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Grey Matter



There were two big UFO related stories last week and you would think that I would be writing about one or both of them. The problem with the really big UFO stories is that everyone writes about them. There is no shortage of articles on the Stephenville UFO and the Bigfoot on Mars, or Mars Mermaid as I call it. Both mainstream and alternative media have cover them well. What is left to be said about either of those? Nothing.

Though there is one less-covered story for me to contemplate, the UFO Hunters controversy. Two shows, so far as I know they have very similar concepts and they are premiering on the same night, at the same time and with the same name, but on different channels (one on History Channel and one on Scifi Channel).

Anyone who knows me knows that I looked up the trademark ages ago when I realized that both shows had the same name. To me, History Channel should end up with the legal rights, unless there is some other problem with the trademark, because they filed for it about a week before Scifi Channel. We would know Elisha Gray as the inventor of the telephone had he only made it to the patent office a few hours earlier, before Alexander Graham Bell. Trademarks work the same way.

Neither the History Channel nor SciFi Channel's TM claims have been given to an examiner yet, they are just filed. Still, if someone has legal rights to use that name it will be History Channel merely because they filed first. I can't imagine that Scifi Channel doesn't know that and it would also explain why they filed for another trademark on that same day, NY-SPI: UFO Hunters. So what do I think is going on? I think certain people realized this controversy would get some extra PR.

Lets face it, aside from the Ghost Hunters franchise, Scifi's weekly paranormal shows have been bombs. Anything they could do that may attract more viewers to this one is probably worth their time and energy and probably they will keep the "UFO Hunters" name as long as possible, possibly forever if neither claim is accepted by the USPTO.

Meanwhile, History does well with the paranormal. Monster Quest has been a huge hit and UFO Files also does very well. There is a lot more on History that is at least somewhat esoteric like History's Mysteries, Decoding the Past, Cities of the Underworld and Lost Worlds. I enjoy all those shows, so I have high hopes for History's UFO Hunters. The fact that UFO Hunters will be in HD is kind of cool too.

Still, I have nothing against SciFi and I hope their UFO show turns out to be good. I plan on watching both, unless one of them is really bad. I imagine most UFO junkies will do the same. Also, if one or both do really well maybe some other cable channels or even a major network might end up doing a UFO show. Remember those paranormal shows on regular TV when the X-Files was a top rated show? There was Sighting, Encounters and I think a couple others.

I hope for more UFO and Esoteric programming. I would worry about America burning out on such shows, but year after year we have seen an amazing amount of reality shows and still there are always more. Sure some are cancelled, but I bet you could find some sort of reality show on TV on any day, at any time.

I am sure I heard George Noory say to Linda Howe last time she was on that he was doing 5 more Sci Fi channel shows and wanted her to do one with him. We all know how bad that first one was, but if Sci Fi is going to try to resurrect the concept, they must have got some fairly good ratings. In fact, I am sure they did. They weren't Ghost Hunters good, but they were good enough for a pilot and to give a few more shows a try.

Yeah, there are many bad things I can say about a lot of the esoteric, and especially UFO related, shows. My main peeve is that many build up this great story and have you totally believing during the first half until they bring on the debunkers in the second half. I am not sure why they do that. Why spend the time making such a good case the first half only to debunk everything that has been said during the second half? If you want to present both sides, do so equally throughout the entire show, don't build something up the first half and then tear it down. That is senseless.

My peeves aside, I love to see UFO/Esoteric shows on TV. They let me know that I really am not that weird because there are a lot more people than me are watching or the show would be cancelled. There are all kinds of people watching, doctors, lawyers, bus boys, CPAs, teachers, garbage men, politicians and any kind of person you can think of. They may not all be totally "into" it, but they are interested and that is a good thing.

So I guess I am saying that anything that draws attention to the so-called paranormal and UFOs is good. Yes, if I could only watch one UFO Hunters show it would be the History Channel one. That is partly because I write for UFO Magazine and Bill Birnes is on that one, but it is also because I am unfamiliar with anyone on the Sci Fi Channel version and I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable about those involved in UFO studies. I have never heard of Oliver Kemenczky or Ted Davis, who will be on Sci Fi. Couldn't they have got Richard Dolan or someone known in Ufology?

Oh well, we will see how it all works out with the name and such, but really the name doesn't at all matter. What does matter is that History and Scifi both think that their UFO show is important enough to duel over names and compete with. Now that is pretty cool.

I have a bit of an update, Scifi Channel announced yesterday that they have changed their airing date for the show. Rather than put it here, I suggest you check Scifi's website because, for all I know, they will change it again.

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