The Discovery Channel’s new boss, Rich Ross, spoke with reporters and TV critics today at Winter TV press Tour 2015, and immediately won the room over by promising to move the venerable cable channel away from its current style of programming, Deadline is reporting.
Rich Ross admitted to TV critics today that The Discovery Channel’s main focus of late has been on pseudo-scientific schlock like “Megalodon: The New Evidence” and not one, but two fake-mermaid documentaries – and vaguely-scientific-sounding, scripted “reality” programs like “Finding Bigfoot” or “Sons of Guns.”
“It’s not whether I’m a fan of it. I don’t think it’s right for Discovery Channel, and think it’s something that has run its course. They’ve done very well… but I don’t think it’s something that’s right for us.”
Perhaps no moment better demonstrated The Discovery Channel’s slide from highbrow scientific programming made accessible to the average cable viewer, to poorly made programs such as the Eaten Alive special, which was supposed to be about a man being eaten alive by a snake but turned out to be about no such thing. The show brought angry reactions from fans, and Ross considers it an embarrassment for The Discovery Channel‘s brand, according to The San Diego Union Tribune.
“I don’t believe you’ll be seeing a person eaten by a snake during my time.”
Although light on specifics as of this post, Ross’ plans for The Discovery Channel‘s new direction seems to include two main goals.
The first will be an end to live stunts, such as Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walks, according to Variety.
“We can do things that are live, but we don’t have to make it as much of a sideshow (type) event.”
The second goal is a focus on authentic documentaries, with the key word being “authentic.” To that end, Ross has brought on acclaimed documentarian John Hoffman as Executive Vice President of Documentaries and Specials. Hoffman has a proven track record of producing award-winning documentaries for HBO.
The Discovery Channel’s new direction under Rich Ross is playing out in microcosm this Saturday night with the return of Mythbusters, one of Discovery’s most popular shows. The show returns for a new season with a reduced cast, a “new vibe,” and a focus that brings the show back to its educational roots, according to executive producer Dan Tapster.
Are you sad to see the mermaids, megalodons, Bigfoot, tightrope walks, and man-eating snakes leaving The Discovery Channel under its new boss? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of: Joke Blogger]