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. “And it’s [a type of programming] that I think in some ways has run its course. I don’t think you’ll be sitting with me here next year asking me a question about something I put on—whether a series or a special—where that’s the dilemma. They’ve done very well, many of them, but it’s not something that’s right for us … if something [has been previously ordered], it’s probably still coming. But I’m telling you where I am and how I feel moving forward.” READ FULL STORY