Sunday, May 08, 2005

What, Too Soon?

To: The History Channel

From: Appreciate the Cheese

Date: May 8, 2005

RE: The Future of History

First off, congratulations on your coverage of the 60th anniversary of V-E Day. People have criticized your concentration on WWII events and figures, but the last few days have proven that the material you have is compelling and enlightening.

I'm sure you have noticed your fellow cable channels taking the easy way out and adding reality programming or worse. TLC (Which used to stand for The Learning Channel, but now stands for nothing.) started it all with the success of Trading Spaces. Soon, there was little learning and a lot more decoupage. A once great channel fell.

AMC (formerly American Movie Classics), once a bastion of classic films second only to Turner Classic Movies, decided to add commercials while removing any questionable material. Soon movies like "Short Circuit" were deemed "classic." Another quality television station taken by force.

A&E - your parent network - has also fallen in line, introducing multiple reality shows, including shows about airline travel, a mob-boss' daughter, a stunt-man, bounty hunters and a funeral parlor. The ratings went up but it cost them their soul. Another vibrant channel, full of excellent shows lost the good fight.

Discovery Channel fell next, easily taken over by bikers and car mechanics and, well, more bikers. Ratings went up and the creation of quality programs decreased. Nothing has emerged on the scale of "Walking with Dinosaurs" since "Walking with Dinosaurs." Discovery put up a good fight - and I've no doubt that there are still resistance fighters there - but it fell like the rest.

The History Channel must be the arsenal of quality television. Even now the enemy is at your borders. Recently "Full Throttle" started on The History Channel. It's described as:
Part reality show, part history, FULL THROTTLE gives car lovers the chance to ride into history. Two teams are each given the same model of a classic car in similar disrepair. Supplied with a garage, tools and parts, they've got two days to get their wheels high performance as they prepare to compete in an all-or-nothing drag race. The winner drives away in both cars; the loser walks away empty-handed.
Some say this is only one show on a very large schedule, but there is nothing to be gained through appeasement. It's all or nothing.

You must fight in the pitch meetings, you must fight in the writing rooms, you must fight in the hallways and in the executive office, and you must never surrender.

It's not just about you; your strength and your resistance could prove to the world that there is more than one way. Your courage could liberate the masses from mediocre television.

The world is watching.


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