I’m hooked on Top Shot on the History Channel. Yes, it’s home to the drama llama, and yes, it’s not exactly a hardcore shooting show.
What it is, though, is popular. It averages almost 2 million viewers each week, a staggering amount for a firearms-related show. But it doesn’t actually show off the act of shooting or the firearms in common use today.
But there is a show (a very, very popular show) that appeals to a niche market but has MASSIVE widespread audience as well and has spawned copies of itself in two different countries. It’s even one of the most conservative shows on television.
I speak, of course, of Top Gear.
Have you ever seen an episode of “Motorweek” on PBS? Relax, most people haven’t either. But Top Gear is the #1 show in its time slot in the U.K. and for good reason. The structure of the show is pretty simple, and hasn’t changed much from 2002. What works is the host’s passion for cars and driving, their personalities, and their approach to what could be a very dry and boring subject.
Top Gear doesn’t try to be a TV show about cars that entertains, it’s an entertaining TV show about cars. The producers of firearms-related could learn some lessons from the producers of Top Gear on how to make their shows entertaining AND informative beyond the niche markets they already serve.