NBC orders three Deadliest Catch-style reality shows

The production company behind the compelling and real reality series Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers will produce a two- or three-hour block of similar reality programming for NBC. That will be filled by “three separate 10-episode series” that probably won’t debut “until the third quarter of 2008,” The New York Times reports.

Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun’s production company “has sealed a deal with NBC to program a nonscripted block of programming” that will be produced by “nonfiction producer Thom Beers,” Variety reports. “As part of the programming block, NBC has already ordered three series from BermanBraun and Beers’ Original Prods. label and has at least three more from the companies on tap.”

While no details about those series have been released, Variety says “it’s believed that the shows will be similar in concept to ‘Deadliest Catch,’ …[and] many of Beers’ other shows, including ‘Ice Road Truckers.'” The shows could air Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.

NBC’s decision to order a block of reality programming like this “is not related to the current strike by Hollywood writers,” according to the Times, “but the background forces are somewhat similar as networks struggle to revise their financial formulas to face a future of diminishing ratings and growing uncertainties about how the Internet will figure in viewers’ choices.” These shows “are strikingly cheap to produce by network standards. Shows like ‘Ice Road Truckers’ cost about well under $500,000 an hour, a modest figure next to a typical cost of about $3 million for an hourlong scripted network series. Conventional network reality shows are also much more expensive at $1.5 million to $2 million an hour,” the Times says.

NBC to Pay for Blocks of Programs [New York Times]
BermanBraun pacts for reality block [Variety]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.