Skepticism

Psychic Kids – Letter-Writing Campaign Edition

Here’s reason #893 why Skepchick readers are awesome – in the comments of my earlier post on Psychic Kids, you took my vague, undirected conclusion that we needed to do something to get the show off of the air and actually acted on it. Some of you sent in complaints via A&E’s online contact form. One of you pointed out that often physical letters, especially handwritten ones, make more of an impact that email or phone calls, which led another to do some research and turn up A&E’s mailing address.

It seemed that the least I could do is to take your lead and get all formalized up in here. So – let’s do this! Let’s officially start the wave of skeptic objections and see if we can get A&E to notice and take it into account when they think about keeping this current season going or renewing Psychic Kids for a new season.

Here’s how to contact them:

Online: You can use the form here to send an electronic message.

Phone: (212) 210-1340

Mail:
A&E Television Networks
235 East 45th Street
New York, NY 10017

Super big thanks to Buzz Parsec for doing the legwork on turning up the phone number and mailing address, and to all the other commenters for getting this started. Let’s see if we can make a difference and score a win for critical thinking.

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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26 Comments

  1. I sent them an email a few days ago, before I tracked down the physical address, but haven’t sent a real letter yet. I’m feeling a little guilty about attacking the program without actually watching it. The “good” news is I’ve set my Tivo to record a couple of episodes, the 1st of which airs tonight, so I can assuage my conscience. The “bad” news is the show seems to air frequently on both the A&E and Biography channels. (I think the BIO channel is showing re-runs from the previous season(s).)

  2. @Buzz Parsec:

    I’m feeling a little guilty about attacking the program without actually watching it.

    Ya, I’m battling with that too. And I probably won’t get a chance to watch the show as I do not own a TV, nor do I know anyone who owns a TV — at least, not anyone whom I can go to. Perhaps I should just let go my rules of honest integrity, but I don’t know. I’m going to have to ponder this a bit more.

  3. If you want to make a larger impact, here are the advertisers that were on in my area. I missed the first 5 minutes of the show, so there may have been a few at the beginning that I didn’t see. This is a list of the advertisements for Surewest cable in the Kansas City area, so you might have some variation for your locale. Regardless, these companies did advertise somewhere and should be informed of what it is that they are actually supporting. This is a full list including ad for other A&E programming.

    At the 11 minute break:
    Michelin HydroEdge Tires
    Robitussin (Pfizer)
    Sears
    McDonalds McRib
    Subaru
    Finish Jet-Dry (Reckitt Benckiser Group)
    Cooking Channel
    Surewest on Demand
    Billy the Exterminator – tv show ad
    Gene Simmons Family Jeweles – tv show ad

    At the 23 minute break:
    Hoarders – tv show ad
    Storage Wars – tv show ad
    Reddi-Whip (ConAgra Foods)
    Airborne supplements (Airborne, Inc.)
    Lowe’s hardware
    Breathe Right (GlaxoSmithKline)
    Dairy Queen
    Aquadoodle (I can’t get their website to load and have no idea if they are part of a larger corporation)
    Hershey’s Kisses
    Kohls

    At the 34 minute break:
    Nice ‘n Easy hair coloring (Procter & Gamble)
    Disaronno
    Morning Glory – movie ad
    Toys ‘R Us
    Wendy’s
    Advil congestion relief (Pfizer)
    Snickers (Mars, Incorporated)
    Olive Garden (Darden Restaurants, Inc)
    Claritin-D non-drowsy (Catalent Pharma Solutions, Inc.)
    Sears (2nd ad)
    Olay Total Effects (Procter & Gamble)
    Zegerid OTC (Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, Inc)
    POM juice (POM Wonderful, LLC)
    The First 48 – tv show ad
    Strange Days with Bob Saget – tv show ad

    At the 47 minute break:
    Paranormal State – tv show ad
    Meet The Hasselhoffs – tv show ad
    Pictionary Man (Mattel, Inc)
    Sears (3rd ad!)
    Delsym cough medicine (Reckitt Benckiser Group)
    Intuit online services
    Dyson handheld vac (Dyson Ltd)
    McDonalds McRib (2nd ad)
    Blue Buffalo dog food
    Aspercreme & Aspercreme Max (Chattem, Inc.)
    Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Lotion (Chattem, Inc.)

  4. Also, could A&E find anyone less appealing than Chip Coffey? He is the least interesting psychic I’ve ever seen. I expected the show to be reprehensible, but thought that the head psychic might actually have some charisma. Coffey makes Richard Nixon look like a charmer, and he’s got a strong case of backpfeifengesicht.

  5. On his facebook group(Chip Coffey – Psychic and Medium).

    Me: “You also believe in big foot and loch ness? or maybe the flying spaghetti monster and zeus? or maybe that david blane can fly?”

    Chip: “Not so much. But I do believe that there are rude, discourteous people in the world around us. And idiots.”

    Me: “Exactly my point.
    Except me being rude or discourteous for asking question about your superstitious beliefs, for me, it’s a coin toss between believing in psychic powers and big foot. I mean, there truly are people who have seen both big foot and loch ness. There are even videos and photos as proof, on the internet.
    But no, there is not one single solid scientific proof of any of the above to exist in reality.
    Heard of the James Randi Foundation? 1.000.000$ prize money if you can prove that any physic powers exists.

    PS. Stop messing around with young peoples minds.”

    Chip: “May I politely suggest that you mind your own business…and if you don’t like me or my work, excuse yourself from the page. Problem solved.”

  6. I have just watched about 15 minutes of the first episode of “Psychic Kids”.

    I wrote the following message to them on the online form:

    “I have a complaint about your show “Psychic Kids”. This show is extremely offensive. The fact that you exploit children and their fantasies on this show is disgusting.

    All I’m seeing on this show is basic cold-reading and retrofitting and the adults on the show reinforcing it. As long as this show is on the air, I will not be watching your network.

    Sincerely,
    Joshua Hunt
    Cleveland, OH ”

    I plan on writing this as a physical letter to A&E. Keep up the good work Jen!

  7. Thanks for setting this up. I posted a question to A&E Corporate/Programming asking what kind of releases the kids and parents sign before shooting.

    Here’s the email:
    When I was a kid, I entertained the idea that I was a psychic. It turns out I wasn’t.
    Fortunately for me I did not have a TV show and a brand telling everyone I know and countless strangers, “Hey this Pat kid might be a psychic! He might have special magical powers!” If that had happened it would have really distorted my sense of self during a sensitive period in my life.
    If I had subsequently discovered the truth that I’m not a psychic, I would look back on my 15 minutes of fame with embarrassment and a deep sense of violation. I would even consider suing the producers and the network for the abuse.
    I doubt you are setting out to hurt people. Still, I expect many kids will get hurt by your show Psychic Kids.
    I am curious. What kind of release do the kids and parents sign before they’re videotaped? I would be interested in seeing a copy.

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