4. Discovery Gets Crabby
Discovery (DISCA - Get Report) set out to strike crab gold a second a time with a spinoff of its hit show The Deadliest Catch. Instead, the network has ended up tangled in a legal battle that threatens to send both the spinoff and one of its flagship series down a ratings abyss.
After six seasons of The Deadliest Catch, Discovery looked to break out captains Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand in their own show, appropriately titled Hillstranded. Sounds great on paper, but anyone who has seen the show, much less produced it, may have gleaned that Bearing Sea fisherman are reliable when it comes to pretty much one thing -- fishing. After that, not so much.
When the Hillstrand brothers allegedly didn't complete the spinoff, Discovery decided the best way to deal with quite possibly the toughest guys on the planet was to file a $3 million lawsuit against them. Even if Discovery was in the right, the company's legal team may have failed to comprehend the difference between these reality stars and, say, the cast of Jersey Shore.Captain Johnathan and Andy are no Snooki and JWoww. They do not require the presence of television cameras to confirm their own existence. Cameras or no, they'll be fishing next month, next year and likely five years from now. And the presence of cameras on deck and in the wheel house does nothing to get more crab on the boat and pay the crew. On Tuesday, Captain Sig Hansen, probably the most well-known of the captains, sided with the Hillstrands. In a joint statement, the three fishermen said they will be "unable" to continue with the show due to the litigation. Hansen added that he has not reached an agreement with Discovery regarding next season, but that he still plans to go fishing on Oct. 15, cameras or no. So, Discovery's lawyers may win the day in court, but Deadliest Catch won't likely be near the draw without the Hillstrand and Hansen clans on board, so to speak. Last season's episode chronicling the death of Captain Phil Harris drew 8.5 million viewers, the largest for Discovery since 2000 and third-largest in the network's history. Next season, those numbers may sink faster than a crab pot. Advertisers and investors should love that. TheStreet Says: We've got five words of advice for Discovery: Captain Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino. You can thank us later, Discovery.
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