“Discovery needs to bring this show back. People die in cars every day but they have never banned a show about cars!!” Comments like these litter Discovery Channel’s American Guns Facebook page. Three days after the horrific school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Fox News reported Discovery Channel cancelled the television show American Guns. Fox News wrote that Discovery buckled over the pressure the channel was getting from Facebook comments and Tweets demanding them to cancel gun-related programming. However, in the same report, Fox News says that a Discovery Channel representative did not say the Newtown school shooting had anything to do with the decision to cancel the show. That same day and in the following days, the Internet exploded with reports that all our favorite gun-related shows weren’t returning due to the shootings. On the Sons of Guns Facebook page, there are plenty of comments that reference rumors to the show’s cancellation. However, Discovery Channel has not cancelled Sons of Guns. According to Will Hayden’s—owner of Red Jacket Firearms where Sons of Guns is filmed—personal Facebook page, as of early December, the cameras are still rolling at the Louisiana gun shop.
Rumors that History Channel cancelled Top Shot started to circulate, but the show’s host, Colby Donaldson tweeted that Top Shot finished filming its fifth season; there just aren’t dates yet when it will air. There has been no word from Colby or History Channel that the show isn’t returning. Top Shot has had to comment repeatedly on their official Facebook page, “We’ll update this page with information on the upcoming season of Top Shot as soon as that information becomes available.” Then reports that Ted Nugent’s Discovery Channel television show, Gun Country will also not return to the channel. People speculated it was a politically motivated decision due to the Newton shooting. However, in September, months before the shooting, Discovery made a statement the Ted Nugent show was a one-hour special and they never planned it as a regular television show.
From what I have read on the Internet, there are a lot of people who have been quick to say the cancellations are politically motivated. There have been a lot of knee-jerk reactions and assumptions to recent events, while in fact only one television channel has cited the Newton shootings for cancellations of gun-related television shows. NBC Sports Network decided to pull all shows with gun-related content, including 3-Gun Nation and GunTalk. Our contact at 3-Gun Nation said they received a note saying there is an “Indefinite moratorium on all firearm related programming.” Neither Discovery Channel nor History Channel has said anything publicly to lead us to believe they are cancelling certain shows in reaction to the school shooting. Before we decide to boycott and hate on these channels because they are “anti-Second Amendment,” we must remember how television works.
The industry measures TV shows in how successful they are in bringing advertising dollars. If a TV show is rated high—meaning a lot of people are watching—the more advertising dollars the show brings in. This means the network airing the show gets more money. Therefore, they keep shows with higher ratings and dump shows that don’t make the big bucks. Sons of Guns has been one of Discovery Channel’s highest-rated shows. In fact, the season premiere of Sons of Guns was the highest-rated cable show the night it aired. American Guns has failed to reach those same rating numbers. Why would Discovery Channel waste money producing a program that didn’t bring in any money?
If we look at NBC Sports and the reasoning behind their decision, 3-Gun Nation is small potatoes to a channel that has the rights to the NFL. During football season, NFL games get some of the highest ratings on television.
Was the news about American Guns being cancelled simply bad timing for the network? I have no idea. I have yet to find any official statement from Discovery Channel. For all we know Discovery made the decision to cancel American Guns months ago.
In light of recent events and the pro-gun crowd’s reaction has reminded me to question everything I read on the Internet. How quickly people have been to “believe” the media hype, make assumptions and start rumors. Word has spread quickly, albeit how correct or incorrect the information is. Remember this is the same media that calls every gun an AK-47 and has demonized our beloved AR-15. Don’t jump on the assumption bandwagon. Question everything you read and search out the facts. Not everyone is trying to take away your rights to own a gun. Until Discovery Channel makes a public statement saying they are against gun ownership, I will keep watching. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “you know exactly what assuming does—right?”