In its first week on the air, Search for the Lost Giants drew just shy of 1.6 million viewers in live plus same day ratings, of whom 500,000 were in the adults 18-54 demographic. In preparation for tonight’s episode, I took a look at last week’s ratings and was surprised to see that they did not budge. In its second week on the air, Lost Giants attracted just about the same 1.6 million viewers, with the same 500,000 adults 18-54 viewers, according to A.C. Nielsen. The numbers actually declined modestly, from 1.598 million to 1.571 million, even though this week the show was not airing against election coverage. Its Tuesday companion series, Curse of Oak Island declined by 500,000 viewers to 2.1 million live plus same day viewers, of whom just 700,000 were 18 to 54 years old, down from 1.1 million in its first week. In other words, young people are tuning out Oak Island and remain largely uninterested in Lost Giants.
The failure of Lost Giants to grow week-to-week indicates that there audience for this type of program tops out around 1.5 million, which is roughly the same number of viewers who watch competing series like America Unearthed (last reported at 1.1 million, on a smaller network), Finding Bigfoot (last reported at 1.1 million), Ancient Aliens (1.2 million on History Channel reruns; H2 doesn’t release figures for original episodes), and Ghost Hunters (1.2 million). Lost Giants is artificially boosted by its lead in, which remains inexplicably popular. I wonder how much overlap there is as viewers with paranormal interests move from one show to the next.
The steady ratings for Lost Giants must be particularly upsetting to History, which devoted significant resources to promoting the series last week across its media properties, including a heavy rotation of promotional spots during America Unearthed. Ads for the show also chased me around the internet, implying that History is using targeted online advertising as well.
Speaking of advertising, have you seen the commercial for Bongiovi pasta sauce featuring UFO researcher Stanton Friedman? It apes the look of fringe history TV, particularly the tedious “disclosure” news conferences and features Friedman expressing his love for jarred tomato sauce. As the Magonia blog put it, Friedman is certainly enhancing his reputation as a serious researcher.
On the other hand, being the goofy guy who loves jarred tomato sauce is better than being part of the Nazi apologetics and anti-Semitism that are gradually overtaking so much of fringe history. Do you remember when Scott Wolter was on Coast to Coast AM last week? He was on after the show did several hours on the Nazis with Peter Levenda, the occultist who writes about esoteric Nazism and is also almost certainly the author of the Simon Necronomicon. Levenda doesn’t just write about Nazi occultism, he also writes about the supposed “magickal” connection of H. P. Lovecraft to the hidden realms of the occult. He’s currently promoting his most recent book, The Hitler Legacy: The Nazi Cult in Diaspora, How It Was Organized, How It Was Funded, and Why It Remains a Threat to Global Security in the Age of Terrorism. Levenda, unlike other conspiracy theorists, chooses to link Nazism to Islamic fundamentalism, so in that sense he has found a new way to employ the Nazis as all-purpose bogeymen behind modern crises.
On the other hand, the fringe usually prefers to try rehabilitating Hitler. The Red Ice Radio Network is probably at the forefront of Nazi apologetics, having given over so much of itself to Nazism, as I previously documented. This has continued unabated. One of its affiliated shows, Radio 3Fourteen, gave air time to Carolyn Yeager to promote Holocaust denial and her belief that the Allies exaggerated the Holocaust to discredit the Nazi economic model. She also advocates racial unity among white people and a revival of European heritage. The main Red Ice Radio program, in turn, has given recent air time to Veronica Clark, a woman who claims that the West has exaggerated Nazi racism and that Nazism is a pan-racial ideology enjoyed by people of every color. She also discussed her belief that Nazism was demonized for taking a stand against a vast conspiracy run by, yes, of course, Freemasons and Jews. The show also had on Arthur Topham, another conspiracy theorist who believes that the Jews are trying to get him. He promotes awareness of what he calls “forced Zionism” and undue Jewish and/or Israeli influence in Europe and North America. According to Red Ice, he’s currently facing trial in Canada for anti-Jewish hate crimes.
And heaven help me if you have six hours to watch this, but the longest of the Hitler apologies, Adolph Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told, which was heavily promoted on Red Ice Radio, is available on YouTube. It is wall-to-wall pro-Nazi propaganda, and rather horrifying in its worship of Hitler.
I mention this because today I’ll be recording an episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show podcast in which I’ll be discussing fringe history and its intersection with race, nationalism, racism, and ethnic heritage. I’ll have more details about when and where you can listen to the show in the coming days.
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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