Ryan Seacrest Is No. 1 on THR's Reality Power List
Emmy winner Thom Beers has made a career out of celebrating the blue-collar worker. "They're the lifeline of America," he says. "Guys who go out and get dirty and do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay." His testosterone-laden programs -- which include Discovery's highest-rated series Deadliest Catch and the high-rated History series, Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men -- are the signatures of Original Productions, which Beers formed in 1997 after years as a production executive for Turner Broadcasting and Paramount Syndicated Television. (FremantleMedia acquired a majority stake in the company in 2009.) The latest in his collection of 14 series currently in production, on seven U.S. networks, is Spike TV's Coal, which looks at the lives of West Virginia coal miners and their families. "They're working really small veins, literally 34-36 inches," Beers says. "They're spending their whole days -- so are my crew -- working on their knees. Thank God for technology because small little cameras allow us to get places we never could get to before."