Good hook for a reality show about narcotics policing: It's filmed in one of the most dangerous cities in America! Not such a good hook: It's filmed in a city that used to be fairly dangerous but doesn't even rank in the top 20 anymore!
The Spike TV network has gotten into a semantic scrape with the city of Newark, N.J., over radio promos for the second season of its show DEA. Newark might have its share of drug problems, but it is not, as the ads claim, "one of the most dangerous cities" in the country. It ranks down at No. 24 on that list, well behind places like Detroit, where the first season of DEA was filmed, the southern New Jersey city of Camden, and crime leader New Orleans.
Newark officials blasted the promo as a "slap in the face to all of the hardworking law enforcement and city officials that have helped bring out double-digit decreases in crime over the last several years." Homicides in Newark fell by more than 30 percent from 2007 to 2008, and the city has enjoyed the biggest reduction in violent crime among 168 major cities studied from '06 to '07, according to New Jersey state senate president Richard J. Codey, who wrote a letter of protest to the producers. (Oddball trivia: Today show weatherman Al Roker's production company is behind the series, which has been a ratings success.)
The show follows Drug Enforcement Administration agents "as they work cases ranging from street-level dealers up to cracking international syndicates." Which sounds compelling. Why don't the promos just say that? Maybe they will. They're being retooled in advance of Tuesday's series launch.
—Posted by T.L. Stanley