At an all-hands staff meeting on September 20, 2012, John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of the National Geographic Society, delivered a very honest and thoughtful appraisal of the programming problems plaguing the National Geographic Channel (which is majority owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation).
While John specifically mentioned Meet The Hutterites and American Gypsies (two shows we’ve covered extensively here at Society Matters), he also offered reassurances that the Channel’s new programming hubs — in New York, Los Angeles, and London — were beginning to create new shows that would make us all proud. John’s comments are definitely worth a listen:
New hubs. New programs. New hope. It felt as though we might finally be turning a corner.
Then we bumped into one of the Channel’s new prime time offerings for 2013 — Highway Thru Hell:
In the 1996 Frontline documentary Who’s Afraid of Rupert Murdoch?, TV critic Tom Shales offered the following insight about Mr. Murdoch’s media empire, built primarily on newspapers and TV shows with lots of sex, violence, and sensationalism:
This argument of, “I’m giving the people what they want” — I mean, I think that’s probably what Nero said when he fed Christians to the lions. As far as I know, the ratings on that were very high. It was a big crowd pleaser. You know, a terrible accident on the highway causes everyone to slow down and stare at it. That doesn’t mean you necessarily would want to put it on prime time.
Highway Thru Hell airs on Thursdays at 8pm on the National Geographic Channel.