Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Are Bibliobloggers Too Boring for TV?

The Biblioblog community - and Robert Cargill in particular - seems to be making reference to as many links as possible to promote the (his) new 'controversial' Bible series on the History Channel.  He seems to have made a strong personal effort to ensure the success of this project.  No doubts the quality of the participants.  Lots and lots of scholars.  But I bet the network is worried that its not interesting enough to retain viewership.  Let's face it - most of this stuff is pretty boring.  I've seen the list of topics.  It's the kind of stuff that liberal eggheads who happen to care about religion (a very small subset of people) think is interesting.  My guess is that they begin with average viewership for the first show and then it trails off after folks figure out there's nothing there to hold them.  I also bet this production skews to an older demographic - not the people networks want. 

Yes they have young pretty faces (or least as young and pretty as scholars can be) but this the kind of 'fun stuff' professors welcome their students at the beginning of the year as a means of enticing them to stay until the end of the year.  I don't think its sexy enough.  But we'll see.  They do have the creative minds behind many Playboy productions to help them.  Is it enough?  I hope so.  It would be nice to be surprised here, but let's face it - professors aren't cool. 

I just don't know what audience is going to stay through to the end.  But then what are the networks expectations?  My gut feeling is that the network is just trying to find out whether smart sells.  If they see a noticeable drop off - as I suspect they will - this will be a one off.  But let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that they pull something off with this.  Many scholars are quite reluctant to participate in these sorts of productions.  It would be a good thing if they triumph but as I said - I wouldn't bet on it. 

“No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” - H.L. Mencken.

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.