An island in a sea of madness

Guess what cable network will be debuting such new shows as: 'Knitting Wars,' 'Bayou Eskimos,' 'The Dillionaire' and 'Married to a Mime'?

If you answered Insight and Arts, The Know Channel and Wonder Network, you'd be 100 percent correct (and part of an inside joke perpetrated by WNET, NYC's local PBS Channel).

Channel 13 has long stood for classic programming, ranging from ‘Masterpiece Theater’ and ‘The American Experience’ to ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘Antiques Roadshow’.

Now, though, in a highly creative membership drive to attract 50,000 new viewers, WNET is finally taking off the gloves and smacking mainstream reality TV shows and networks such as The History Channel, A&E and TLC upside the head.

It's a brilliant, breakthrough campaign that features posters sprinkled throughout Manhattan.

The faux TV programs are pictured on the left side of the visual with words on the right that read, “The fact that you thought this was a real show says a lot about the state of TV.” Amen, brother. Amen.

Kellie Spector, senior director of communications and marketing at WNET, says the campaign's intent is to position the local PBS affiliate as, “an island in a sea of madness.”
And, that it is.

It's a sad commentary that reality TV shows have become the currency of the realm in modern broadcasting. And, each new reality show seems to go one step further into the abyss that is mindless prime-time programing.

At a recent meeting of television advertisers the broadcasting industry calls their “up-fronts,” comedian Jimmy Kimmel told a collective group of marketers, “Welcome to the up-fronts where the networks throw sh*t at the wall and see what sticks. Guess what? You're the wall.”

Thank god we DO have the island that is PBS. And, for the record, I cannot wait to see the premiere episode of Knitting Wars. Those darning needles look positively lethal and, I for one, am just spoiling to see some blood spilled.

2 thoughts on “An island in a sea of madness

  1. I think the answer is the obvious one, julie. Reality TV’s rise corresponds with America’s dumbing down. The country is awash in mediocrity so it stands to reason our entertainment should reflect those values. We should be renamed the United States of Sleaze. Thankfully, there is PBS which is, indeed, an island in a sea of madness.

  2. The WNET campaign is BRILLIANT. And the Twitter component is the icing on the cake. I can’t believe it’s taken this long for a programmer of respectable TV shows to address the pink elephant in the room.
    Reality TV won’t go away as long as it is cheap to produce and viewers continue to watch the train wrecks.
    Remember when A&E actually aired shows about arts and entertainment? And Bravo is now the “Real Housewives” network. Ovation was cancelled from TW Cable. Why has it become so difficult (apart from PBS) to find programming celebrating the arts?