With the popularity of reality shows today, many fans struggle with their love of the shows, and the conflicting “reality” that the shows are not always what they appear to be. And, not surprisingly, no one understands this truth better than the shows’ talent. Dave Redmon, formerly a star of the hit History Channel reality shows, Ice Road Truckers and IRT: Deadliest Roads, has been fighting to get an insider’s view of the reality show out into the public view.
“I’m going to put a few things in perspective for people still stuck on the ‘reality’ of reality TV,” Dave says in the opening of a series of videos he recently placed on YouTube. In this exclusive six-part interview series with Huliq, he makes it clear that he is determined to fight what he refers to as the “long arm of The History Channel.”
Dave believes that the reality genre got its foothold during the Writer’s Guild strike. “There was no new content on TV,” he explains. Producers and network executives, he thinks, collectively said, “Mmmmmm … we can grab this and start making these reality shows; we don’t need writers. We can hire these guys to do these shows, and put a whole show together for what it costs to hire one cast member on a regular show.”
Reality shows abound on television today, on a variety of channels. Some give unheard singers a chance at fame and riches; others follow stars, showcasing their daily lives and the many developments, good and bad, they deal with day-to-day; some give a voice to problems faced in society, such as addiction and obesity; and, a large number bring to light various industries that the average person may not have previously given any thought to before becoming fascinated with a weekly soap opera/reality series. Mining, fishing, taxidermy, even bigfoot hunting, all have been subjects of reality shows. In Dave’s case, the subject was his career of 25 years: trucking.
Dave was “discovered” from videos he had placed on YouTube, discussing some of his experiences as a long-time trucker. The History Channel was looking for an explosive personality, he said, to stir the pot, and they found one in him. However, as he soon learned, being himself was not exactly what producers of the show had in mind. Like many forms of entertainment—television, books, movies, plays—for the plot to work and hold the attention of the viewers, there needs to be a variety of personalities involved, very often highlighting the “hero,” who the viewers will cheer for and encourage, and the “villain,” who the viewers can hate and revile. Little did Dave know that he was not simply going to be a pot-stirrer, he was going to become the most hated driver in the IRT line-up.
In Part Two of this exclusive six-part series, Dave begins to explain how producers of reality shows manipulate situations to their own benefit without regard for the truth, and clarifies what really happened in that now-infamous, “Shut up!” scene with Phil on Ice Road Truckers. Part Two will be published on Huliq tomorrow, Jan. 25.
Image provided by David C. Redmon
Video: YouTube, ExtremeTruckerDave