Friday, August 17, 2012

That former movie channel

An acquaintance of mine on a game show borad posted this bit of programming news from a former movie channel:

AMC announced today two new unscripted original series: Untitled Taxidermy Series (w/t) and Venice Beach Freakshow (w/t), both working titles.

[...]Untitled Taxidermy Series (w/t) consists of eight, half-hour episodes. It's a hosted competition series between a new contestant and one of the series' immortalizers that face three judges each week. The series features taxidermists pulled from both the rogue and classic schools of taxidermy to create a distinct piece of art that is judged on overall presentation, creativity and technique.

Oh dear. And AMC has the cable rights to some very prominent movies (most notably The Godfather, which I think is locked up until the end of 2019). As somebody who's a fan of both game shows and classic cinema, I have to say that this is the sort of thing that wouldn't particularly interest me even it it were on one of the hunting/outdoor channels elsewhere on the dial where it would probably fit in better with the program. The latter-day nontraditional game shows, based on competitions like cooking, interior decoration (my mom watches HGTV religiously and I know they have such a show), or in this case taxidermy all seem to have fallen into stereotypically obnoxioux contestants and irritating production values among other things. Taxidermy might be an interesting subject for a documentary; not this competition format.

But this blog isn't really about complaining about taxidermy shows. It's sad to see what happens to former movie channels that feel they have to appeal to the "correct" demographic. But once again, it also raises the question of what's going to happen when the fans of today get old if there aren't enough new fans. Sure, TCM has prestige, but I would have thought that AMC had prestige, too. I mean, it was on a bunch of cable systems in the lower-capacity days when it was still a commercial-free channel. There are the premium channels, but in an a la carte universe, how many people are going to pay for any niche channel? And the premium channels are almost all just as focused on bringing original series-style programming even if they started out as movie channels.

I have to admit that I don't have an answer to any of this. And in some ways, that's frustrating. I'd like to think I'm doing what I can to pass on my love of classic movies, but that's not very much. And it's not as if I hold the rights to any of them.

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