Weed Wars: Cable News Goes To Pot

The copycats of cable news are at it again.

Following in the footsteps of a handful of cable channels that got there first, CNN and MSNBC have both discovered marijuana -- not for smoking (that we know of) but for programming.

A few weeks ago, CNN announced a new show called “High Profits,” an eight-part series that will premiere next year (exactly when is anybody’s guess). “High Profits” will focus on a Colorado couple -- Brian Rogers and Caitlin McGuire -- who have opened a handful of shops for the now-legal sale of marijuana in that state.

According to CNN’s press release, the two mean to become “moguls of marijuana” through the expansion of their home-grown business into a chain of pot-shop franchises located in Colorado and beyond (although the only other “beyond” would be Washington State and now Oregon, the only other states where the sale of pot for recreational uses -- such as watching CNN -- is legal).



Not long after this CNN series about Colorado pot barons was announced, MSNBC began promoting its own upcoming pot show titled “Pot Barons of Colorado.” This six-episode series, scheduled to premiere on Sunday, Nov. 30, began to be promoted on MSNBC’s own air earlier this month. It was officially announced a few days later.

When I inquired about the show, an MSNBC press rep took umbrage at my suggestion that MSNBC was copying CNN with this pot show. The press rep pointed out that MSNBC’s show is already produced and ready to air -- implying perhaps that it was CNN that was trying to get the jump on MSNBC by announcing a pot show that won’t be ready to air for several months.  On the other hand, CNN last year produced a series of special reports on marijuana starring Dr. Sanjay Gupta. And CNBC has an occasional series of reports called “Marijuana USA.”

Whatever. The fact is, cable channels such as Discovery and National Geographic Channel have already mined the pot business for reality television. In 2011, Discovery had a show called “Weed Wars,” about a medical-marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. The show was short-lived.

In 2013, Discovery came up with an innovation it called “Weed Wednesdays,” based on two pot shows airing back-to-back on that evening. One was called “Weed Country” and the other was called “Pot Cops” (about police who pursued growers of illegal marijuana). “Weed Country” is still on the schedule. “Pot Cops” is not. And the Wednesday lineup does not seem to be called “Weed Wednesdays” anymore.

NatGeo had a series called “American Weed” that reported on a full range of pot-related subjects in episodes carrying titles such as “Rocky Mountain Medicine” and “Weed-Jacked!”

The point is this: Two cable channels -- MSNBC and CNN, which are having a difficult time competing in the news business during the many hours when news isn’t breaking, are looking at various ideas for reality- or documentary-style TV shows in an attempt to boost sagging ratings. And the two channels -- especially CNN -- are not above looking toward these other reality-oriented cable channels for “inspiration” (these marijuana shows being just the latest example of this phenomenon).

The (high) times they are a-changin’. Once upon a time, people would get high to watch TV. Today, people are getting high and getting on TV.   

3 comments about "Weed Wars: Cable News Goes To Pot".
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  1. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, November 20, 2014 at 3:35 p.m.

    How can anyone wonder why CNN and MSNBC have gone to the Nielsen Ratings toilet -- and stayed too long. They both need to start using Poo Pourri. My video devices smell badly whenever I pass through those channels on the way to something in the public interest. (
    Note: CNN & MSNBC have had one thing in common over the past decade other than their obsession with marijuana moguls ...Ersatz TV Geniuses named Jeff Zucker. Motto: "First to Worst!"
    Congratulations, Jeff. You did it. Too bad you can't clean it up.

  2. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, April 20, 2015 at 5:03 p.m.

    April 20, 2015
    The programs have aired and the numbers are in.
    Did a proprietary Turner Research Segmentation Study
    reveal over 25 new audience segments for CNN?

    • disengaged

    • intoxicated

    • ripped

    • tipsy

    • wasted

    • baked

    • bombed

    • buzzed

    • doped

    • drugged

    • drunk

    • flying fried

    • inebriated

    • loaded

    • plastered

    • sloshed

    • smashed

    • stewed

    • tanked

    • totaled

    • tripping

    • boozed up

    • feeling no pain

    • on a trip

    • spaced out

    • strung out

    • inattentive


  3. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, April 20, 2015 at 5:12 p.m.

    April 20, 2015

    The CNN Stonerthon has aired and the numbers are in ...



    It seems fitting that the 24/7 News Channel that's "gone to pot" most is the network that needs pot the most to stay afloat.

    I wonder what disengaged, inattentive Potheads thought they were watching on CNN?  Sponge Jeff Square Pants?

    Does Jeff Zucker even understand the difference between being (A+) news organization and being an (A-) dope?

    Backwards & Downwards

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