Is anyone surprised ...
... that NBC is combining "Dateline" and other long-form news shows into a "nonfiction entertainment" unit called "Peacock Productions." (You can skip the "peabrained productions" jokes -- I've had enough of them over e-mail already.)
It's got folks down at the TV Shoptalk water cooler all stirred up (see "Crap or Journalism?").
But look, this concept has been around for years. Larry Grossman acknowledged as much in 2001 (scroll down five or so questions to the one beginning "And also, news as entertainment"). Heck, there's even been an academic study of how the Discovery channel pioneered the genre, so you know it's made the big time. (Note: Must remove tongue firmly implanted in cheek.)
The best line from the Variety story:
Peacock Prods. will apply NBC News' journalistic standards when clients ask for them. Or, in the case of Sci Fi Channel's "Quest for Atlantis," produced by NBC News Prods. and hosted by "Today" correspondent Natalie Morales, news standards aren't necessarily applied.
In other words, "clap on, clap off" journalism -- when you need it, just throw the switch. What a great idea.
Let's just hope no one down there at Peacock Productions gets confused about whose bed they're sleeping in. Too easy to get the clap ...