This afternoon Channel 9 announced a new show starting this Sunday. Not sure if they were planning this before Carl Williams was killed but it’s definitely related to their Carl Williams: Baby Faced Killer show from earlier this week.
It’s possible that they discovered how quickly they can put this kind of material together and have some solid gold ratings filler by just throwing together some old news footage and shoving Vince Colosimo in a sound booth for a few hours to read a few lines of voiceover.
Called Australian Families of Crime, the whole exercise feels like a cynical attempt to plug in to an audience’s basest interests. What once seemed like the sensational and exploitative homeland of Channel 10, with their Cops / Hard Copy programming is now wholly occupied by Channel 9.
The flag they plant to claim this land as their own is in the titles of the episodes. The first is called Milat: Backpacker Bloodshed. Shocking, isn’t it.
There is, in our culture, a fascination with the macabre. I love stories of serial killers and other true crime when they’re told well. The producers of Crime Investigations Australia, credited with creating this series, have told some great stories of Australian serial killers and other criminals. They have never, however, shied away from an exploitative production style.
It’s the speed with which this series was announced and slammed onto the air (announced on Thursday and airing on Sunday) that stinks of exploitation. Capitalising on criminal behaviour is a very tight rope to walk. What makes the Underbelly series an acceptable pulp story but Baby Faced Killer a soul-less profiteering on somebody’s horrible crimes and gruesome death? Maybe it’s just time but then the adage states that timing is everything.
Australian Families of Crime airs at 9:30pm Sunday on Channel 9.