Finding BigRatings: Animal Planet ditches reality for docudrama dollars

Finding Bigfoot announces new season and expansion around the globe. But no Bigfoot.

‘Finding Bigfoot’ Gets Even Bigger! Animal Planet Takes Search for Squatch Worldwide

This November, FINDING BIGFOOT, one of Animal Planet’s top-performing series ever, delivering more than 1.3M P2+ viewers in its second season, returns with 11 all-new episodes and two specials that take the team of investigators farther across the globe and further into sasquatch history than they’ve ever travelled. For the first time, the intrepid cast of investigators — Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO) president Matt Moneymaker, researchers James “Bobo” Fay and Cliff Barackman, and skeptical scientist Ranae Holland – will expand their search in North America and beyond to investigate the sasquatch phenomenon known as “yowies” in Australia and the “orang-pendek” of Indonesia. Also for the first time, Animal Planet will produce two “aftershow” specials, where the cast will answer burning questions from fans, dive deeper into the evidence and theories, and give behind-the-scene stories and insight.

At the press conference (I have not seen), it appears the cast got a grilling from TV critics who poked fun at Animal Planets slide into mythical creature features.

TV critics suspicious about Animal Planet’s ‘Finding Bigfoot’ – The TV Column – The Washington Post.

TV critics seemed a bit put out to be reminded that Animal Planet has a series on its lineup called “Finding Bigfoot.”

When they actually do find Bigfoot, one TV critic wondered, what contractual arrangement does Animal Planet have with the producers to slap that episode on the air out of order.

Animal Planet General Manager Marjorie Kaplan admitted that she had no such contractual arrangement — “but I will tell you when they find Bigfoot, you will know quickly.”

Another critic wondered whether Animal Planet “had run out of real animals” to profile.

Kaplan said the network has been reinvented and now is all about exploring the “rich planet” on which we live.

Tip: Multiple

The take away story here is that these shows do well with viewers. Those viewers are not scientists, they don’t know how science works and they probably enjoy the idea of the mysterious. The executives ADMIT they are only after ratings as the mermaid “docudrama” did so well ratings-wise, that “is evidence our audience loved it,” Kaplan said, adding that there are “new species being discovered all the time.”

Ugh! Then cover the new species found. The small mammals, insects and deep sea creatures. Oh wait, those aren’t big and eye catching like those we have SEARCHED for for decades and STILL have not found.

And “rich planet”? More like rich sponsors.

The critics cited Animal Planets fake docudrama on Mermaids as evidence the network has gone off the deep end. Then, Bobo of Finding Bigfoot huffed that you are “ignorant” if you equate Bigfoot with Mermaids. Well yes, we’d agree with Bobo there since no one has suggested “Finding Mermaids” which are more obviously folklore in the public eye. But not by much. There are MANY gullible viewers out there and Animal Planet certainly has weakened their reputation as a network (as have other channels original branded as having “science” content) by showing these blatantly psuedoscientific and unrealistic shows.

More: Finding Bigfoot crew make big claims about recent Yowie search

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  6 comments for “Finding BigRatings: Animal Planet ditches reality for docudrama dollars

  1. August 3, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    Don’t worry, the show will tank as soon as Scrappy Doo joins the cast.

    • marky
      August 6, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      I always thought this one belonged in the Saturday Morning Cartoon Lineup with a disclaimer citing, “This show is not real, it is only for entertainment.”

  2. Mac
    August 3, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    Unfortunately, profit IS the motive of network TV, not reality or science. This is evidenced in other channels as well. The popular and profitable Eureka was canceled after 5 years, because it was not profitable enough. (And the initial 5 year contracts ended and would have cost more (thus less profit) for the network to renew the series.)

  3. Greg Simpson
    August 4, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    Mac, is absolutely correct. Profit is, of course, the bottom line with all TV networks, and profits rise with top-rated programs. Pseudoscience is a perennial favorite subject among the general public, so it keeps showing up in what we thought were unlikely places. Even the Science Channel is going this route, with a UFO-hunter series! We skeptics are a minority, so complaining to the networks might make us feel good, but it won’t change the programming.

  4. NoOneInParticular
    August 7, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    What, no comment yet on the fact that even the lead “investigator” is called Matt *Moneymaker*, of all things?!

    • August 7, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      That’s his name for real. It’s cheap to make fun of it. I don’t do that. I prefer to judge claims instead.

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