It’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets network, network falls in love with boy, left-wing blog publishes audio in which boy criticizes the gay agenda (among other things), network breaks up with boy because, let’s face it, after Phil Robertson and Brendan Eich they don’t need the BS that comes with being the next flashpoint in the culture war.
Obvious solution here: Give them the show but front-load it with “trigger warnings.” You’re welcome, America.
How close are we to a market solution to this culture-war problem? Given the number of Christian social conservatives in the U.S., you’d think there’d be no difficulty in building a network aimed at that audience to which people like the Benhams or the Robertsons could go if they didn’t want to keep their beliefs quiet to protect A&E or HGTV. The dilemma would be whether the network should be subscription only, which would maximize its content freedom but limit its audience, or basic cable, which would give it the new headache of not alienating its advertisers by hiring “controversial” hosts. Another way of framing that question is, are there enough Christian businesses who are willing and able to fund a network like this, even at the risk of being boycotted by gay-rights activists, to make it viable? Or would the network have to be pay-only? If so, that’s not a disaster: The Blaze has done just fine with its subscription TV model. “Christian TV,” featuring “Duck Dynasty,” surely would do okay too. In an age where it’s cheap to produce professional-quality television and directly target a niche audience, you don’t need 50 million viewers up front to guarantee your success. Take it from an atheist.