In 2016, we saw the rise of the 90’s true crime story. From FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” to ESPN’s “O.J.: Made in America,” studios have been delving into the past in an attempt to shed some light onto some of America’s dated, but not forgotten controversies. This storytelling is popular amongst the generation that lived through these stories and were aware of them when they happened, such as watching the O.J. car chase live. It also exposes these cases to millennials who were too young to comprehend what was going on at the time, or weren’t even born yet. The recent nature of these criminal acts drives the relevance and popularity of the show’s concept.
In an attempt to hop on the success of this trend, CBS created a mini-series dedicated to the murder of JonBenét Ramsey. Patsy and John Ramsey were wealthy Colorado residents with two kids, Burke, 9, years old and JonBenét, a 6-year-old beauty queen. On Christmas Day in 1996, the family went to a friend’s house for a holiday party, on the way home JonBenét fell asleep and her parents tucked both her and her brother in for bed. The following morning, Patsy walked downstairs and found a ransom note saying that JonBenét had been kidnapped and would only be returned if they were given a lot of money. They reported the incident and the police told John to look around for clues, which is when they found JonBenét dead in the basement after being strangled and sexually assaulted.
The 20th-anniversary case is in a couple of months, but is still yet to be solved. Television has taken advantage of this with Ramsey projects at Investigation Discovery, Lifetime and A&E all receiving greenlights recently. In the lead is CBS with “The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey,” which wrapped production on the project earlier this month and is now in the process of being edited down from six hours to four hours.
CBS can certainly benefit in a twisted way from the anniversary of her death as it has created renewed buzz around the mystery as people share their theories across social media. Earlier this week, Burke Ramsey spoke out for the first time about the murder during an interview with Dr. Phil. Social media users examined his every move and particularly commented on his awkward behavior and unwavering grin. Since the special airs this Sunday, people will already be engaged and CBS will be able to gain viewership. Although it is slightly discouraging to see CBS profit off the death of an innocent little girl, we may see the rise in attention as helpful in solving the mystery as we saw with Netflix’s “Making a Murderer.”
You can catch “The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey” on CBS this Sunday and Monday, September 18th – 19th at 8:30 ET on CBS.