I received notice from Amazon.com that America Unearthed host Scott Wolter’s new book, Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers: Mysteries of the Hooked X®, has been delayed for a month. The publisher had planned to release the book on June 1, and Wolter had been promoting the book’s publication in radio appearances. No reason has been given for the delay.
Obviously, after Scott Wolter and A+E Television Networks, the parent company of H2, the channel that broadcasts America Unearthed and owns its trademarks, spent so much time and effort accusing me of infringing on their trademarks, I of course wanted to know whether A+E Television Networks (AETN) applied the same scrutiny to Scott Wolter’s own products. So I’ve been pressing AETN to state definitively whether they endorse Wolter’s work the same way that they lend their name, trademarks, and authority to books by the casts of American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Ice Road Truckers, and other programs. Those individuals’ books carry the History name or logo and are sold in the History online store while From Akhenaten lacks the History imprimatur.
Last night, after hours, AETN finally released a statement, about three weeks after I asked them to clarify. Over the past three weeks, their representative had told me it required more research and more time to determine the company’s position on Wolter’s work. Here’s AETN’s official comment, in its entirety:
As you know, Mr. Wolter hosts the AETN series America Unearthed on the H2 network. Although we wish Mr. Wolter well on his other endeavors, none of Mr. Wolter’s activities besides the America Unearthed series, including his books, are authorized, sponsored by, or affiliated with AETN.
Despite repeated requests, AETN will not tell me whether they have requested Wolter issue a disclaimer similar to the one they required of me to ensure audiences are not confused about his use of the America Unearthed name, his book’s graphic design similar to the program’s, or the substantial similarity between the content of his book and the TV series.
Contrast this with what Wolter said on the radio just last month in promoting his new book:
I give History Channel and H2 a lot of credit because I’ve sat down with, you know, uh, the head of the network, and I looked him in the eye, and I said ‘You guys, you know, this isn’t for the faint of heart. You know, we’re going to be hitting people between the eyes and we’re going to hit them hard. I mean when you start talking about people’s faith, about Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene and all of this. I mean this is heavy stuff, and it’s very disturbing to many people, and we’re not trying to offend anybody, we’re not trying to … I just want to know what happened. That’s where I’m coming from.’ And I said, ‘Look, it’s all hands on deck. You’re either all in or you’re not. Are you guys in?’ And they said, ‘We’re in.’
They’re “in,” just not insofar as it requires them to be responsible for anything Wolter actually says in any legal sense or in any way that involves actually supporting him or his work.
Now here’s a fun fact about the level of attention and support the network actually provides to Wolter and his crew. At the Realscreen West conference last week, the head of programming development at H2, Paul Cabana, explained to aspiring producers that experience was no barrier to getting a program on his network, using America Unearthed as an example. As RealScreen reported:
He also told the crowd that it is not always the case that you need a strong track record of producing or a West Coast agent to pitch to cable nets, and recounted an encouraging story for the Realscreen West audience, explaining that “two years ago at a Realscreen event, a husband and wife couple… came up and pitched to me.”
We have two choices here. Either Cabana is intentionally lying about the fact that the History Channel, the parent of H2, had been working with the “husband and wife couple,” Andrew and Maria Awes, on high-rated documentaries since 2009, or he simply pays no attention to the people he works with. The Awes, the owners of Committee Films, produced Holy Grail in America (with Scott Wolter) and Who Really Discovered America for History in 2009 and 2010, and both programs were (a) highly rated and (b) sold in the History.com store as History exclusive programs. These shows were intentionally designed to serve as pilots and practice runs for a future series, according to production documents I obtained from Minnesota Film and Television: “The depth of this topic goes beyond just one film and could spawn subsequent films, or potentially a series. We are working on further developing those ideas at this time,” Maria and Andrew Awes wrote in 2008.
As you know, last month I spoke with a History spokesperson who provided some information for attribution, some on background, and some in a nebulous space of ambiguous utility. Since I discovered from Wolter that they essentially lied to me, I’m not really feeling very interested in honoring the distinctions to protect their lies. Therefore, I’ll just let you know that the History spokesperson was taken aback when I mentioned that the Awes of America Unearthed were the same people involved in the earlier documentaries. Apparently, no one at the network had paid the least bit of attention to what was going on, and they had no idea that the documentaries and the new series were related, or that they were part of a consistent effort by Wolter and the Awes to promote a Templar-Sinclair-Holy Bloodline rewrite of American history. I asked how no one could know who was producing these shows, and the spokesperson said that 2009 was so many years ago that frankly there was no way to keep track or to remember.
So, Cabana’s probably right that he thought that some yokels from the sticks came up and pitched him a unique, hot idea out of the blue. He was also completely unaware his network had already done it, to high ratings, with the same people, twice before.
All of that explains why AETN has distanced itself from Wolter’s work. The company has no interest in the content of the show, only its ability to make money. The actual content is a liability so far as they are concerned, and the less content there is the happier they are. Take that as a lesson, kids: If you have an agenda to push, TV will let you do it because they won’t be paying enough attention to the content of their marketing vehicles to care.
Perhaps that’s why History is launching a new program starring a right wing conspiracy theorist who believes Obama is a “Kenyan-Muslim,” pharmaceuticals are designed to turn Americans into complacent zombies, and that Democrats are planning a violent purge/coup. History called this upstanding citizen, Eric “Mancow” Muller, a person who “embodies the values and the spirit of the heartland of America” in their press release. Thanks to you, A+E Television Networks, and your fellow media companies, that is now all too true.
6/11/2013 10:18:07 am
The History Channel couldn't care less about content (except to not be liable for it) and just cares about profits.
4/7/2015 03:31:01 pm
Wolater reminds me of how Hitler sought to rwrite German history to prove his theories of Aryan Supremacy. His show is mostly about European claims to America before Columbus. He either ignores science and history or he doesn't know what real science is. His shows also are similar to the Ancient Astronauts and aliens of years before. It is only entertainment.
6/11/2013 12:08:58 pm
" none of Mr. Wolter’s activities besides the America Unearthed series, including his books, are authorized, sponsored by, or affiliated with AETN."
6/11/2013 02:38:13 pm
Again..."all hands on deck" to "all in"...is he a sailor or are we playing Texas Hold'em?
6/11/2013 02:41:02 pm
Call me nuts but I love logic and I love Wolter and how he inspires creative out of the box thinking
6/11/2013 05:54:19 pm
Dear sir, I do not think that word (logic) means what you think it means. One who loves logic cannot love Wolter's illogical flights of purest fantasy. At least not as anything but something to laugh at.
6/29/2014 10:31:37 am
Scott Walter as a geologist just looks at the hard facts. The archaeologists make things up. My hats off to Scott Walter For his truthfulness and dedication.
6/11/2013 03:32:19 pm
Haha i am reading your older posts, so glad wolter and america unearthed lawyers took it to you
6/11/2013 04:04:37 pm
Scott Wolter`s groupies: Eating fecal sandwiches and barking at the Moon.
6/11/2013 04:13:21 pm
More like jason's groupies facing the sweet smell of legalese
6/11/2013 04:39:10 pm
Biscuit Boy.The only thing I fear, is facing "the sweet smell" of Nocturnal emission from Wolter`s fanboys
6/11/2013 05:59:24 pm
Dear Tripps--if Scott Wolter wants to attempt a lawsuit against this blog or commenters, he is going to be laughed out of court. Defamation requires the things said to be UNTRUE, sir, AND that said comments to be substantially harmful. UNFORTUNATELY, neither can be applied in this case.
6/28/2013 08:35:33 pm
You are very clearly not a very intelligent person. I wonder, do you call yourself "Tripps" because you fall down a lot?
6/11/2013 04:30:52 pm
Scott Wolter is grateful for having an inexhaustible supply of intellectual midgets like yourself. Wolter enjoys a 6 digit salary,while most of his audience of congenital idiots rely on food stamps.Social Darwinism rules.....
6/13/2013 03:59:49 pm
You forgot the fecal reference in this reply, Scat Girl. Allow me to help you with the re-wording.
6/12/2013 01:30:43 am
Good luck for taking people like myself to court, I am not under American jurisdiction, not even under European jurisdiction
6/11/2013 06:31:07 pm
Actually the more interesting question lies in the remark that "...the spokesperson said that 2009 was so many years ago that frankly there was no way to keep track or to remember."
6/12/2013 06:49:41 am
The irony that a company whose assets include the History channel and H2 considers four years too long of a time span over which to recall detailed information was not lost on me either. Perhaps this is why their shows only speculate on history; after all, who can remember anything that happened decades or centuries ago!
6/12/2013 10:36:29 am
Particularly as they still REPLAY programs from 2009 and earlier, one notes. It's ridiculous to say "there's no way to keep track or remember."
6/12/2013 10:45:59 am
Let me explain a bit: A cable channel like History has a management staff of only around 100-150 people (many of whom are interns and low-level staff), and the turnover is heavy. Every year, most of the low-level staff will turn over. Each time the network changes direction, they clean house at the upper levels, too. So, between 2009 and 2013, institutional memory disappears as the executives take on new positions in response to the network's changing needs. Plus, new H2 people wouldn't necessarily know what History did prior to the network's launch.
6/13/2013 05:36:30 am
Thanks Jason for clearing that one up. The sitation reminds me of a satiric story that in an issue of Analog during the 1980s (I've forgotten the plot and author(s)).
6/11/2013 11:40:51 pm
I saw that Salon piece on their site first and thought, "When did Jason start writing for Salon?".
6/12/2013 12:26:30 pm
The danger in the blather being promulgated by Wolter, et al. is not that we will someday wake up and find that the President has signed over large portions of the U.S. to the Sinclair family; rather, it is it’s abetting of the destruction of critical thinking which seems to be rampant in this country today. “Cherry picking” ones data, ignoring evidence which refutes ones position, and creating “facts” out of whole cloth do not create truth. Disregarding facts supported by scientific investigation in order to cling to a romantic idea is irrational. One cannot (or should not) believe something simply because it makes one “feel good”.
6/12/2013 02:31:34 pm
The "true scientist" you refer to is an idealized figure. Scientist are people and are just as prone to bouts of egotism and jealousy as anyone else. An established scientist does not usually embrace new discoveries that invalidate the research on which a career was built. While the scientific method eventually succeeds, it sometimes has to fight through a labyrinth of resistance and denial that wouldn't exist if egos weren't involved.
6/12/2013 04:13:59 pm
6/12/2013 04:24:46 pm
Where's Crabby to defend ALL academics and scientists??!!
6/13/2013 07:12:08 am
6/13/2013 09:32:09 am
Bill, I agree. Nonetheless, we should all strive to be "true scientists" and particularly, not to succumb to "juvenile... attacks and ripostes".
6/13/2013 06:00:27 am
Uncle Ron :"Further,the juvenile level of attacks and ripostes aimed at debunkers and alternative believers alike on this blog demonstrate that there is much more than simple academic disagreement going on here. The true scientist knows that his ego has no place in an investigation".
6/13/2013 09:18:12 am
I rest my case.
6/13/2013 09:40:10 am
Rest your case on what?.Put your money where your mouth is, & show me how "intellectually superior" you really are.What are your academic credentials,How many foreign languages are you actually fluent in?.Pretending to be utterly smart is not good enough.How entertaining the pseudo intellectual wanker who toils in obscurity....
6/13/2013 11:53:38 am
Is your argument that having a Phd or being a polyglot excuses boorish behavior? It would be an interesting thesis to try and defend.
6/13/2013 03:50:48 pm
You forgot your customary fecal reference, Tara. It's your standard reply / slam. Please re-write the above response and add in your fecal nastiness this time.
6/13/2013 12:55:07 pm
Bill.You seem like an educated individual,you should know that the comments section of a Blog has nothing to with ethical compass or moral high ground.Individually,we all have the potential of acting & behaving in a boorish or juvenile manner.
6/13/2013 03:52:31 pm
You missed it again, scat girl. Try this - "Individually,we all have the potential of acting & behaving [as fecal sandwich eaters]."
6/13/2013 06:26:32 pm
Just checking. I still think it would be a fun thesis to try and defend. The scientific justification for acting like an ass when interacting with your perceived lessers.
6/13/2013 08:52:46 pm
Steve. Are you Steve St Clair,her special bloodline majesty?
1/3/2014 08:01:23 am
About 30 years or so ago, "BC America" was published. (I forget the author.) That book described & provided photos of artifacts which suggested peoples including phoenetians were landing on N. American shores well before Columbus. Clearly Vikings landed & established a settlement in Nova Scotia hundreds of years before Columbus. Later, historians uncovered evidence of Irish explorers
6/16/2013 06:13:38 am
I'd like to comment but I'm too scared.
6/28/2013 09:10:18 pm
"The academic justification for acting like an ass when dealing with your perceived lessers"
5/29/2019 06:23:49 am
Jason, your bitterness cannot be hidden at all by your intellect. You are seething with envy. Perhaps you are not so much a skeptic of psychotherapy that you would consider it. You're seething with intellectual rage. Try TALK RADIO, as you might become the DARK CELEB you want to be.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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