Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Livin' on the Bayou

By Ryan Cronin

History Channel has again found a ratings gold mine, this time in its new reality series “Swamp People”. History’s new hit along with new seasons of more experienced shows, such as Ice Road Truckers, and Pawn Stars, caused the network to achieve its highest ratings ever during the month of August. For its last episode Swamp People had 2.753 million viewers 1.7% of households watched the episode as well as 3% of households watching television in the 9pm-10pm timeslot.
The series documents the lives of Cajun “swampers” as they maintain a lifestyle that is over 300 years old. Although many of the men live off of the land for most of the year, the majority of their time is devoted to Louisiana’s 30 day hunting season for alligator. Alligator season is the main source of income for the Cajuns, and they have only 30 days to fill their individual quotas and earn a living.
The show follows seven “master hunters” and their hired guns as they search the famed Atchafalaya Basin for its bounty of alligator. Every Sunday viewers take a trip to Louisiana and find themselves thrust into the action of hunts for beasts that can easily rip limbs off human beings. The filming techniques in the show offer viewers a first person point of view as cameras seem to be on the boats alongside the hunters.
Most people who watch the show have never even heard about alligator hunting let alone know the importance of it on the economy of Louisiana. The men followed in Swamp People live a way of life that is seen and even described by History Channel as “primitive,” but it is a way of life that is all they have ever known and may be all they ever will know. Through Swamp People, History has opened a door to this unfamiliar world to millions of people every Sunday night.

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