Fear Network brings the anxiety

Aug 31, 2011 at 5:00 am

The Fear Network, a new cable-news channel coming this fall, promises to bring a new level of fear-based infotainment to anxiety-hungry news junkies worldwide. The channel, a collaboration of News Corp., The Weather Channel, GlaxoSmithKline and Liberty University, promises to let viewers customize their fear-based news consumption in a way not seen on television since the introduction of the crawl.

Unlike traditional cable and local news, which supply general-interest angst, The Fear Network will provide daily shows that narrowly target a variety of news-driven fears, such as death by terrorism or five-hour erections. The Fear Network hopes to provide a “more customizable fear experience” so that those who enjoy being afraid of economic collapse, say, don’t have to sit through news about food-borne illness and vice versa. Indeed, early screenings indicate the network has the potential to live up to its promise to “Scare You Your Way.” Here’s a rundown of the network’s fall lineup:

“401-kablam!” — A cartoon financial talk show hosted by beloved pessimist Eeyore, it focuses on how much the market is down, why it went down, why it’s unlikely to ever go back up and — on days when the market is up — why it will undoubtedly go down again soon and, even if it doesn’t, you won’t get to retire until just before you die.

“Jihad Jones” — This “news reality” show follows an American-born extremist as he prepares to make war on the “Great Satan.” The pilot episode consists mostly of ululations and threatening glares, but producers promise a “chilling, next-gen terror experience for the whole family.”

“We Don’t Like the Look of that Mole” — An audience-participation health show focusing on dermatology, “Mole” will let viewers tweet photos of their bodies to a panel of experts, who will estimate how long they have to live. Spoiler alert: not long.

“The Three-Second Rule” — The Fear Network takes hidden cameras inside restaurant and grocery chains to expose the myriad ways your food becomes contaminated. The pilot episode, “Employees Must Wash Hands,” is not for the faint of heart.

“Ack! Foreigners!” — This experimental show consists of an uninterrupted live video feed of people crossing the nation’s borders. A crawl at the bottom of the screen speculates on what kinds of threats they may pose to the nation as a whole and to you personally. Veteran journalist Lou Dobbs hosts.

“Cute Polar Cubs Going Extinct” — Another live-feed show, “Cubs” follows the playful antics of polar bears as they slowly drift out to sea on ever-shrinking ice floes.

“Hopped-up Thugs Looking in Your Window” — They’re everywhere: wanton criminals, high on meth, and they’re probably looking in your window right now! But you’ll want to keep your eye on this show instead, which is twice as creepy as the actual criminals. The show also includes a recurring feature, “Kids on Your Lawn.”

“Who’s Googling You Right Now?” — Expert analysis and news about the millions of people being Googled without their knowledge, often with dangerous and horrifying results, probably involving Facebook.

“Nobody Loves You but Your Mom (And She’s on the Fence)” — This lighthearted science show covering the battle of the sexes enumerates the latest data explaining why you’ll be spending Saturday night with Mom, unless even she kicks you out.

“Whoops, I Dropped Your Baby” — A show for parents covering all the things that can, and will, happen to your infant.

“Drugs ’n’ Surgery” — A daily recap of the latest research from the world of Western medicine covers why you need both but can’t afford either, and, even if you could, something would go horribly wrong.

“Partly Cloudy, Chance of Death” — An insightful look at the day’s weather around the globe and in your hometown, “Partly Cloudy” reminds viewers that even if there are no tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, droughts, thunderstorms or searing heat, a mild, partly cloudy day can let in enough ultraviolet radiation to eventually kill you.

The Fear Network has several other shows in development, including “The Second Coming,” a show about the dangers of multiple orgasms; “An Inconvenient Tooth” (covering periodontal disease); “Nut Allergies: Satan’s War on Tweens”; and perhaps the most horrifying show of all: “Nothing to Fear,” a reality show that takes a terrifying look into the empty lives of people who don’t watch TV news. All of these exciting shows promise to enhance the rich media landscape in the United States and around the world.