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Monday, August 01, 2005

Reality Show Pitch: "The Execution"

Although this idea is worth millions, I air it as a public service. Hear me, Oh, Fox! An idea whose time has come. The current reality cycle is running its course and needs new, uh, blood.

Televising executions could be great drama, qualifies as news, and the buzz around the water coolers of the nation would be deafening.

Incidentally, both advocates and opponents of capital punishment would benefit from the show. It would test the assumptions of both The Right and The Left.

Pro deathists have three arguments supporting capital punishment. First, the families of murder victims are entitled to certain, final and rapid justice; second, respect for law and order requires the same; and third, the first step to solving the "crime problem" is the deterrent effect of the death penalty.

Televising executions would provide a test for all three assumptions. Would the execution finally provide peace of mind to the families of murder victims? Would it encourage respect for the law? Would executions result in fewer murders?

It might work. Criminals do not read newspapers, but do watch television. The impact of seeing the retribution society exacts for the worst crimes would be worth a thousand words in a newspaper article. In fact, in some states, executions are so ho-hum that the the events are relegated to inside pages.

But there is reason to believe that none of the assumptions are correct. When executions were conducted in the town square -- as for most of human history -- pickpockets and cutpurses worked the crowds, even when a thief was being hanged. Statistics show that murders increase after executions. Why, because they somehow lessen respect for law? Do they stir up the blood lust too much?

Would murder rates go down in the states which execute the most? Texas, Florida and Georgia have "terminated" dozens of murderers. Are murder rates in those states "better" than in other states? If not, Why?

Victims Rights Organizations have opposed televising executions. They fear that sympathy for the person executed would replace sympathy for the victim.

Hardly likely, especially in the reality world of T.V. journalism. The segment showing the execution would surely be preceded by dramatized details of the crime, including all the lurid violence that stirs the urge for vengeance which execution theoretically satisfies. Watch Bill Kurtis' "American Justice" for clues.

What better "closure" could there be? What better trigger for public debate? What better entertainment?

1 comment:

  1. i'll try it out in my next pitch meeting. you can have a co-producer credit.