The latest American Greed tackles big business, but not in the way fans of the CNBC show are used to. It’s an indictment of a California utility company that claims the entire organization is rotten, rather than just one or two rogue individuals.
Pacific Gas & Electric, better known by its abbreviation PG&E, is the Golden State’s largest utility company. It also has a problem with starting fires. Over the last six years the organization’s faulty equipment has been part of several of the biggest blazes to ravage the state, which have caused millions of dollars in damage and several deaths. That creates a different kind of episode—because unlike most installments of American Greed, this one isn’t about somebody who set out to intentionally commit crimes.
Instead what true crime audiences will be treated to is an examination of poor business practices at best and negligence at worst. In just one example, PG&E was connected to the Camp Fire, which resulted in the deaths of 85 people in 2018. The company obviously didn’t directly kill those individuals but American Greed will probe how what they did or didn’t do led to those fatalities. Naturally there will be questions about PG&E’s criminal liability and how the utility is held accountable for the damage, collateral and otherwise.
It’s a different kind of narrative and another example of the series going for a more “front-page headline” story instead of the financial crimes you haven’t heard about.
It will be interesting to see how much the financial part is included in the episode; that’s what viewers watch American Greed for, but will it be as small as just adding up the cost of PG&E’s missteps, or will we see something more complex like there being specific financial motives for some of these blunders? How much will the episode cover given that PG&E is still in business? This episode could be very broad or it could zero in on certain incidents and offer that in-depth perspective that the series is known for.
While CNBC hasn’t released any material from this American Greed episode yet, you can check out some of the channel’s reporting on PG&E by watching the video below. The American Greed episode airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.
Brittany Frederick has worked 20 years as a professional journalist, reaching millions of readers worldwide with thousands of articles. Her one goal is to meet Jonathan Groff, but she’s sung with Adam Levine and gone 200 MPH with Mario Andretti. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.