Monday, September 30, 2013

A Note About Hunting Shows

How many of you out there watch a hunting show? I can't imagine it's too many of you. Hunting shows typically air on weekend mornings and early afternoons. They're the kind of programming that runs against football and used to run against Saturday morning cartoons back when those were still a thing, and when football- and other sports- are removed from the equation, they're lumped in with fishing shows, heavily-edited movies, infomercials, religious programs, car shows that are not Top Gear, shows profiling local real estate, the E/I programming that replaced Saturday-morning cartoons, and various local detritus that just barely avoided public-access. Basically, the cheapest, lowest-profile, lowest-value programming the network has but they have to air something because people are actually awake and they can't simply go off the air like they could if it were 4 in the morning.

If you happen to be one of these shows, the first thing you need to do is realize just where on the television hierarchy you are. You're on the air, in all likelihood, because you're not a huge hassle and because the network has nothing better to put in your timeslot that's worth the effort. You're sharing timeslots with shows only on the air because the government mandates it. And if you're not big-time sports, your timeslot isn't worth the effort. If you perform exceptionally well, your reward is not higher ratings for your show, but the opportunity to get off the show and onto something better. It's grunt work. So your task is to basically keep your head down and competently do your job without raising much of a ruckus. If you begin to be a problem in any way, the network will not hesitate to take action.

So for example, if you happen to be NRA lobbyist Tony Makris, the host of a show called Under Wild Skies on NBC Sports (formerly Versus, formerly the Outdoor Life Network), and you shoot an elephant in the face three times, do not assume that the fact that the NRA has pasted its name in front of the name of the show ("The National Rifle Association's Under Wild Skies") will protect you when Deadspin raises a ruckus. Do not assume that any clout the NRA has in Washington will apply to you when you remark that "bringing the ivory back to camp is a very special occasion". Do not assume you will remain on the air when you compare those who are upset by you shooting an elephant in the face and repeatedly remarking about the ivory to Hitler. Because your show will be shot in the face itself, very quickly, and replaced with a prepackaged show from the English Premier League or a rerun of the Dan Patrick Show or something else simple to air and less likely to cause controversy.

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