Deadliest Catch captain Phil says what Ice Road Truckers “do is puny compared to what we do”

A cast member of the original tough-job reality series, Deadliest Catch, says that the cast members one one of the series’ knock-offs aren’t comparable to his. Phil Harris, who captains the Cornelia Marie, says that the cast of Ice Road Truckers, which like Deadliest Catch is produced by Thom Beers, have “puny” jobs.

“Ice road truckers? I don’t want to take away from those guys, but what they do is puny compared to what we do,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Perhaps as proof of his profession’s risks, he’s still dealing with the aftermath of events that will be shown on tonight’s episode (as a result of an injury sustained on the ship, he “almost died from a pulmonary aneurysm, and the remains of the clot are still life-threatening,” according to the paper). Phil says, “I’m eating massive amounts of medicine. I take them every day and pray.”

Meanwhile, Time Bandit captain Andy Hillstrand told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the series doesn’t give us the whole story. But he’s not blaming editing; instead, he says that Discovery leaves out the most outrageous content. “A lot of stuff, they don’t even show, because it’s like a family channel. You don’t want to destroy a man on national TV,” he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

One thing that wouldn’t destroy him if shown on national TV is his home life. He actually spends his off time on a farm in Indiana where he “train[s] kids and adults to ride and practice natural horsemanship. I got into the whole psychology. Good leadership for horses has parallels with crabbing — knowing when the crew is tired, when to push or not,” he said.

He has writen a book with his brother (and a journalist) that tells some of those stories. A significant part of Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World’s Deadliest Jobs “is set outside the October-to-March crab season, when Johnathan is stranded and isolated on a salmon fishing trip, and Andy can only wait and hope — sharing what his wife feels while he’s at sea,” the paper reports.

Brushes with death standard for ‘Deadliest Catch’ star [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
‘Deadliest Catch’ fishermen pursue TV, books and other opportunities thanks to Discovery Channel [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

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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.