TV’s Going to Pot with New ‘Weed’ Shows

Medical marijuana entrepreneur Steve DeAngelo samples his wares on "Weed Wars" (Photo: Discovery Channel)

TV is poised to explore and conquer a new frontier: Pot.

We had an inkling that this coming week’s scheduled premiere of “Weed Wars” on Discovery Channel – Thursday, Dec. 1, at 10/9c (and simulcast on Discovery Fit & Health) – would not be the first and last show we’d see on the subject of marijuana.

That’s not how TV is done these days. Usually, when you see one kind of new, unscripted series coming to the air, there are others of the same sort waiting in the wings to make their debuts on competing channels. And we were right. We went sniffing around and found out that, besides Discovery, at least two other cable channels are developing shows on a subject – marijuana cultivation and sales – that is now ripe for unscripted TV.

It’s all because so-called “medicinal” – or “medical” – marijuana is now legal (and highly regulated) in 16 states, which presumably makes it OK for some marijuana entrepreneurs to talk openly about their business. And that means saying yes rather than no when reality-TV producers come calling.

Here’s what we know so far about this budding trend:

“Weed Wars”: This Discovery series, boasting an original title song by Snoop Dogg, is about a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. – Harborside Health Center – that serves more than 94,000 patients, according to Discovery. The stars of the show are the Health Center’s proprietors and their suppliers – the pot farmers who cultivate the many strains of cannibas on display on the Center’s shelves. (As a kind of corollary to “Weed Wars,” Discovery is debuting another series called “Moonshiners” on Dec. 6 and 7, about purveyors of another product, this one still illegal, that is produced in the backwoods: Home-distilled spirits.) And by the way, one source insisted to us that Discovery has another “Weed” series in the works, but that was not confirmed.

“American Weed”: We learned that National Geographic Channel is developing a pot series of its own called “American Weed” premiering Jan. 2. In this one, the locale is Boulder, Colo., and that city’s family-owned North Boulder Wellness Center. The series depicts the day-to-day lives of a family pioneering in a new industry, which requires that they adhere carefully to a host of complicated regulations.

The other ones: We were sworn to secrecy about pot shows in development at another cable channel and we would never betray a source’s confidence. Plus, just because a show is in development doesn’t mean it’ll ever see the light of day.

But we predict this channel will get into the marijuana game sooner or later, especially if Discovery and NatGeo get big hits out of their own “Weed” shows.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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