Sometimes Lifetime seems to be almost trying to earn itself the title of the most offensive network on television. The network has come to be known for making tasteless biopics about dead celebrities without permission from anyone, and now it’s introducing a reality show that sounds like one of the most awful ideas ever to come to reality television. Just let that sink in for a second.
Lifetime’s new show Born in the Wild will follow mothers who choose to have natural births in the wilderness. The show was unveiled to reporters at the Television Critics Association where producer Yoshi Stone said per Deadline it was “just another birthing show. It’s a powerful human event; you can’t exhaust that topic.”
The pilot episode will document the home birth of mother Audrey Bird, who lives in a cabin in a remote area of Alaska. The trailer glamorizes the danger in giving birth in a place far away from power lines, sewer systems, and medical help.
The show is going to focus on mothers who have their babies with very little medical assistance, in places where it would be difficult to get medical assistance should something go wrong during the birthing process. Journalists on hand at the TCA panel asked about the ethics of making a show in which such danger is inherent.
“We know natural births are a hot-button issue in America. It’s an ongoing, heated debate. At the end of the day, everyone is allowed to make their own choices. We are documenting people who are making a particular choice,” Stone said. He went on to outline the show’s various plans to avoid the ethical grey area as much as possible. He said that while shooting the series pilot, there were plenty of medical supplies on site and Medevac was on call. The team was prepared with oxygen and tools for possible hemorrhaging.
“We live in the middle of nowhere, so this was a home birth for us,” Bird told the audience.
This is far from the first time that the network has aired some questionable material. Lifetime was in the news last year for biopics about Brittany Murphy, Whitney Houston, and Aaliyah that were made without the permission of those deceased celebrities’ families. The network went ahead with each of those projects despite very vocal condemnations from all of the subjects’ families. That tactic succeeds in getting the movies into the headlines, but only for very negative reasons.
Maybe the old adage “all press is good press” has been working out for Lifetime, as the bad press is already piling up for Born in the Wild. Some have wondered if the show could encourage viewers at home to attempt the same extreme natural birthing methods with their own deliveries, according to an article from Yahoo Lifestyle.
There have been some pretty tasteless reality shows made on a variety of networks, but Born in the Wild seems to have taken the cake in terms of ethical question marks, the gross-out factor of very graphic birthing scenes, and having the lives of newborn babies hang in the balance. But the fact that people are talking about how ridiculous it is could just spur more to watch.
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