Man, I have great commenters! Here's my definition of "great" — my commenters have ideas I can steal!
Mike M., I agree that firearms shows are in a rut...it's a rut that I helped dig, and, yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, blah blah, but it's time to move on. You'll see some of that in the SHOOTING GALLERY episodes that start next week...we cover the Vintage World Cup competition with elephant rifles, the Advanced Armament Suppressor Show, the first coverage of Rocky Mountain 3-Gun, first coverage of "Wild Bunch" style shooting, etc. Season 10 of SG in 2010 is going to TOTALLY blow you away! I just made the presentation to OC execs, and they were both surprised and happy. I'd give you my working outlines, but my competition mines this blog for ideas.
THE BEST DEFENSE is another way we're moving to a different drummer...watch the first episodes and tell me what you think. From the ground up we agonized over the best way to make a personal defense show...what I didn't want to do was SHOOTING GALLERY LITE, a collection of tips...first, safety at the ATM; next, transitioning to your battle rifle!
Our — me, Rob Pincus, Mike Janich and director Tim Cremin — goal with TBD is to move you to a new level for your own personal defense and, ultimately, to enhance your quality of life. We also wanted to create a show that you'd want your Spousal Unit and your kids to watch. I think we've succeeded...you guys will ultimately be the judges.
The reason I'm looking at hunting shows is that as commenter Greg has noted, there needs to be linkage between various elements in the culture. The reason OUTDOOR LIFE tapped me to write their aritcle on AR-15s, which they consider one of the most important articles they've ever published is that I can bridge that gap. On handgun hunting, AMERICAN HANDGUNNER Ed Roy Huntington and I were at Thunder Ranch a few years back talking B-S, and Roy made a comment that has stuck with me. He said that traditional hunting was about the animals, the game, but handgun hunting was about the gun. Maybe a slight overstatement — probably the result of all day shooting followed by beverages by the fire — but fundamentally true. Ditto for traditional muzzle-loader hunting, hunting using cowboy-era guns or any specialized weapon hunting (I'd probably throw .50 BMG/Super .40s into that mix...the lovely Wendy Henry, a ballet instructor and dancer, smacked a moose at 500 yards with her Barrett a couple of years back...that's a hunt worth filming!).
Linkage means both introducing hunters to competition that makes sense within the context of their sport (like, duh, why bird hunters shoot sporting clays) and introducing shooters to hunting that makes sense within the context of their sports.
RE: Competition, we fully intend to totally change the game in 2009. DRTV will become the dominant force in shooting sports coverage, because we have a plan that will work. Over 2008 we've beta-tested segments of the plan with great results. The sophisticated technology we needed is now in place, and we'll start rolling out the plan in March. Since we all know that no battle plan survives first encounter with the enemy, we expect to spend much of the year tinkering with the machine...but the machine will run!