of a line of programs that includes Discovery sister channel Animal Planet’s notorious mermaid films.
“I don’t think it’s actually right for Discovery Channel,” said Ross, the former CEO of Shine America, when asked about the film.
Stuck for reaction, one can only say that the natural world contains more astonishing life forms than they can make up. Monkey bodies rendered in flowers, for example, or the march of the penguins. Or the temporary amoeba “animals.”
Of course, the problem is, that once we get round to looking at what is really astonishing, we face issues around mind, design, and higher than plausible levels of information. Could that be part of the flight into unreality?
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