Friday, July 04, 2008

Crime Scene University. No It Doesn't Have Anything to Do With Penn State Football Players.

Last Fall Paranormal Pseudo-science State made its debut on A&E and Old Main was very happy to get the national exposure. In fact, Old Main cooperated with the shows producers. It didn't bother them at all that the University could be seen as endorsing pseudo-science. It was all about that free TV exposure.
"It looks like a high-quality show," [Penn State propagandist Bill Mahon] said. "It'll be great exposure for the university. There's no way we could afford to buy that much air time on a major network.
This summer brings another TV show centered on the University. This time out the show deals with real science or at least applied science, forensic science. The program, Crime Scene University, which follows students as they try to solve simulated crimes, is based on the Penn State class, Forensic Science 201:Crime Scene Investigation." This will portray Penn State in a much better light than did Pseudo-science State.

Unlike Pseudo-science State, Crime Scene University will not air on a major cable network. Rather it will be on Investigation Discovery. This however is by design. According to Robert Shaler, the professor running the class
Shaler, a Penn State graduate, said he was excited to learn Discovery was interested in filming his class, because he knew it would be educational.

I would be a little apprehensive if we had A&E, where it is more sensational,” he said. “This is real education.”
Do you think that's a dig at Pseudo-science State? Well, the folks at Investigation Discovery go out of their way to point out the educational value of the show and its scientific content. It's probalily a dig.

By the way, the Penn State Propaganda Portal tells us that the entire idea for the show was Shaler's.
Shaler conceived of the idea for the television show and, with help from a friend at the City of New York's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, successfully pitched the idea to Discovery Communications.
But I suspect that Graham's been pressing Shaler for sometime to do a TV show. Where does this suspicion arise from. Well, we know that Graham's primary job is to market Penn State, but there's more. Back when the forensic science program at Penn State first came into being. Graham was beside himself with excitement. Here's what he told the Board of Trustees.

Last week we kicked off the first semester of our forensic science program. Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno was the guest lecturer in Bob Shaler's first class. It promises to be a very popular major. So much so that we've been approached by several cable networks for a reality television series that would follow Penn State students through a semester in the program.

Graham I'm sure would have preferred to have the program on A&E or even better MTV. He wouldn't care if it damaged the University's academic reputation, as Pseudo-science State did, so long as the production value was good and his new building looked great.

My guess is that this program is a compromise between Graham and Shaler. Graham gets his TV show and Shaler gets to keep his integrity.

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1 comment:

gershmb said...

Crime Scene University is excellent. The viewer learns a lot and gets involved in the competition between teams. The real mystery is the outcome of the original investigation from which the evidence has been taken.