Like many of you, I get a lot of my news from Facebook. I don't trust everything I read, but what I read last night came straight from the source... History Detectives is being cancelled.
I know some of you will be just as upset about this as I am. And some of you might not even know what show I'm talking about.
I watched every History Detectives episode at least once, many of them multiple times, and I always learned something new. A new piece of historical trivia. A new method to finding that piece of trivia. A new insight into how I could find a similar piece of trivia on my own at the library or city hall or grandma's attic.
Host Wes Cowan summed up how I feel about the show best. He said for him, "it made me understand that through our family histories we're all connected to the larger history of our country." Yes! That! History Detectives made me feel connected to my country, even if the story they covered had nothing to do with me or Oklahoma or my family's heritage.
Cowan also made a statement that is very similar to what we in public television have been saying for years. He said that PBS recognized the "deep vein of interest" that viewers have for history, which caused them to commission programs tapping into that interest. Unfortunately, this caused a multitude of cable spin-offs (Pawnstars, American Pickers, Storage Locker Wars, and more). The cable shows clutter the stories with unnecessary drama and relentless commercial breaks (my words, not Cowan's), but those shows do offer some tidbits of history, and that's what keeps the viewers hooked.
At least PBS can say "we did it first" with series like History Detectives, Antiques Roadshow, Genealogy Roadshow, Finding Your Roots and other greats. (Okay, yes, the Brits technically did it first with Antiques Roadshow.) And the producers, hosts and supporters of these series can find some comfort in knowing that their work and passion have helped preserve some of our history that may have otherwise been lost to time.
Thank you, History Detectives, for your work and your passion. This viewer loved every minute of it.