Back in the day of non-reality, scripted-but-supposed-to-be-reality-television, there were these things called “made-for-TV” programs. This involved real script writing, trained actors and plot lines that involve more imagination than hitting the shower to recover from a weekend bender.
Now, we live in a day when every producer out there is coming up with a stranded island, chefs who hate each other, strangers living together or that certain “music television” network that forgot to make shows about music…or television for that matter.
In 1984, there was a network that embraced that nouveau original programming thingy. And for a decade, Arts & Entertainment TV became the commercial counterpart to PBS. Back then, it had Biography. It won Emmys. It was heralded for production. And after 10 years of all that fame, meh!
It was considered “Arts” was too elitist for ratings. So, A&E was born — the initialism was supposed to make people forget they gave a crap about content and was TV for the people. Ratings struggled. Audiences waned. And producers cried for something better. They created docudramas and seemed to be focused, until they stumbled upon a trailer park and tripped over “Dog the Bounty Hunter.”
And that, as they say, was that.