Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When Animals Attack-Discovery Channel

Recently Discovery Channel Networks ran afoul of the Bear People in Alaska.

Note: The Bear People are serious contenders in Alaska, you do not want to kick that beehive.

Seems that taking human dummies and enticing Grizzlies to attack them is both disrespectful to bears and a disservice to the general public who's impression of bears is diminished after watching the show. As the story unfolds the production company responsible for the shoot "staged the event" with caged bears...they failed to let the public know this was the case much to the networks chagrin.

Story here Kudo's to MSNBC for breaking this story.

Which leads us to an ongoing problem with Discovery Channel and shark programming. Last year a similar stunt was done with Tiger sharks at Tiger Beach, Bahamas. A dummy was dressed up in full dive gear and the sharks were enticed to attack the dummy. Where does this end?

It begins and ends with the operations that do business with the production companies, who in turn do business with Discovery networks. As operators who take productions companies to find and shoot sharks we have an obligation to inform and help direct the production company into quality pro shark programming. That's a tall order, and sometimes it cannot be done, but the far end of that spectrum is a dummy being attacked by a Tiger shark.

Without revealing who was responsible for that particular shoot, the blow back from it had serious and continuing repercussions for others who use this site:

1. The Bahamian Tourism Ministry were very upset with this shoot. The Bahamas relies on water based tourism and the depiction of Tigers attacking divers is not what they want to see in their waters. Furthermore, when it was discovered that this shoot was done by a US based company the anger grew. The Bahamas are currently wrestling with what they perceive are US based commercial dive interests who give very little back to the Bahamian economy and are doing "bad things" in Bahamian waters. After watching that show you can see why.

2. The Bahamas Film Commission also voiced serious concern for this site and continued filming here.

Often the net result or blow back of "When Animals Attack" programming is seen months or perhaps years after the shoot. Operators need to take the lead here. The reason why programming like this exists is built on the backs of the last 10 production companies who delivered it to Discovery. We can not only break the chain-but we can also show production companies new and better programming that cost less, delivers more, and keep the audience engaged.

It can be done. Great programming with sharks that delivers thrills takes time and dedication and thought. It's not rocket science.


Heather said...

I saw the show you're talking about. It was as advertised sharks attacking things.

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how pissed the Bahamas are with that shoot. Wait and see!

Shark John said...

The show was lame even with the attack.