Last week, viewers fled Hunting Atlantis, with the show's ratings falling even as its lead in, Expedition Unknown, gained viewers. Last Wednesday's episode drew just 605,000 live plus same-day viewers, down 45,000 from the week before. The demo collapse was worse. Only 90,000 adults 18-49 watched. By contrast, Expedition Unknown rose significantly, to nearly a million viewers. It's clear: Viewers aren't into Atlantis.
Another discontented viewer of cable pseudo-documentaries was none other than Erich von Däniken, the Chariots of the Gods author who is feeling a little ignored these days, as his protégé Giorgio Tsoukalos reported:
This was a rather hilarious claim coming from a man whose only original contributions to historiography have been his mistakes. Chariots of the Gods took its ancient mysteries from Morning of the Magicians by Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels, the works of Robert Charroux, and a variety of nineteenth and early twentieth century sources. The publishers behind Bergier, Pauwels, and Charroux threatened to take von Däniken to court over plagiarism until his publisher agreed to credit the authors in future printings of Chariots of the Gods.
That said, von Däniken isn't wrong that cable TV hosts present shopworn mysteries as new revelations and cast every recycled idea as their shocking new discovery. The trouble is that von Däniken was already doing that decades earlier!
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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