In Depth

The Cable Guys: Thom Beers

Founder, Original Media

As many executives look for new ways to blur the lines between scripted and unscripted, Thom Beers seems determined to put the “real” back in reality TV. He’s done a good job so far by dominating the tough-guy TV genre—action documentaries that allow viewers to witness the worlds that most people would be too scared to explore for real.

TVWeek’s Real Power

His biggest hit, “Deadliest Catch,” helped Discovery Channel shed its good-for-you image as a commercial version of PBS and became the network’s signature series. His “Monster Garage” did the same thing for sister network TLC. And last year, he hopped over to History and scored another blockbuster success with “Ice Road Truckers.” Overall, Mr. Beers has produced a whopping 40-plus series, almost all for cable. He has projects in the works or on the air at A&E, TruTV and Spike.

Mr. Beers’ success caught the eye of producers Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun, who recently teamed with him to land a multiseries deal with NBC. The first project, “World’s Toughest Jobs,” debuted last month to so-so ratings. The middling numbers might be due to the show’s more traditional competition format. Or maybe real men prefer cable.

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