The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

August 8, 2013

Discovery hammered for shark special

NEW YORK — A Discovery network special that speculated about whether a giant prehistoric shark could still exist has drawn a passionate response from viewers and starkly raised the question about the worth of big ratings.

The program, “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives,” opened Discovery’s annual “Shark Week” during the weekend. With an estimated 4.8 million viewers, it had the largest audience of any show in the 26 years that Discovery has made “Shark Week” a part of its summer programming, the Nielsen company said.

Yet it drew a heated response online from viewers who said airing a “mockumentary” compromises the network’s reputation.

“It’s the ultimate ‘Shark Week’ fantasy,” said Michael Sorensen, Discovery’s senior director of programming. “The stories have been out there for years, and with 95 percent of the ocean unexplored, who really knows?”

Discovery’s “Shark Week” Web page and Facebook and Twitter sites filled after the show with complaints from fans who objected to the program, saying they were surprised a science-based network seriously discussed the existence of a fearsome creature when there is no evidence it exists today. The “Megalodon” special was reminiscent of two shows on sister network Animal Planet about mermaids, which also got big audiences.

In a blog post, actor Wil Wheaton said he is a regular viewer of “Shark Week” but he was disgusted by the show. He said Discovery owes an apology to viewers who have grown to trust the network for its presentation of science.

“Discovery Channel betrayed that trust during its biggest viewing week of the year,” Wheaton wrote. “Discovery Channel isn’t run by stupid people, and this was not some kind of a mistake. Someone made a deliberate choice to present a work of fiction that is more suited for the SyFy channel as a truthful and factual documentary. That is disgusting.”

Text Only
AP story section
  • State to reopen Juvenile Home DES MOINES -- A district court judge on Wednesday ordered the state to reopen the Iowa Juvenile Home, telling Gov. Terry Branstad he cannot unilaterally change a law approved by the state Legislature. Judge Scott Rosenberg said the home in Toledo was

    February 6, 2014

  • Panel OKs ban on remote abortion pill distribution DES MOINES -- A legislative panel approved a measure Wednesday that would ban the remote distribution of abortion pills, a proposal the bill's sponsor said is intended to delay the procedure and give women more time to change their minds. The subcomm

    February 6, 2014

  • Sioux City gambling group halts local grants SIOUX CITY -- The nonprofit that holds the gambling license for the Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino has voted to temporarily stop sending grants to local charities and government agencies. A legal dispute with the operator of the casino, Penn Nati

    January 15, 2014

  • Davenport pays, apologizes to hearing impaired man DAVENPORT (AP) -- The city of Davenport has issued an unusual apology to a former alderman after a police employee was caught on tape saying that he intentionally knocked softly on the hearing-impaired man's door when responding to a service call. Th

    January 15, 2014

  • Budget Branstad presents budget for next fiscal year DES MOINES -- Gov. Terry Branstad offered a budget proposal Tuesday that includes a tax break for veterans, a tuition freeze for college students and incentives to encourage Internet expansion in rural Iowa, a more modest list of priorities one year

    January 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gov. restores more felons' voting rights IOWA CITY (AP) -- Gov. Terry Branstad restored voting rights to more felons in 2013 than the prior two years combined, but thousands of others remain disenfranchised under a 2011 policy change. Data released by the governor's office to The Associated

    January 15, 2014

  • Man fatally shot at Fla. theater over texting WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (AP) -- A 71-year-old retired police officer accused of shooting a man dead in a Florida movie theater told authorities that "he was in fear of being attacked" during Monday's confrontation. Curtis Reeves is charged with second-de

    January 15, 2014

  • Iowa Senator: Congress must confirm election board DES MOINES -- An Iowa senator asked a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday to confirm appointees to a federal election commission so a decision can be made about whether Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is properly using money for voter-fraud investig

    January 9, 2014

  • School Discipline Gov't: End overly zealous discipline in schools WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Obama administration is urging schools to abandon overly zealous discipline policies that civil rights advocates have long said lead to a school-to-prison pipeline that discriminates against minority students. The wide-ranging

    January 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Governor, lawmakers set modest goals for 2014 DES MOINES -- After reaching bipartisan agreements on several major policy initiatives last year, Gov. Terry Branstad said Wednesday that he is setting more modest expectations for the 2014 legislative session. Speaking at The Associated Press' annua

    January 9, 2014

AP Video
Facebook
National News