Saturday, September 28, 2013

Paternity Court

A new fall TV show is Paternity Court:
Paternity Court is a nontraditional court show/tabloid talk show hybrid, bringing family lawyer and legal analyst Lauren Lake as she hears and rules on paternity cases and renders DNA test results.

The show is produced by MGM Domestic Television Distribution and 79th and York Entertainment. It is distributed by Orion TV Productions, a division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Paternity Court is executive produced by David Armour.

According to John Bryan, president of MGM Domestic Television Distribution, the series is MGM's first first-run syndication series to come to the market in years. Reports of the series first emerged in December 2012. As early as December 2012, the court show was already sold in 75% of the country. Stations acquired the show on an all-barter basis with 3½ minutes of local and 3½ minutes of national advertising time in every episode. By August 2013, the show was sold in 92% of the country.

Slogans for the program include: "Paternity Court, where science meets law," "Paternity Court, it's time to get tested!" and "Paternity Court; she's the judge; DNA is the jury!"

Paternity Court premiered on Monday, September 23, 2013. ...

Broadcasting & Cable has reported: It's not too far of a stretch to assume that Maury, the father of televised paternity cases, was the inspiration of this show. According to John Bryan, president of MGM Domestic Television Distribution:

"Starting in its 2009-10 season, Maury started doing a lot of paternity cases. The show's numbers went up, and today, 90% of his shows involve this in some way. On many occasions, Maury leads all talk shows among women 25-54. We also looked at what the most popular genre is in daytime and that's court. This show hits a sweet spot in daytime. Court has obviously proved itself and shows about paternity have proved themselves."
I watched an episode, and some black woman named 13 possible dads for her baby. A DNA test decided on one, and not the one she wanted. You can submit your case here. The show is sponsored by Identigene DNA Paternity Test, which is now available at popular drug stores.

So why do millions of women watch this crap? I can only assume that it shows fears and fantasies that resonate with them.

Update: A comment below has new info on the strange case of Stanford Prof. Annelise Barron.


Anonymous said...

I just couldn't stay away from the bizarre case of Stanford Prof. Annelise Barron in San Jose yesterday. What a soap opera. She's been in jail since June and the judge ordered that she continue to be held in custody without bail. The upshot of the preliminary hearing was that her case will go to trial on four felonies and eleven misdemeanors for violating visitation and restraining orders.

The defense argued that she has learned her lesson and has served the equivalent of an eight-month sentence with time off for good behavior and asked that bail be set at $100,000, which it was earlier in the year until she apparently stalked her ex-paramour in violation of a restraining order. Her attorney said the amphetamines were by prescription (whether for weight loss or to keep up the pace of bioengineering research was unstated) and that she would be in treatment with a Stanford psychiatrist as soon as she could be released. He also said she was on leave from Stanford.

The prosecutor said Prof. Barron had shown utter unwillingness to follow court orders and she feared that Prof. Barron would abduct her two-year-old and use her international contacts to flee the country. When she and the nanny were apprehended in Kauai, they had passports and winter clothes. The prosecutor argued that Prof. Barron had used her Stanford students to help secrete personal property in order to effect the alleged child abduction in December. Prof. Barron had a verbal altercation with another inmate at a jail program which resulted in all participants being locked down.

After the show, I glanced at the divorce case file. Volumes 15 and 16 were with some family court bench officer (not Irwin Joseph, one hopes), so I only checked out Volume 1 (a couple inches thick) from 2008. The income tax returns were sort of boring, but right from the get-go Prof. Barron declared how she applied diaper rash cream to her then four-year-old daughter's bottom on a nightly basis, but that her then husband, another Stanford professor, stroked her daughter's "pee-pee" while she was out of town on business and was reciprocated and she heard that "sticky white stuff came out." Her ex-husband still doesn't have a criminal record, so apparently the authorities found these accusations not provable beyond a reasonable doubt.

I thought my divorce was bad, but although income tax returns went between the parties and attorneys, they were never filed with the court. The family lawyers in this case have billed vast sums and the case rolls on. Prof. Barron's paternity case has a hearing next week and a trial is scheduled for December in the dissolution. Pretrial motions in the criminal case begin October 7.

I confess that this case does resonate -- my fears of being tossed in jail at a purported contempt hearing out of state and my fantasies of my ex-wife being thrown in jail for domestic violence.

George said...

Wow. My prejudices are that someone with the mental self-discipline to become a Stanford professor is likely to be psychologically stable and have her personal life in order. Live and learn.