Expertise Not Welcome

The Showtime network introduces a new series this month called Years of Living Dangerously.  It’s no threat to Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, or any of the high-tone fare produced by cable networks.

In fact, it’s not even a threat to Psych.

Years of Living Dangerously is a series about climate change.  It will consist, in effect, of weekly documentaries on different aspects of climate change, and it’s being produced by two refugees of CBS’s 60 Minutes.

But what’s different about Years of Living Dangerously is that instead of using seasoned reporters and experts to guide the experience, it’s using celebrities.  On tap so far are Harrison Ford, Michael C. Hall (okay, The Curmudgeon admits he has no idea who this person is), Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Olivia Munn, Jessica Alba (okay, now they have The Curmudgeon’s attention), and others.

Why celebrities instead of broadcast professionals?

The January/February edition of the Columbia Journalism Review explains that

… celebrities, unlike journalists, conduct interviews without the pretense of expertise that [series co-producer Joel] Bach thinks might turn off viewers.

Of course.  Heaven forbid that the people presenting supposedly important information to the viewing public actually know what they’re talking about.

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