Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do

Then again, maybe they do know.
{ How can they not? }


Jenny Daly, president of T Group (quoted above), includes the following TV shows on her production credits: “Fashionista Diaries” for Soapnet, “Night Club Confessions” for Fox Reality and “Pageant Mom’s Unleashed” for E! Entertainment.  Also: “Love is in the Heir”, “Fight For Fame”, “Last Bride Standing”, “Starveillance,” “Diary of an Affair,” “Fake-A-Date,” “Friend or Foe,” and “Party Crashers.”

Given that resumé, Ms. Daly seems like the obvious choice to handle a six-part National Geographic series about faith-based communities.


How many people of faith will these four men
be able to offend in six hours?
Stay tuned…

  • bob

    I’d say this goes back to my earlier comment about this site not being about journalism. It’s hard to review a show without actually watching it.

    • Here’s the journalism part: I told you about a National Geographic show you might not have known about. And I told you about the executive who is in charge of the production. And I reminded you about the four guys on the National Geographic end who are responsible for it all. That’s journalism, right?

      But I wouldn’t say that I’m “reviewing” the show because, as you point out, I haven’t seen it yet. But I am offering a forecast, based on a collection of indicators that should raise all sorts of red flags for anyone who believes that David Lyle is the among the very last people any sane person would consult when planning for the future of a religious community. I mean, the whole conceit would be perfect for The Onion, or SNL. But for the National Geographic Society? Please….

      On a related note: How does a meteorologist know when to issue a Tornado Watch? Does he wait for the tornado to touch down and tear up a community? Or does he look at all the variables, all the atmospheric inputs, and say: Uh oh… looks like a storm is on the way… … If you look at all the variables here, it pretty easy to conclude that “Divine Intervention” has all the makings of being an insulting, offensive show that transforms what happens in a church into… well, into a TV show.

      FWIW: The first person to call my attention to “Divine Intervention” was someone who reads this site regularly, and who has extensive experience in television production. This person sent me a note along with a question: “How many religions can they offend in one six-hour season?”

      I’m afraid we’re about to find out.

      • cdwidea

        Its not journalism, just an opinion piece. The Real Screen article was journalism, you are just trying to make a point, that’s okay, I’m not taking away from your right or asking you to change, but just be honest about what it is. I appreciate you putting the link in for the production company – they also made Invention Hunters on History, Popped on Fuse (which is awesome). yes, mostly schlock on their credits, no argument, but it wasn’t like you were reporting – just pulling out what made the most sense to get your opinion across. Again, that’s fine, this is a blog designed towards its animosity of some executives, I get it.

        Not sure I’d use meteorologist as an example – notice how often they are wrong?

        So this week on the channel, I watched the Geobee, they aired the original Americans on Everest documentary on Friday, I saw another show about Alaska survivors Life Below Zero, I believe (which was very good, mind you, just nothing that new) and my current favorite show, Brain Games, which my entire family watches together. I get the points you are trying to make in general on this site, but the channel also has some really good shows on – they may not be what YOU think NG should be, but i certainly appreciate the direction they are taking with some of the programming.

        Honestly, as a fan of shows like Restaurant Impossible, Bar Rescue – those business turnaround shows, I’m interested in what can be done with churches. It doesn’t sound nearly as interesting as restaurants and bars, but I’d give it an episode- and if it sucks, well i won’t watch – and move on.

        A show here and there will neither bring the society down nor necessarily grow them to the next stage. i know its easy to focus on the negative, and that’s the whole point of your site, but its not all negative just because you want it that way.

        • A few quick reactions, CDW….

          I’m delighted you’re finding good stuff to watch on the Channel. Brain Games sounds like excellent family fare, and the Everest documentary is right up the Society’s alley. In addition, the Society is doing lots of other worthy work: the GeoBee, its education initiatives, grantmaking, most of what appears in NGM, and more.

          But here’s the thing: Most of the good stuff is happening on the side of NGS that’s not making any money. Look at the 990s, and you see a 501(c)3 that’s in a financial nosedive, with a 96% drop in net revenue from 2007 to 2011 (the most recent years data is available). So where’s the money coming from? The Channel.

          What interests me most is not the handful of shows you can point to with pride; what interests me is whether John Fahey & the Trustees are building a business model that’s sustainable. Specifically: Can you make profoundly different “brand promises” to very different groups of people… and do it all in public… and still maintain your “brand equity”? Can you put Brain Games on Tuesday night… and then have a drug & prison marathon the next night… and still have your Brand make sense in the mind of the consumer?

          I’ve asked people who are experts in the field, and they’ve said no. (See this interview with a business school professor at American University. And stay tuned for another interview I did last week with a former senior ad executive at DDB.) … And then there’s John Fahey’s experience at Time Life, where he faced the exact same problem (dwindling audience), and did the exact same thing (went tabloid to get attention), and the results were disastrous. What’s the lesson John learned from the Time Life meltdown? I’d love to ask him, but as you know, he’s not talking.

          Re: your love of turn-around shows — restaurants, bars, churches… I cringe here for the same reason I cringed when the producer of Meet The Hutterites said he didn’t understand why anyone was upset with his show because it was popular and the ratings were terrific. I tried to explain to him that pointing to the show’s popularity as a defense for how he blindsided the Hutterite community revealed his profound misunderstanding of what the Hutterites — and what most religious communities — are all about: Trying to meet a Higher Standard. Trying to lead an honest, decent life in the eyes of God. The measure of a life well lived was not to be found in audience share, but doing what Jesus would do. … The thought of David Lyle & his hired minions invading a church & then telling clerics how to conduct themselves — it’s painful to even imagine.

          If NGS can build a viable financial future on the backs of shows like Brain Games & documentaries about climbing Everest in 1963, then I’ll be the first to applaud and even shut down this site. But I doubt that will work. I’m betting Murdoch & his boyz will revert to the mean, and pump up ratings with the tabloid stuff that has always worked for News Corp.

          The only question is whether the National Geographic Society can maintain its credibility with such a split personality.

          If you belonged to a church that did all sorts of good work on the east side of town (feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless) by running a bordello on the west side of town (under the church’s name), would you say anything? Or is such market segmentation just another creative business turnaround?

          Thanks for comments… and for stopping by.

  • Kristin Sturdevant

    Please look at Mormonism. Among other things, I’d like to know how many companies, products, holdings they have.

    • I’d watch that documentary, Kristin. In fact, I have a feeling it has already been done.

      But NG’s reality TV show (“Divine Intervention”) apparently will focus on churches that need a makeover because they’re struggling, financially and otherwise. Based on that metric, the Mormons are doing quite well, I believe.

      Thanks for stopping by….

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