The Hollywood Reporter Unveils 2013 Reality Heat List
This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Reality TV and criminality have had a long and fruitful partnership -- from the ride-along action of Cops to the behind-bars drama of Locked Up -- but now a subgenre is flourishing dedicated to illegal artisanal pursuits.
Shows like Discovery's Moonshiners, centered on a group of white-lightning brewers in Appalachia and the Alcoholic Beverage Control officers on their tails, and Weed Country, a six-part series (also on Discovery) that's set on the California-Oregon border in the marijuana-growing nirvana known as the Emerald Triangle, have seen steady audience growth, with Moonshiners' season-two finale drawing a series-best 3.87 million viewers.
"We're trying to tell a balanced story looking at both sides of a very complicated issue," says Eli Holzman, president of Weed Country studio All3Media America. Of course, producing a series that straddles both sides of the law can be a dicey proposition. "We didn't want to suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a show where someone's call sheet resulted in a bust," says Holzman. "It's a dangerous show to shoot."