Though derided (or celebrated, we suppose, depending on your perspective) as "archaeo-porn," the James Cameron-produced documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus, which makes the kinds of whimsically blasphemous claims (you know, Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, had a kid, etc etc) that so delight Christian groups already predisposed to think that televisions are devilboxes that flicker with programs broadcast directly from the thorny member of Beezelebub himself, was quietly a big hit for Discovery Channel on Sunday night. So why hasn't Discovery been trumpeting their huge ratings win to the Heavens, you ask? Because they're classy that way, reports TV Week:
Departing from normal procedures, the cable network didn't tout its big ratings win. The network also scheduled a last-minute special that harshly criticized its own documentary, and has yanked a planned repeat of "Tomb."
"This is not one where you necessarily beat the drum, from a business perspective," said David Leavy, executive VP of corporate communications at Discovery. "It's not necessarily about making money, or making ratings, or shouting from the highest office building. Sometimes having some maturity and perspective is more important than getting picked up in all the ratings highlights." [...]
When the Nielsen ratings revealed that "Tomb" averaged 4.1 million viewers - Discovery's largest audience since September 2005 - the network declined to put out a press release touting the numbers, as would be standard practice for a highly successful premiere. The second-season premiere of Discovery Channel's "Future Weapons," for instance, earned a media announcement for its audience of 2.5 million. A network representative, however, insisted Discovery was not trying to bury "Tomb."
No press release on the ratings was sent out, Mr. Leavy said, because of the show's subject matter.
We expect that the communications executive quoted above will soon realize the shocking heresy of his outrageous claims that there are certain situations in which entertainment companies might opt for "maturity and perspective" over "making money or making ratings" (we just soiled ourselves merely retyping those disgusting ideas). There is but one way to atone for this mortal sin against Hollywood: by stripping off his Armani in favor of sackcloth and ashes, crawling over to the Variety office on hands and knees, then personally designing a two-page ad making the rest of the industry aware of the boffo Nielsens they earned by pissing off some Christians.
- Is Discovery Burying 'Lost Tomb'? [TV Week]