ue to a perfect storm of surgery recovery and DVR overload, I am still wading through Apollo 11 documentaries. I simply cannot get enough of them. The thought of a national gauntlet being thrown down for an eight year challenge, funds to accomplish, and the efforts of almost half a million Americans to achieve that goal seems like ancient history.
Another fascinating aspect of this has been the moment Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. That seminole moment was reported to have been watched by 600 million people across the globe. This was when television wasn’t as pervasive as it is today, obviously. But it was one of the great “where were you when” moments in history.
Unfortunately, the majority of those “where were you when” moments have been negative since then. The Challenger disaster, 9/11, school shootings. There have been very few moments of positivity that are a stop the world event.
The lone exceptions would be Royal weddings and sporting events. The top 10 most watched events in history are all sporting events. The 2012 London Olympics holds the current record and 3.6 billion people watching the event.
There are roughly 25 sporting events all with viewer ratings over two billion. The first non sports event on the list was the funeral of Princess Diana with two billion watching.
What would be the next non-sporting event that would be a positive event to get billions of people watching? Would an announcement for a cure of cancer do the trick? Would the next moon landings (scheduled for 2024) get close? Would landing on Mars?
In a world with 500 channels, you’ve got to think that wall-to-wall coverage on all networks is forever gone. The last event that was simulcast on all networks was 9/11 – I remember watching ABC news while watching ESPN, for instance. MTV was carrying CNN, etc. But there are even more channels than there were then. Certainly when man walks on Mars, there will be a portion of the audience watching the Kardashians on Survivor Island.
Unfortunately, it is hard to think of the next “where were you when” moment and not immediately jump to something catastrophic. Even television shows don’t have big finales anymore. Friends would be the last one I can think of that drew huge numbers, and now, you’re just as likely to binge watch something on Hulu as you are to watch an actual event live.
I remain hopeful that our next earth-stopping moment, that moment when we all run to our television sets, will be a cure for poverty, or a resolution for Alzheimers, or life on Mars. In the meantime, I’ll continue to scan up and down the Kardashian channel, just so I don’t miss anything.
(Catch up with Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is known as @TheFakeNed or find him on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube)