Dead Reckoning: TV Viewers Want Executions

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It seems that most TV viewers don’t mind watching people die, so long as you don’t show them the body afterward.

According to a new poll by pop-culture digital channel Trio, a majority (67%) wouldn’t mind putting the public in public executions by watching them on the small screen (one in five would even pay for the privilege).

Although CBS’s CSI with its graphic post-mortems has been a runaway hit, a majority of respondents apparently want to confine their perusal of bodies to fictional treatments. Fifty-four percent say they would not like to see real autopsies televised. Nonetheless, Trio is premiering Autopsy March 8 at 9:30 as part of its "Uncovered TV" month of unusual programming.

Autopsy is the U.S. debut of a Channel 4 UK program from several years ago, in which a man who donated his body to science was autopsied before an audience. But Trio is currently out of luck on executions. While reporters are allowed as witnesses, cameras are not.

The study also found that 50% of respondents didn’t think the media should show caskets returning from Iraq (43% said show them). That conclusion came despite the vast majority believing that media coverage "significantly impacts the outcome of major events," including war.

When it came to TV shedding light on the workings of government, most viewers wanted the scoop on the CIA (41%) followed closely by the White House (40%).

The study, conducted by Harris, was a random phone poll of 1,017 adults 18-plus conducted Jan. 24-26. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1%.