Filed under: Publicity Stunts, Spin
Promotional materials for the Discovery Channel program Eaten Alive led some viewers to expect that they would see host Paul Rosolie devoured by a wild anaconda. When he wasn’t, animal-rights activists and passive sadists alike expressed dismay.
‘Eaten Alive’ Watched by 4.1 Million Viewers
by Lynn Elber
December 8, 2014
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Discovery Channel’s “Eaten Alive” special that pitted snake against man drew more than 4 million viewers, but not all considered it time well spent.
Although the title and a promotional video indicated that naturalist Paul Rosolie would be swallowed by a giant anaconda, Sunday’s pre-taped special didn’t go that far.
Rosolie, described by Discovery as a snake researcher and conservationist, ended his Amazon jungle encounter with the snake after it encircled his body and began squeezing. Wearing bulky protective gear, Rosolie escaped with a sore arm but uneaten.
Online, some viewers jeered the show for falling short of its promise. One posting showed a photo of a mild-looking dog nibbling on a person’s finger, accompanied by a request for their own Discovery show.
Lisa Lange, senior vice president for the animal rights group PETA, said the special included the “inexcusable torment” of a wild anaconda and other snakes and was a “shameful stunt” done for ratings.
Discovery has said the snake was unharmed, and the channel declined to comment on PETA’s criticism.
Responding to disappointed viewers, Discovery said Rosolie created the challenge to draw attention to an endangered part of the world and it was his “absolute intention to be eaten alive.”
But his safety and that of the snake were the top priority, and the effort had to be ended to avoid serious injury to Rosalie, Discovery said.