Minor followup on media discussion of Bakken

Actual productive effort in North Dakota. Photo by James Ulvog.
Actual productive effort in North Dakota. No spin here. Fuzzy photo by James Ulvog.

Two minor followups, first on the evening soap opera ‘Blood & Oil’ and then a documentary about Williston. Mentioned both of these previously.

In addition to getting the production run cut from 13 to 10 episodes, the drama “Blood & Oil” took a two-week vacation on the schedule during November. I was wondering if the show was even going to finish out the run of 10 episodes.

Well, according to Wikipedia the show finally made it through airing all of the reduced run. Ratings and share has stabilized in the basement with the number of viewers trending down.

Here are the ratings and share for the season. Ratings is the percent of televisions in the country which were tuned in to the program. Share is the percent of people watching television who were watching the program.

  • Date – rate – share
  • 09/27 – 1.4 / 4
  • 10/04 – 1.3 / 3
  • 10/11 – 0.9 / 2
  • 10/18 – 0.9 / 2
  • 10/25 – 0.8 / 2
  • 11/01 – 0.8 / 2
  • 11/08 – 0.8/ 2
  • 11/29 – 0.9 / 2
  • 12/06 – 0.9 / 3
  • 12/13 – 0.8 / 3

Notice the two-week break in November. Also notice the last eight weeks were flat, in a trading range of .8 or .9 rating and 2 or 3 share. It looks to me like a fairly consistent poor performance.

If you’re really bored, check out the 342 word description of episode #7. There is a grand total of two, count ’em two, comments that refer to anything that is happening in North Dakota, or that could apply to any oil patch for that matter. Those are merely a reference about driving into town (Williston) and another character suggesting leaving the state because it “changes” you. Based on reading only the narrative, it looks like the episode has nothing to do with oil shale, Bakken, or North Dakota.

On December 10, Say Anything Blog reported that Filmmakers Faked Aspects Of North Dakota-Based Television Show “Fracking Hell”. Article explains several different stories were spliced together to present a more dramatic narrative, such as motorcycle gangs collecting street taxes and making tons of money selling meth.

Show reports on a fight broken up by the police, which didn’t actually happen. I’m positive there are lots of bar fights in Williston that do happen, but the one reported on video apparently didn’t (according to the alleged participants).

Article points to…

Williston Herald reporting on 12/10: Was Fracking Hell Fake? Article interviews at length a member of the crew and one of the people on film. Both of them are reported to say things were spun and presented out of context on the show. Article says a bit thief, the show’s “fixer”, and the director all claim the editors spun the story.

Article claims in addition to previously mentioned embellishments that the bit thief wasn’t going to make a big score off another thieving job, a tough motorcycle guy who the show says rumbles through town collecting protection money doesn’t actually own a motorcycle, and another character whose was filmed showing shock when supposedly recognized by the police says he was actually startled by a friend in a car.

One entertaining tidbit reported in the story is the producer encouraged one of the key players in the story to go on camera by giving the person a copy of the documentary “The Overnighters.” Article says the interviewee thought he and his late father were included in the documentary. Wish I could have overheard what promises were given or implied in that discussion.

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