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Nov 18 2011

BBC to distribute Frozen Planet sans environmental episode in US

Via The Telegraph:

The environmental programme has been relegated by the BBC to an “optional extra” alongside a behind-the-scenes documentary which foreign networks can ignore.

Campaigners said the decision not to incorporate the episode on global warming as part of the main package was “unhelpful”.

They added that it would allow those countries which are sceptical of climate change to “censor” the issue.
[...]

Viewers in the United States, where climate change sceptics are particularly strong group, will not see the full episode.

Instead, the BBC said that Discovery, which shows the series in the US, had a “scheduling issue so only had slots for six episodes”, so “elements” of the climate change episode would be incorporated into their final show, with editorial assistance from the Corporation.

However, the Frozen Planet DVD will be sold overseas – including the US – containing all seven episodes as broadcast in the UK.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said it was not be feasible to force networks to buy the climate change episode as it features Sir David talking extensively to the camera and there are many countries where he is not famous.

I’m very skeptical that Discovery’s “scheduling issue” is to blame. Consider, oh, off the top of my head, American Chopper and Cash Cab. How many hours a day do they each get? When my workplace’s lunch room TV is tuned to Discovery, and I walk in at my incredibly varied “lunch” breaks (e.g. anytime between 11 and 4pm), it’s one of those two shows almost invariably.

But a reality show about building motorcycles is obviously far more important than the wide-scale destruction of vast swathes of habitat on the one and only planet we have stewardship over. Five years to fix humanity’s psychological inability to focus on a problem that might affect them in the future, but isn’t threatening them right this second? We’re so doomed. But at least those people who don’t believe in facts about this universe that have lots of scientific evidence backing them, won’t get confronted with those facts, change the channel, and thus affect Discovery’s ratings.

Update: Looks like the Telegraph is misinformed. Crooks & Liars corrects the record:

Regarding the much-discussed seventh episode airing on the BBC, Discovery Channel says that there are a lot of programing decisions still to be made, but divulged that even if the footage is cut to be six episodes, as planned in the US, the essence of the BBC’s seven episodes will be represented throughout the US version of the series. In other words, the reality of climate change will be present throughout the entire series.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Jim Ellis

    C & L has a different, more believable explanation.

    Good News: Frozen Planet Story Was Wrong, Climate Change Will Still Be Part Of Discovery Channel Series

    I’m just sayin’

  2. 2
    richardelguru

    That’s the Daily Torygraph??
    I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it all up had been unfortunately misinformed

  3. 3
    Jason Thibeault

    Jim’s pointed us in the right direction. Link right here.

    Regarding the much-discussed seventh episode airing on the BBC, Discovery Channel says that there are a lot of programing decisions still to be made, but divulged that even if the footage is cut to be six episodes, as planned in the US, the essence of the BBC’s seven episodes will be represented throughout the US version of the series. In other words, the reality of climate change will be present throughout the entire series.

    Apparently Discovery’s not doing Attenborough. I don’t get it. I love his narration in just about every documentary I’ve seen, and yet they replaced him with Oprah Winfrey for the documentary Life. Isn’t that just a shade past ridiculous?

  4. 4
    Nentuaby

    Corporate wisdom in the US is that we’ll never buy anything with a recognizably foreign “face” to it, so they re-record all these series with American-accented narrators. They also massively dumb down the scripts, which is even more insulting. This is not born out by the evidence– you can buy DVDs for either version of each BBC Earth series in US stores, and the originals sell very well indeed. In fact, I think it may have been by popular demand that we originally got Attenborough’s Planet Earth in the first place. Yet it persists.

  5. 5
    anarchic teapot

    I’m amazed by the flood of AGW denialists snitching about the series. Are all Torygraph readers really small-minded luddites these days?

  6. 6
    chrisj

    @anarchic teapot:

    Yes.

  7. 7
    Jason Thibeault

    Teapot @5: interestingly, global warming denialism isn’t so much a problem in Europe, so even on the Telegraph, it wasn’t exactly anti-global-warming. Even if you count the big mistake.

  8. 8
    Aliasalpha

    Apparently Discovery’s not doing Attenborough. I don’t get it. I love his narration in just about every documentary I’ve seen, and yet they replaced him with Oprah Winfrey for the documentary Life. Isn’t that just a shade past ridiculous?

    For fucks sake… When I saw the update at the end of the story it actually stopped the facepalm in progress but then you posted this…

  9. 9
    cmv

    Jason – You’re watching the Discovery Canada, which is very different from the US version. I’m not positive, but I would be surprised if they carried the gameshow set in a Toronto taxi.

  10. 10
    klem

    “I’m not positive, but I would be surprised if they carried the gameshow set in a Toronto taxi.”

    Yea, even Americans couldn’t watch that awful thing. But they have a game show set at gas pumps, we get that one as well as the taxi. Wow.

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