Before we begin today, some ratings news: America Unearthed ticked up in the live plus same day ratings to 514,000 viewers and a 0.09 in the advertiser-preferred adults 18-49 demographic. The show reached a series high for its Travel Channel run for an atypical episode with almost no fringe history content. The rise in viewership might be due to viewers finding the series after a few weeks on the air, or realizing new episodes are airing. It might also be due to continued weak ratings for the History Channel, whose Curse of Civil War Gold draws two-thirds fewer viewers than Curse of Oak Island, which normally fills the Tuesday night timeslots, or to the lack of major sports events on Tuesday leading to lower ratings for ESPN, whose largely male audience overlaps with that America Unearthed. The show’s performance over the next few weeks will let us know if the audience will continue to grow.
I’m holding off on any major writing today until I review America Unearthed this evening. I just closed on a new house, and as you might imagine, there is a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it. As a result, I will be blogging intermittently for the next few weeks. I intend to continue reviewing America Unearthed and Ancient Aliens, but the days in between may be a bit spotty until I am set up in the new house. In the meantime, I thought that this week’s cover of The Week magazine was worth sharing. It points to the Navy’s recent revision of reporting guidelines for pilots who see unidentified objects in the sky, and it inflates that to the more grandiose idea of “Taking UFOs Seriously,” in keeping with the spin put on the story by the team at To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science in conjunction with their History Channel series Unidentified.
Earlier this week, Vox magazine’s Sean Illing spoke with Diana Pasulka, the author of American Cosmic, about space aliens and the threat that UFO beliefs are becoming a religion. In the conversation, Pasulka offered this gem of a response to a question about the so-called “Invisible College” of UFO researchers, whose activities have shaped ufology for the better part of the past four decades:
Let’s start today with the ratings for Friday’s UFO programming. Ancient Aliens was close to its week-to-week and year-to-year average. The first new episode of the fourteenth season drew 1.3 million people, with a 0.26 rating among the advertiser-covered demographic of adults 18-49. It ranked seventh in the cable ratings for Friday. Unidentified, the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science UFO series, debuted with 1.286 million viewers and a 0.22 rating among adults 18-49, retaining most of its lead-in’s audience and outperforming most of the other shows that have followed Ancient Aliens over the past ten years in that regard. It ranked eleventh among all cable shows airing on Friday. But don’t despair! Both were outdrawn by HGTV’s My Lottery Dream Home, which had 1.6 million viewers and a 0.29 rating among adults 18-49. So, in the hierarchy of American life, lottery fantasies easily outdraw mind- and soul-shattering “truths” about time, space, and reality.
After reviewing America Unearthed Tuesday night, I was a little too tired to spend too much time writing again yesterday for posting today. Staying up past 11 PM has become a lot harder since having a kid, and the fact that I had a 7 AM appointment the next morning only made it worse. So, today I want to spend only a few minutes highlighting some of the questionable statements that journalist Ralph Blumenthal made to Mike Damante of Punk Rock and UFOs in discussing his recent story reporting on the claims of some Navy officers who will appear on Friday’s History Channel show Unidentified, the network’s show made in conjunction with To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, whose work Blumenthal and writing partner Leslie Kean have been feeding off of for almost two years. The pair have steadfastly refused to disclose to readers their conflicts of interest, including their relationship with To the Stars and Kean’s founding of a UFO advocacy group. Imagine the Times asking an anti-abortion advocate to cover abortion for the paper, and you will start to see the problem.
Later today, America Unearthed returns, and I know you are all waiting with baited breath for the Travel Channel to relaunch the controversial ex-H2 show. In fact, the only people who don’t seem excited are those at the Travel Channel, which are dumping the show with no publicity and no fanfare. Megan Fox got New York Times and major magazine writeups for her crappy fringe history show, and America Unearthed just barely got a line in the nightly TV listing highlights. Ironically, it the show will air opposite CBS’s archaeology-themed summer drama Blood & Treasure. Both shows lie outrageously about history, feature bearded dudes who dress like Indiana Jones, and imagine elaborate conspiracy theories about dangerous secrets in the ancient past. Calling one “fiction” and the other “reality” is at this point a distinction without a difference.
The Pentagon Admits to Investigating UFOs, Plus: Graham Hancock Cleared of Josh Reeves's Plagiarism Charge
The usual characters from cable TV ufology are very excited this week because a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed that the military investigates when it receives reports of incursions into U.S. airspace by unidentified aerial vehicles. In response to a question from the New York Post that I would guess was connected to the upcoming History channel series following To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science and their efforts to explore military UFO research, the Pentagon conformed that it investigated “unidentified aerial phenomena,” a fact that should have surprised no one.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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