I was upset last night. I caught a blurb from Entertainment Tonight (which is apparently some sort of Hollywood celebrity gossip fest.) The anchor made an extremely disparaging remark. about the Antique Road Show. I don't have the exact quote. It was essentially "The Antique Road Show is popular because people hope to find an extremely valuable antique in their closet."
I was upset because I realized that this is how Hollywood views its audience. It seems to me that Hollywood tends to assign all the world these extremely base ulterior motives to all of their actions then tries to fit the world to their skewed set of base motives such as greed, sex, fear and hate.
Undoubtedly, there are some people who are motivated by these base feelings some of the time, but I suspect the world falls far short of Hollywood's view that all the people are compelled by base motives all the time. Unfortunately, the industry is so powerful, that petty little gossip shows like ET can have a widespread negative impact on our culture.
A case in point is the reality shows like Survivor. I was intrigued by the concept of man pitting himself in nature, and I was interesting in seeing real live people like me on the screen in exotic parts of the world. Unfortunately, the show was really about this absolutely stupid political game. Most of the viewers turned off the show after the first episode or so. The networks polled their readers and found of the people weren't turned off by the political game, that they were intrigued by the political. Hence, Hollywood's polls supported its preconceived notions.
Anyway, back to the popularity of the Antique Road Show. I think when you get down to it, most people are interested in the show because they are interested in learning about history, and to learn about what we as a society value. People enjoy hearing the prices of appraisals because the mathematics of assigning relative values to items is a very interesting process. I remember reading a poll about the nightly news. They discovered that the weather report is the most popular part of news shows in LA, because it involves reporting numbers. Many non investors are enchanted by the DOW Industrial average and employment statistics, because they provided objective numbers that give us information on how the world works.
The problem is that Hollywood's assigning base motives for the popularity of the show might some day affect the format...reducing the quality of one of PBS's most popular creations.