January 7, 2007

Last week, while I was back in Massachusetts, I spent an afternoon with my friend Pasquale eating Italian food and kibitzing over a bottle of chianti. As is common whenever we get together, the talk turned to politics and the news du jour – on this day, it was the death of President Ford. For some reason, we ended up on the topic of funerals and Paul happened to mention a friend of his who happens to enjoy attending funerals – in fact, the guy will check the death notices in the local paper to see if there’s anyone interesting who might have died recently, and if he’s got the time, he’ll attend the funeral service.

And that’s when the thought hit us both at the same time – that’s right, The Funeral Channel. I mean, look at the cable TV landscape out there. You have The Golf Channel, the Discovery Channel, The Leisure Channel, The Weather Channel, The Travel Channel, The Food Network, the Sci-Fi Channel, and various other kinds of channels and networks devoted to home repair, gardens, music, religion, medicine, arts, movies, pornography, and sports. But no “The Funeral Channel”. I know – I checked it out.

So what would programming on The Funeral Channel be like? Well, just think about its potential. How about start-to-finish coverage of funerals for any celebrity, politician, or notable person who dies, including retrospectives on their lives and commentary from those who knew them well. You could cover funerals of interesting people from small-town America, or those from different or interesting backgrounds, or those who died from highly-publicized tragedies. I’m not kidding – consider how the obituaries are often (and this is especially the case in my favorite newspaper, the New Orleans Times-Picayune) the most interesting and entertaining section of the local newspaper. People are, and always have been, fascinated by death, and I can’t think of a better (and more profitable) outlet for that fascination than The Funeral Channel.

Paul and I have it all figured out. The logo would be “The Funeral Channel” with the “F” and “L” capitalized on either side of a coffin, with the letters “unera” in lower case, resting on top of it. Advertising could and would be sold both nationally (life insurance companies are an obvious) and locally (funeral homes, law firms, cemetaries, and churches); because this is a niche that has yet to be filled, selling air time would be like taking candy from a baby. Then, imagine the interest that would surround the channel’s launch – I guarantee People, Us, and The Wall Street Journal would be banging down the door wanting to get interviews. Even if it were just for curiosity’s sake, there’s a natural, already-existing audience out there just waiting to tune in.

I know what you’re thinking – The Great White Shank has gone off his rocker. But I’m telling you, the idea could work, and big time. I just don’t how how much dinero it would take to get this idea off the launch pad. The only thing I know about launching cable television networks came from reading Raymond Arroyo’s biography of Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN. In her case, it took a lot of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions): I mean, you need to pay for transponders, satellite space, bandwidth, studios and equipment, on-air talent, sales, marketing – the mind boggles. But believe me, this is an idea that could work, and a huge success just waiting to be fronted and funded.

Ahhh… the curse of being a genius and poor at the same time! If anyone out there has the dough and desire, or connections to the industry and some visionary investor, go ahead – have a whack at it. (Feel free to include or involve me.) I’m tellin’ ya, it’s as close to a sure thing as The Great White Shank pushing the ball left on his tee ball. Just do me a favor, though – after you’ve made your first million in profit, remember the guy who gave you the idea and helped make it all possible for you.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:15 | Comments (8)
8 Comments »
  1. I like this idea, GWS. I know people who pore over the obituaries every day. The Funeral Channel could show Six Feet Under reruns at night to fill in the gaps. Those annoying cemetery plot salespeople could maybe advertise there and leave me alone. I’ll pitch in $20 to help you get it off the ground, GWS.

    Comment by Rob — January 7, 2007 @ 7:33 am


  2. There’s a funeral today in Dallas for the Cowboys. Man, the possibilities are endless.

    Comment by Rob — January 7, 2007 @ 7:36 am


  3. All over the map on a dreary CrabAppleLane Sunday

    Can I just say that those two playoff games yesterday were two of the sloppiest games I’ve ever seen? Furthermore, that second one in Seattle was wildly entertaining. I’m mystified by both games. The Chiefs, with their big bruising running back, couldn…

    Trackback by CrabAppleLane Blog — January 7, 2007 @ 9:31 am


  4. You know, you might just have something here. If you needed filler you could do features on cemeteries and the more interesting markers or people buried there. What a cool idea.

    Comment by Dave E. — January 7, 2007 @ 11:40 am


  5. Thanks for the comments Dave and Rob. We know where we’d go to get good ideas for cemetaries (right, Dave?), and I hadn’t mentioned it in my post, but Paul was thinking along Rob’s line about running episodes of Six Feet Under. I guess geniuses think alike. Now, we just a need that sugar daddy.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — January 7, 2007 @ 3:28 pm


  6. …and I guess we can add New Jork Jets and K.C. Chiefs fans to this list of mourners…

    Comment by The Great White Shank — January 7, 2007 @ 3:29 pm


  7. And think of the businesses that would be killing themselves (!) to advertise with “The Funeral Channel”. Local funeral homes, florists, cemetaries, etc. Also all of the healthcare / drug companies trying to delay the inevitable ending. Lock this up, it’s pure genius!

    Comment by Anonymous — January 8, 2007 @ 9:19 am


  8. You might have something there on “The Funeral Channel”. Unfortunately the media only acknowledges dignitaries. Just think of alll the people that watched Reagan, Kennedy, Ford and other funerals.

    I think its a good idea.

    Comment by Cubby — January 9, 2007 @ 11:15 am


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