It was the first strategy session at the Discovery Channel after Shark Week. The mood was grim.
“We’ve got trouble,” said the Head of Programming.
“Our ratings were great. What’s wrong?” asked the Ratings Expert.
“Are you kidding? The blogosphere is blowing up,” said the Social Media Guru.
“That’s good, right? People are talking. The only bad publicity is no publicity,” said the Expert.
“Not when Wil Wheaton is bashing the Megalodon doc,” said the Guru.
“Who?” asked the Expert.
“You’ve got to be joking,” said the Guru.
“Wait. Wil Wheaton? What’d he say?” asked the Head.
The Guru sighed. “That it’s a shame a network he trusts to teach people about the world would mislead him with the Megalodon piece,” said the Guru. “He’s got a lot of support, too.”
An intern entered the boardroom carrying a coffee tray.
“Idiot producers! I told them their poor production quality wouldn’t fool anyone,” said the Head. He slammed his fist on the table.
“You’re missing the bigger picture,” said the Expert. “People are still talking. That practically guarantees huge ratings for next Shark Week. They’re going to want to see what we do next.”
“But at what cost?” The whole room turned to the man who, up until then, sat quietly at the head of the table.
“I’m sorry, Mr. President?” said the Expert.
“What does it matter if we get big ratings and lose our identity? What then?”
“We adapt. Think about it. Duck Dynasty is on A&E. Last time I checked, A&E stood for ‘arts and entertainment’. There’s nothing artsy about Duck Dynasty. But they’re huge,” said the Expert.
The Head stroked his chin. “That’s right.”
“I’m not ready to change our identity just yet. Focus on saving Shark Week. Ideas,” said the President.
The room went quiet. The intern cleared his throat.
“How about ‘Shark Dentists’?”
All eyes glared at the intern. The intern took this as a sign to continue.
“We find a dentist who likes scuba diving. It’s cooler if he’s Australian. We set him up with heavy duty dental equipment, right? Say it’s some sort of experiment.”
“Yeah. We’re constantly saying we know very little about sharks. Who’s to know?” added the Head. He was building with excitment.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is how we got into this Megalodon mess,” warned the President. “What’s the point?”
“The shark dentist uses the tools to extract teeth from shark cage in the water,” said the intern.
“Could you imagine the footage? And it’d be real, to. Not CGI,” said the Guru. “That’d go viral in a day, tops.”
“Cross-promotional opportunities with Oral-B and Crest,” said the Expert.
“And it would be a legitimate documentary,” said the Head.
All eyes turned to the President. He mused over the idea for a few seconds, then tapped on the table three times.
“Make it so. Put your best people on it. It’s got to look good. Wil Wheaton good. If we can fool Wheaton, we’ll win back the world.”
The President cackled and evil laugh. Everyone else joined it. The meeting was adjourned.