In the midst of our winter finale coverage for some other shows last night, we somehow missed the internet breakdown that was happening over Discovery‘s ill-fated “Eaten Alive” special.
This special is not a particularly difficult one to describe: It was about Paul Rosolie deciding that he wanted to be eaten on national TV by a giant anaconda, and that it could be done in a way that would not harm either him or the snake. There was general intrigue over the idea, but also a ton of public outrage as PETA and other organizations slammed the stunt.
The special, which was pre-taped, aired on Sunday night, and was basically a giant fake-out. After more than an hour and a half, Rosolie had to settle on having a backup snake eat him rather than the one he really wanted. The snake started to begin the process of eating him, but then the mission was aborted before things really started to get crazy.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly today, the network defended the special with the following:
“Paul created this challenge to get maximum attention for one of the most beautiful and threatened parts of the world, the Amazon Rainforest and its wildlife. He went to great lengths to send this message and it was his absolute intention to be eaten alive. Ultimately, after the snake constricted Paul for over an hour and went for his head, the experiment had to be called when it became clear that Paul would be very seriously injured if he continued on. The safety of Paul, as well as the anaconda, was always our number-one priority.”
We agree that the Amazon Rainforest is an area that desperately needs to be saved and protected, and maybe this did bring plenty of viewers to the network. Still, at the same time we have a hard time wrapping our own head around how this was an idea that could have ever really worked out. It basically turned Twitter into a Roman coliseum, and now both viewers and animal-rights organizations are angry.
Did you watch “Eaten Alive” last night? Share with a comment, and head over here to get some further TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Discovery.)