Recently cable networks have explored unique topics that at first glance may seem strange or
unorthodox, but nevertheless have found a loyal and passionate audience.
For decades, traditional media has poked fun at the legend of Bigfoot (e.g., the Sasquatch-themed
Slim Jim commercials). But to Animal Planet and Spike TV, the legend is no laughing matter.
Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot, in which true believers actually seek out evidence to prove the
existence of the Sasquatch, is one of the network’s top rated shows. The Nov. 11 second-season
premiere of the series drew nearly 1.3 million viewers, more than double the network’s 600,000
primetime audience during the week.
Recently, Spike TV literally upped to ante on efforts to find the elusive beast. The network has green-
lighted a 10-episode series, The $10 Million Big Foot Bounty, that will award $10 million to anyone
who can provide irrefutable evidence that Bigfoot exists and is walking among us.
It used to be that only villains or really cool biker guys donned tattoos on television shows. Now it
seems that every popular reality series character has at least one moderately sized tattoo.
The industry has been credited — for better or for worse — with successfully bringing what
once was considered an underground tattoo subculture into the mainstream with shows like
A&E’s Inked, and Spike’s Tattoo Nightmares and Ink Master. Spike, which averages
more than 1 million viewers for each of its body ink-themed series, last week greenlit a third show
within the genre, dubbed Tattoo Rescue.
Of course, none of this will matter if the ancient Mayan calendar is correct and the world as we know
it ends next month. National Geographic Channel has given a voice to survivalists with its top-rated
show, Doomsday Preppers. The series’ sophomore season premiered on Nov. 13 to audience of 1.3
million viewers and 863,000 adults 25 to 54 — both records for a Nat Geo returning-series debut.
The series’ collection of ordinary Americans preparing for the end of the world has connected with
viewers — many of whom, in light of Superstorm Sandy, may be thinking twice about labeling
these characters as crazy and irrational alarmists.