The one-hour backdoor pilot for the reality series “Best Funeral Ever” profiles a funeral home that specializes in celebratory funerals. On Monday, Discovery-owned TLC network pulled Thursday’s scheduled premiere in the wake of the mass murder in Newtown, Conn.
“Best Funeral Ever,” which will air Jan. 6 at 10 p.m., features the staff at Golden Gate Funeral Home in Dallas staging home-going celebrations with Christmas, state fair and doo-wop themes. In ratings success, the special serves as a prototype for an ongoing series.
On Friday, Adam Lanza took his mother’s life and then gunned down 26 other people at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, including 20 first-graders, before committing suicide.
Funerals for the children began Monday.
Meanwhile, “American Guns,” which wrapped its 16-episode second season in September, “concluded earlier this year” Discovery said Monday in a statement, adding that it “chose not to renew the series and has no plans to air repeats of the show.”
That appears to be news to fans of the show, who, Fox News reported, flooded “American Guns’s” Facebook page to demand its cancellation. On the other hand, we found an “American Guns” Facebook page on which people were unhappy to learn it had been canceled. “Keep the show on the air you guttless [sic] Discovery channel dweeb executives,” said one such fan.
Discovery is just the latest TV company that is scrambling to stay on the right side of public opinion since the mass shooting.
Fox yanked last Sunday’s episodes of “Family Guy” and “American Dad,” citing content concerns. On Friday, Syfy opted not to air a new “Haven” episode that included violence at a high school. NBC’s cold opening of “Saturday Night Live” featured a choir of schoolchildren singing “Silent Night” — and Samuel L. Jackson making one of his endearing potty-mouth appearances. CBS late-night host Craig Ferguson edited his traditional “It’s a great day for America!” opening out of Friday’s pre-taped episode.
And Sunday’s episode of Showtime’s serial-killer drama, “Dexter,” began with a disclaimer that “in light of the tragedy that has occurred in Connecticut, the following program contains images that may be disturbing.”
And how did America feel about viewing ultra-violent TV after the school shooting?
“Dexter” and “Homeland” delivered record-setting numbers, that’s how. The “Dexter” seventh-season finale clocked nearly 2.8 million viewers at 9 p.m. Sunday, which is 23 percent better than the serial killer’s previous season finale.
Ending its second season, Showtime’s terrorist-thriller “Homeland” scored 2.3 million viewers — 2.7 million including the replay. Compare that with the first-season finale’s audience of 1.7 million.
“Everyone was writing our obituary. Well, they’re not writing our obituary anymore,” Showtime CEO Matt Blank boasted Monday to Bloomberg TV about the Sunday numbers — marking a new milestone in TV-industry-suit foot-in-mouth insertion.