Tragedy + Time = Ratings : Why TV Loves Retelling the Jon Benet Story

In 1996 Boulder county saw one of America’s most infamous murders, and 20 years later, the cold case is stirring up another media frenzy.

The twentieth anniversary of JonBenet Ramsey’s death has inspired investigators and filmmakers alike to revisit the case in hopes of cracking it open and making a name for themselves in the entertainment industry.

The past two years has seen a boom in true crime media– from the “Serial” podcast to Netflix’s “Making a Murderer”, the popularity of real-life life horror stories has skyrocketed. Like roller coasters,  true crime gives us an adrenaline rush, and the television industry is all too willing to take advantage.

JonBenet’s case, in particular, has struck a chord with the viewing public. Just last month CBS released a six-hour docuseries and Lifetime announced that a made for television movie, “Who Killed JonBenet?” that is set to premiere later this fall.

Additionally, Investigation Discovery premiered a three-night special  on Sept. 12, the same night JonBenet’s brother, Burke Ramsey, appeared on Dr. Phil interview. “Casting JonBenet”, a film directed by Kitty Green, is also in production.

Murder intrigues audiences. JonBenet’s murder may never be solved, but the tragedy that befell her Dec. 26, 1996 has sparked the creation of films, podcasts, and books. For better or worse, her legacy is her death, both the art it inspired and the mystery that captivates viewers to this day.



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