Still, History's foray into reality doesn't appear to have stirred much outcry in academic circles, in part because many historians said they're realistic about the network's constraints. "I think professional historians realize that this is a popular genre in a free-market situation," said Kevin Starr, the noted California scholar, who said he sticks to the network's traditional offerings. "It's not PBS."
But the changes haven't gone unnoted in the creative community. Mark Burnett ("Survivor") produced last spring's "Expedition Africa," which retraced Henry Morton Stanley's journey through Africa, and is in conversations about doing other series with History.