What's Wrong with Science on TV?
Have you noticed that the science documentary networks that used to present 100% factual science content have now started drifting into an odd abyss of reality programming? I’m not saying it’s all bad (there are some great ones out right now), but there seems to be a diversion from good science – the stuff I remember loving as a budding filmmaker. The situation has been on my mind a lot lately, having now done several shows for various networks, including a TON of pitching various programs. I present the problem I’ve found with the current trends here:
The real problem I see isn’t the network, or the executives. The problem may be that the networks are basing programs on a faulty rating system. There are shows that are getting ratings that most of us science communicators think are terrible – all the ‘Real house wives of’ shows are testament to that. Is it because people love the show, or because people are shocked that there is something so odd on TV. Is it essentially a race for the most viral-type program. I hope not as I’ve made it my career to make good science programming. I think shows on discovery actually are reversing the trend right now. I give much of that credit to a few visionary execs at the top. But will it last?
I’m not sure what the solution is. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the trends, the problems, or ways to reverse it.