Thursday, June 9

Licensing Mayhem (7#) -

Lonely Girls, Amanda Knox,
Casey Anthony, and Buffy . . .

In the Post-Modern 21st Century, new ways of telling stories are being explored. Among the most controversial, is the use of a grisly crime being transformed into a Reality TV series.

Back in the beginning of the last decade, the 2003 online saga of fugitive heiress Isabella V unfolded in the blog She's a Flight Risk, captivating many people, who did not know whether the story was fictional or true.

Then, in 2006, there was the web-based video sensation Lonelygirl 15 which focused on the life of a teenage girl named Bree, although, the show did not initially reveal that its story was fictional to its audience.

Lonelygirl 15 had a number of spin-off shows such as the British version called KateModern, which ran from July 2007 through June 2008, and a Polish version called N1ckola which started in January 2009. And then, an Italian version was announced:

What to expect? It would be "very much like Buffy, a little bit of comedic element, teen angst and romance, and sci-fi drama." Like past series, the new show is likely to have a young female star... as well as EQAL’s honed elements of brand integration, interactive live events, and fighting against "The Order."

CBS signed a deal with them. And it was CBS that began turning the Amanda Knox Italian Situation into a continuing Reality TV Soap Opera saga until its producer, Joe Halderman, was put away in prison as a convicted criminal.

"In July 2010, after his conviction and incarceration, Halderman was nominated for an Emmy as a producer of a 48 Hours Mystery segment regarding Amanda Knox."

More recently, ABC has picked up this Amanda Knox baton and tried to move it forward. But the fusion of Journalism and Entertainment has come under increasing scrutiny and has raised doubts about the potential for transforming the savage murder of Meredith Kercher into hypnotic "sticky eyeballs" entertainment. This project has also attracted some deeply disturbed and possibly dangerous characters onto their bandwagon.

Now it has been revealed that ABC paid accused murderer Casey Anthony $200,000 in exchange for exclusive rights to video and photos.

No mention of any monies exchanged in the Amanda Knox Italian Situation has been disclosed yet, but the entire issue of "licensing fees" has come into serious question:

"By paying for material like dramatic images, emails and call logs, news organizations are creating a market for them. That market may attract people with agendas who create situations that will lead to dramatic images or materials. That is dangerous, for journalism and society."