New Discovery Channel head says no more BS

The Discovery Channel is a business like any other and, some might say, they’ve fallen prey to those well documented pressures with less than admirable results in recent years. Airing vapid stunts and fake documentaries including the occasional program on deities, angels and demons, that tread awfully close to validation, and one treating mermaids as real possibility I recently stumbled across and watched in slack jawed horror for as long as I could stand it. Well, maybe there’s some good news afoot:

Entertainment Weekly — 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.


  1. lorn says

    thompjs @ #1 Nails it in one.

    The American viewing public doesn’t like explorations of reality where thought, consideration and debate among ideas is required. They want quick and easy to digest answers spoon fed to them. I could be wrong but odds are, in part because their previous drift into pseudoscience has alienated the reality based viewers, they are going to have a hard time getting market share up high enough to cover costs. That said, if they can cover a long term loss the reality based viewers, because there are so few good outlets, will return. It will take discipline and a major investment from studio bosses, not known for their willingness to take losses or steadfast nature, to make it work.

    I have strong doubts but wish them well in restoring the name.

  2. grumpyoldfart says

    Every new president of every company tries to make an impression by saying, “There will be changes,” but nothing ever happens. The ‘new coke’ fiasco put a stop to company presidents seriously following up on promised changes.

  3. Alverant says

    I’ve been seriously disappointed in the Discovery Channel for a long time. The only show I cared about was Mythbusters and even that got stale after a while. The commercials I saw on Science Channel had an A-team reference so I’d like to see that episode. In any case the new format will have to really impress me to stay with them. I want them to do it, but I’m skeptical. It’s this “American Heroes Channel” that concerns me. Conservatives like to pretend they’re the definitive Americans and this sounds like a channel for them.

  4. tvoyumat says


    “American Heroes Channel” used to be The Military Channel, and mostly showed old Discovery Wings and stuffs like Greatest Tank Battles.

    Since becoming AHC, they have conspiritard programing, shows about the Secret Service and other Feds, and stuffs about Ancient Egypt. I almost never watch it anymore unless a good episode of Triggers shows by accident.

    So yes, a decent docu-channel has gone to glorification of the Police State.

  5. Trebuchet says

    If he’s just running The Discovery Channel but has no authority over the rest of Discovery Communications’ awful array, it’s pretty well useless. The Mermaid one, as mentioned, was on Animal Planet.

    Then there are the History Channel and its spawn, along with National Geographic Channel, which is run by Fox.

  6. StonedRanger says

    AHC? You mean the newest version of a jesus channel? They have so much biblical garbage on there that I no longer watch it and I hope it goes broke soonest. Im still wondering what Ancient Egypt, the bible, and all the stories about jesus have to do with American heroes?

  7. StevoR says

    Haven’t seen you post anything in weeks now. Hope you are alright and will be blogging again ASAP. Please let us know if we can help. Best regards – StevoR

    Anyone else here know what’s happening and why Zingularity has seemed so quiet for so long now?

    PS. As the topic here, yeah, it sounds good but will have to see if it happens. I don’t get to watch it here in Oz anyhow – SBS and ABC here are usually pretty good channels for docos.

  8. StevoR says

    .. And this being Murphy’s law you post the next day! Glad you are okay and it was just work committments DarkSyde!

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