Season 9 title card
|Created by||Thom Beers|
|Narrated by||NA: Mike Rowe
EU: Bill Petrie
|Opening theme||"Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||142 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||40–45 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Original Productions
|Original channel||Discovery Channel|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original run||April 12, 2005– present|
Deadliest Catch is a reality television series produced by Original Productions for the Discovery Channel. It portrays the real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab and C. opilio crab fishing seasons.
Deadliest Catch premiered on the Discovery Channel on April 12, 2005 and currently airs in over 150 countries. The first season consisted of ten episodes, with the finale airing on June 14, 2005. Subsequent seasons have aired on the same April to June or July schedule every year since the original 2005 season. On October 17, 2012, the ninth season of Deadliest Catch was announced. Season 9 premiered on April 16, 2013.
- 1 Format
- 2 Production
- 3 Computer generated imagery
- 4 Subject matter
- 5 Theme music
- 6 Vessels
- 7 Episodes
- 8 Awards
- 9 Related extras
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The series follows life on "the vast Bering Sea" aboard six crab fishing boats during two of the dangerous crab fishing seasons, the October king crab season and the January opilio crab (C. opilio; often referred to as "snow crab" or "opies") season. The show emphasizes the real danger on the decks of these boats to the fishermen who ply their trade onboard (and the Discovery Channel camera crews recording their work) as crews duck heavy crab pots swinging into position, maneuver hundreds of pounds of crab across a deck strewn with hazards (i. e., holding tank hatches, uneven surfaces, maintenance access plates, wet decks), and lean over the rails to position pots for launch or retrieval as gale-force winds and high waves constantly lash over the deck. The series also documents the dangers of being on a boat in the Bering Sea, in the midst of some of the coldest and stormiest waters on earth, where even a minor problem may become complex with the nearest port often hundreds of miles away.
Each episode focuses on a story, situation, or theme that occurs on one or more boats, while side stories delve into the backgrounds and activities of one or two crew members, in particular the "greenhorns" (rookie crew members) on several boats. The fleet's captains are featured prominently, highlighting their camaraderie with their fellow captains and relationships with their crews, as well as their competition with other boats in the hunt for crab. Common themes include friendly rivalries among the captains (particularly between Sig Hansen of the Northwestern, and Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand of the Time Bandit), the familial ties throughout the fleet (brothers Sig, Norm, and Edgar Hansen, who own the Northwestern; the Hillstrand brothers and Johnathan's son Scott on the Time Bandit; brothers Keith and Monte Colburn of the Wizard), the stresses of life on the Bering Sea, and the high burnout rate among greenhorns.
Because Alaskan crab fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, the U.S. Coast Guard rescue squads stationed at Integrated Support Command Kodiak (Kodiak, Alaska) and their outpost on St. Paul Island, near the northern end of the crab fishing grounds, are frequently shown rescuing crab boat crew members who fall victim to the harsh conditions on the Bering Sea. The USCG rescue squad was featured prominently during the episodes surrounding the loss of F/V Big Valley in January 2005, the loss of F/V Ocean Challenger in October 2006, and the loss of F/V Katmai in October 2008. Original Productions keeps a camera crew stationed with the Coast Guard during the filming of the show.
The show has no on-camera host. Instead, a narrator provides commentary connecting the storylines as the show shifts from one boat to another. Discovery Channel voice artist Mike Rowe narrates the action for North American airings; UK voice artist Bill Petrie, reading from a slightly altered script, offers a regionally familiar accent for the English speaking viewers of the show in Europe. The show transitions between boats using a mock-up radar screen that shows the positions of the boats relative to one another and to the two ends of the fishing grounds, St. Paul Island to the north and Dutch Harbor to the south.
Rowe was originally supposed to be the on-camera host as well and he appeared in taped footage as himself during the first season of shooting. As filming of the first season was nearing completion, Discovery greenlighted production on another Rowe project, Dirty Jobs, under the condition that Rowe choose only one show on which to appear on camera. As Rowe relates the story, Discovery told him that the two shows would be airing back-to-back on the same night, thus, "We can't have you telling us stories about six dead fishermen on camera and making a fart joke with your arm in a cow's ass." Most of the footage Rowe shot during the first season became part of the first season's "Behind the Scenes" episode. After the third season of Deadliest Catch, Rowe began hosting a post-season behind-the-scenes miniseries entitled After the Catch, a roundtable discussion featuring the captains relating their experiences filming the preceding season's episodes. A season 3 episode of Dirty Jobs (2007-2008) saw Rowe return to Alaska to take part in a job tangentially related to the fishing industry — diesel fuel spill cleanup. Another episode that same season featured Rowe at work on board the F/V Legacy doing trawl fishing and at-sea shellfish and other seafood processing, during which Rowe made numerous references to the crab fishing of Deadliest Catch.
Changes required for parental guidance ratings
Because Deadliest Catch is essentially a filmed record of everyday life in a stressful working environment, the producers have to resort to censoring gestures and language that would be deemed inappropriate for television audiences. For example, under the U.S. Television Ratings system, Deadliest Catch is rated TV-14 with inappropriate language ("L") as a highlighted concern. For visual disguise of such items as finger gestures, bloody injuries, or non-featured crew member anonymity, the producers use the traditional pixelization or simple blurring. However, due to the sheer volume of profanities used in the course of everyday crew member conversation, the producers occasionally employ alternate methods of censoring profanities, using sound effects such as a ship's horn, the "clang" of a hatch door, or a burst of radio static in place of the traditional "bleep".
The Behind the Scenes special provided insight on how the program is produced. A two-person TV crew lives on each boat profiled. They use handheld Sony HVR-Z5U and HVR-Z7U HDV cameras to shoot most of the series (one on the main deck, one in the wheelhouse). Additional footage is provided by four stationary cameras that are permanently mounted around the ship and are constantly recording. Shots from vantage points outside the boat are accomplished through a variety of methods, including the use of a helicopter for footage near the harbor and a cameraman on a chase boat (in season 1, the main chase boat was the Time Bandit). The crew also makes use of underwater cameras, including one attached to a crab pot for a "crab's eye view" of the pot being retrieved in season 2, one mounted in the main crab tank on the Northwestern beginning in season 2, and one mounted to a submersible watercraft beginning in season 3.
Although the equipment is carefully waterproofed, the cameras are routinely damaged by corrosion, ice and accidents.
The camera crews
Shooting episodes of Deadliest Catch is a dangerous occupation for the camera crews on board the boats. In the early seasons, when many of the camera crews had little or no experience on crab boats, they frequently ran into dangers not normally encountered when shooting a documentary. Northwestern captain Sig Hansen told talk show host Jimmy Kimmel that he saved a cameraman's life during the first season, screaming at him to get out of the way just seconds before a 900-pound crab pot swinging from a crane crossed the space where the cameraman was standing. In another incident, showcased on the behind the scenes special, an inattentive cameraman had his leg fall through an open hatch on the deck of one of the boats when he unwittingly stepped into the hole, suffering three broken ribs (and, according to the cameraman, having to buy a case of beer for the entire crew as per tradition on crab boats).
Film crews interacting with boat personnel
Personal and sensitive situations
Interactions between the film crew and the fishermen appear in the show occasionally. During an episode of season 4, Wizard captain Keith Colburn demanded that cameras be turned off when he got into a heated argument with his brother Monte. The cameras were turned off, but the Colburns neglected to remove their wireless mics and the subsequent exchange was recorded and featured in the episode. Also in season 4, Cornelia Marie Captain Phil Harris asked the cameraman filming him not to tell anyone else about his injuries, for fear it would stall his fishing. Later on, crew member and later acting captain Murray Gamrath, concerned for Phil's well-being, asked a cameraman to keep an eye on him and to report any problem. During season 5, the camera crew on the Northwestern were requested not to film crew member Jake Anderson being informed of his sister's death, which the camera crew honored.
The death of Captain Phil Harris
On January 29, 2010, as Original Productions' crews shot footage for season 6 of the Cornelia Marie offloading C. opilio crab at St. Paul Island, Phil Harris, who had earlier complained of being excessively tired, went to his stateroom to retrieve pain medicines and collapsed. Second-year Engineer Steve Ward discovered him on the floor of his stateroom, conscious but unable to move his left leg or his left hand. Ward immediately got Phil's sons Josh and Jake to come to his stateroom while he called for paramedics. According to Thom Beers, producer and creator of Deadliest Catch, Harris insisted that the camera crews continue to film him. "We want to remember Phil as who he was," Beers told Zap2it.com writer Kate O'Hare. "We want to remember all the dynamics, but at the same time the guy was insistent when we were doing this, saying, 'Dude, you've got to. We've got to have an end to the story [about the strength and resiliency of familial bonds, especially the father/son bond]. You want to film this, film this.'" Beers said he honored Harris' wishes and continued to shoot as Harris was airlifted to Anchorage, Alaska, where doctors performed emergency brain surgery to relieve the pressure building up in the cranial vault and avoid further brain damage. Harris spent eleven days in ICU before succumbing to complications from his stroke on February 9, 2010.
Computer generated imagery
Some shots that would be difficult to capture with cameras are computer-generated imagery (CGI):
- CGI was used in the first two seasons, and again in season 5 after the sinking of the Katmai, to demonstrate how the severely cold water of the Bering Sea causes men without survival suits to drown within minutes, showing the decrease in blood flow and the gradual failure of vital organs.
- In the second episode of the first season, CGI was used to show how a crab pot works.
- In the early episodes of season 2, CGI was used to show how the overloaded deck of the Big Valley caused her to sink.
- In season 3, CGI was used to show sea lions playing with crab pot buoys, as what was believed to happen with Northwestern's crab pots before opilio season that year.
- In season 4, episode 6, CGI was used to show how the falling cable of the picking hook of the Time Bandit would have killed greenhorn Shea Long had it failed a few seconds later when a pot was attached to it.
- In season 4, episodes 9 & 10 used CGI to show how ice build-up would prove hazardous to the Coast Guard helicopter if its deicing systems failed. Also, how a rope that had fallen into the female crab release hole could get wrapped around the propellor and pull the pot across the deck, possibly crushing a man.
- In season 5, CGI was used to illustrate the sinking Katmai deploying liferafts amidst battering waves.
- In season 5, episode 8, CGI was used to show how a tarp would protect the Wizard's pots from freezing.
- In season 6, episode 6, CGI was used to illustrate the grounding of a vessel in False Pass.
- In season 6, episode 15, CGI was used to illustrate the (failing) hydraulic system on the Kodiak.
- In season 7, episode 11, CGI was used to illustrate an anchor cable snapping during deployment on the Time Bandit.
Sig Hansen, captain of the Northwestern, serves as a technical advisor to the series' producers.
On September 28, 2010, it was reported that three of the principal captains featured throughout the series' run, the brothers Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand and Sig Hansen, would not return to the show due to litigation initiated by Discovery Communications involving the Hillstrands. On October 8, 2010, it was announced that the three captains had reached an agreement with Discovery and would return for the seventh season.
Dangers of commercial fishing
Commercial fishing has long been considered one of the most dangerous jobs in America. In 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked commercial fishing as the job occupation with the highest fatality rate with 141.7 per 100,000, almost 75% higher than the fatality rate for pilots, flight engineers and loggers, the next most hazardous occupations. However, Alaskan king crab fishing is considered even more dangerous than the average commercial fishing job, due to the conditions on the Bering Sea during the seasons they fish for crab. According to the pilot episode, the death rate during the main crab seasons averages out to nearly one fisherman per week, while the injury rate for crews on most crab boats is nearly 100% due to the severe weather conditions (frigid gales, rogue waves, ice formations on and around the boat) and the danger of working with such heavy machinery on a constantly rolling boat deck. Alaskan king crab fishing reported over 300 fatalities per 100,000 as of 2005, with over 80% of those deaths caused by drowning or hypothermia.
Rationalization: derby vs. quota
The series' first season was shot during the final year of the derby style king crab fishery. The subsequent seasons have been set after the change to a quota system as part of a process known as "rationalization". Under the old derby style, a large number of crews competed with each other to catch crab during a restrictive time window. Under the new Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) system, established owners, such as those shown on the series, have been given quotas which they can fill at a more relaxed pace. In theory, it is intended to be safer, which was the main rationale for the change in the fishing rules. The transition to the quota system was also expected to increase the value of crab, by limiting the market of available crab. An influx of foreign crab negated some of these gains during the 2006 season. The rationalization process put many crews out of work because the owners of many small boats found their assigned quotas too small to meet operating expenses. During the first season run under the IFQ system, the fleet shrank from over 250 boats to about 89 larger boats with high quotas.
Commercials for season 3 shown on the Discovery Channel family of networks featured an updated and faster version of the hit Styx song "Come Sail Away", performed by the punk rock cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Commercials for Season 7 featured the song "Ain't No Grave", by Johnny Cash.
Incidental music used in the episodes themselves is provided by Amygdala Music, a music production group run by Leslie Beers, wife of Deadliest Catch creator/producer Thom Beers.
In addition to incidental music, entire compositions written and performed by well-known recording artists are also added as "episode themes." An example would be the song "Always a Rebel," written, performed, and produced by folk-rock recording artist Vinnie James, at the request of the show's producer, Matt Renner, when the two met in Dutch Harbor during the filming of the 2008 season of Deadliest Catch. The song appeared as the theme track to "The Final Hour," which was the season finale for the 2008 season. Lines of the song were inspired by accounts of life on the Bering Sea by Josh Harris of the Cornelia Marie and series director of photography Zac McFarlane.
The song "Between" by singer/songwriter Vienna Teng was used on a few episodes during season 2.
The final four minutes of the season 6 episode "Redemption Day" features Johnny Cash's rendition of Sheryl Crow's "Redemption Day"; the song plays over a montage of the crab vessels fighting through a massive Arctic squall and of Josh Harris sitting in a waiting room with friends as doctors struggle to revive Phil Harris, whose health has suddenly taken a turn for the worse. As Josh calls his brother Jake to deliver the news that "we lost Dad, dude", the song's final chorus—"Freedom"—repeats solemnly four times and fades out over a simple shot of the Bering Sea raging. The instrumental version of the song was used on Discovery Canada.
The show is shot aboard various fishing vessels, some of which change from season to season.
Featured fishing vessels
|Aleutian Ballad||Jerry "Corky" Tilley||2, 3|
|Arctic Dawn||Ole Helgevold||Pilot|
|Big Valley1||Gary Edwards||1 (Opilio season)|
|Billikin||Jeff Weeks||1 (Opilio season)|
|Cape Caution||Bill "Wild Bill" Wichrowski||9|
|Cornelia Marie||Phil Harris2||1 (Opilio season), 2, 3, 4, 5 (start of King Crab season, Opilio Season), 6 (King Crab season, start of Opilio season); After the Catch 1, 2, 3|
|Murray Gamrath||4 (End of Opilio season), 5 (King Crab season); "After the Catch" 3|
|Derrick Ray||6 (End of Opilio season), 7 (King Crab season); After the Catch 5|
|Tony Lara||7 (Opilio season)|
|Early Dawn||Allen Oakley||3|
|Farwest Leader||Greg Moncrief||3|
|Fierce Allegiance||Tony LaRussa3||Pilot, 1 (King crab season)|
|Incentive||Harry Lewis||5 (Opilio season); After the Catch 3|
|Kiska Sea||Mike Wilson||9 (Opilio season)|
|Kodiak||Bill "Wild Bill" Wichrowski||6, 7, 8; After the Catch 5, 6|
|Lady Alaska||Pete Liske||1 (Opilio season)|
|Lisa Marie||Wade Henley||5 (King crab season)|
|Lucky Lady||Vince Shavender||1 (King crab season)|
|Maverick||Rick Quashnick||1 (Opilio season), 2, 3 (Opilio season); After the Catch 1|
|Blake Painter||3 (King crab season)|
|North American||Sten Skaar||4|
|Northwestern||Sig Hansen||Pilot, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (King, Opilio); "After the Catch 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Edgar Hansen||9 (Blue Crab)|
|Ramblin' Rose||Elliott Neese||7, 8; After the Catch 5, 6|
|Retriever||Jim Stone||1 (Opilio season)|
|Saga||Roger Strong||Pilot, 1 (Opilio season)|
|Seabrooke||Scott "Jr." Campbell||7, 8, 9; "After the Catch 5, 6|
|Sea Star||Larry Hendricks||Pilot, 1, 3, 4, 5 (chase boat); After the Catch 1, 2, 3|
|Time Bandit5||Johnathan Hillstrand (King crab season)
Andy Hillstrand (Opilio season)
|2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; "'After the Catch 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Trailblazer6||Wayne Baker||3, 5|
|Vixen7||Shaun Miles||1 (Opilio season)|
|Western Viking||Coleman Anderson||1 (King crab season)|
|Wizard||Keith Colburn||3 (King Crab season), 4, 5, 6 (King crab season), 7, 8, 9; "After the Catch 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Monte Colburn||3 (Opilio season), 6 (Bairdi season)|
^1 During shooting of the first season of Deadliest Catch, the F/V Big Valley sank on January 15, 2005, sometime after 0734 Alaska Standard Time when the Coast Guard first detected her EPIRB signal. Five members of the six man crew perished; three were never found. Cache Seel was the only survivor. Discovery Channel camera crews on the Maverick and Cornelia Marie captured the first footage of the debris field, confirming that the boat had capsized and gone down. The search for the ship is featured in the episode "Dead of Winter".
^2 Harris was forced to leave during the C. opilio season in season 4 due to what turned out to be a pulmonary embolism, and his medical issues prevented him from going out during the king crab portion of season 5. Murray Gamrath relieved him as captain in both seasons. A camera crew stayed with Harris both when he was hospitalized in season 4 and after his forced departure at the start of season 5. He continued to make occasional appearances during season 5. Harris suffered a massive stroke on January 29, 2010, during filming of the C. opilio season for season 6 and died on February 9, 2010, from complications. Derrick Ray took over as captain for the remainder of the season.
^5 The F/V Time Bandit can be seen in the background of the behind the scenes episode serving as the main chase vessel during season 1, though she is never officially identified during the season itself.
^6 The F/V Trailblazer was seen in the season 3 episodes "Man Overboard!" and "Cheating Death". She was also featured in the fifth season.
^7 The F/V Vixen did have a film crew on the boat; none of the footage aired in the U.S. version, but did air in some of the international editions.
Fishing vessels with no embedded film crew
|Alaska Ranger||Took on water in her rudder room and stern and sank on March 23, 2008. The forty-seven people on board were forced into the water; all but five were rescued.||4|
|Alaskan Leader||Called Coast Guard when crewmember suffered heart attack. A nighttime rescue attempt by a Coast Guard helicopter was unsuccessful, and had to abort. A second rescue attempt the next day was successful. The deckhand, Chad Smith, 40, was medevaced to Anchorage via Saint Paul, and ultimately survived.||6|
|Alaskan Monarch||Ran aground at St. Paul Island due to ice in 1990. All of the crew was saved, but the boat was destroyed.||2, 3|
|Amatuli||Chase boat, shown in behind the scenes special||7|
|American Star||Caught fire and ran aground in January 2000; all five crewmen plus one dog were rescued.||1|
|Beauty Bay||Fisherman medevaced by Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk after suffering hand injury from fish grinder.||9|
|Big Valley||Sank at the start of the 2005 C. opilio season; five of six crew died. Coast Guard investigation later determined that the boat was severely overloaded, carrying 30% more pots than normal, causing her to tip over during a storm the morning of January 15, 2005.||1|
|Carly Renee||Cod fishing vessel, capsized and partially sank 22 miles from Dutch Harbor at start of 2009 King Crab season; four-man crew abandoned ship and rescued by a "good samaritan vessel", the Guardian. The Carly Renee eventually ran aground on a nearby island and was left for junk.||6|
|Galaxy||Caught fire at sea during 2002 king crab season. All 23 crew members were rescued by Coast Guard; three men later died from injuries sustained during the fire.||1|
|Guardian||Rescued 4-man crew of the Carly Renee after they abandoned ship.||6|
|Icy Mist||Took on water and grounded on western shore of Akutan Island; four-man crew evacuated to shore and rescued by Coast Guard.||5|
|Jennifer A||Partner boat of Time Bandit. Pranked by Time Bandit with a flour pot during the season 3 wrap-up.||3|
|Katmai||A head and gut fishing vessel capsized and sank in the Aleutian Islands early in the morning on Wednesday, October 22, 2008. Only four of the 11 crew members were saved; two were never found. One of the survivors, the vessel's captain, appears on After the Catch 3.||5|
|Master Carl||Sank in April 1976 returning home from tanner crab season. All four crew members abandoned ship and made it into the life raft, but only two were found alive.||1|
|Nuka Island||Hit by large rogue wave north of St. Paul island, temporarily disabled.||5|
|Ocean Challenger||Four-man crew abandoned ship as boat capsized and took on water in October 2006. One survivor; two bodies found; one body lost. Debris field, EPIRB, and an empty life raft found along with an empty survival suit indicated vessel ultimately sank. Rescue efforts were featured in the season 3 episodes "A Tragic Beginning" and "The Unforgiving Sea".||3|
|Raven||Capsized. All crew rescued by Coast Guard. Later towed to Dutch Harbor and repaired.||pilot|
|Roaming McGee||Built in the early 1980s, this craft was seen briefly at the docks in the season 3 episode "The Hammer and Ice".||3|
|Rosie G||Sank in 1997. Six-man crew escaped in a life raft and were rescued by the Coast Guard.||1|
|Sea Rover||Assisted in the search for Big Valley.||1|
|Sandra Five||Jake Anderson was transferred to Sandra Five from Northwestern to go to Saint Paul Island so he could fly home to his family after his sister died.||5|
|Shaman||Man fell overboard while on the pot stack in 2004 and drowned.||pilot|
|St. Patrick||Tipped 90 degrees and took on water in engine compartment in December 1981. Eleven-man crew tied themselves together and leapt into the sea when the life boat was lost. Only two men survived. It was later discovered that the boat had righted herself after the crew abandoned ship; the vessel was found adrift by the Coast Guard and towed into port still afloat before she finally sank while moored in port.||1|
|Sultan||Man fell overboard and drowned, becoming the sixth fatality within the first 24 hours of the 2005 opilio season.||1|
|Trailblazer6||Man fell overboard while tying pot stacks in October 2006; rescued by Time Bandit.||3|
|Unidentified vessel||Shadowed the Wizard and was accused of tampering with the Wizard's pots. The vessel is shown on screen but its markings are digitally obscured.||4|
(Pure Car Carrier)
|Rolled over during ballast exchange operations off the Aleutian Islands, and was towed into Dutch Harbor in the first episode of Season 3||3|
|Offloaded the opilio from the Time Bandit, anchored at St. Paul in the middle of a dangerous ice pack.||3|
|Processor for the Cornelia Marie, anchored at Dutch Harbor for king crab off load||2, 4 & 5|
|Crewmember med-evaced by United States Coast Guard rescue helicopter.||4|
(U.S. Coast Guard cutter)
|Assisted in the search and rescue efforts when the Katmai sank.||5|
(U.S. Coast Guard cutter)
|Conducted an at-sea boarding of the Northwestern. Misidentified as "Bertoff" in caption of radio transmission.||9|
|Crewmember critically injured with a broken neck and smashed leg, medivaced by Coast Guard rescue helicopter.||7|
(U.S. Coast Guard cutter)
|Conducted an at-sea boarding of the Rollo.||2|
(U.S. Coast Guard cutter)
|Assisted in search and rescue efforts when the Ocean Challenger sank.||3|
|MV Overseas Joyce
(U.S.-flag Pure Car Carrier)
|Witnessed sinking of Ocean Challenger, unable to render aid.||3|
|Suffered an engine room fire at the start of the opilio season, forcing the crab boat crews to suspend fishing or look for bairdi crab. Towed back to Dutch Harbor and repaired.||3|
(Alaska Marine Enforcement Section Patrol Vessel)
|Assisted in search and rescue efforts when the Big Valley sank, and recovered a crew member's body.||1|
As of the end of season 5 in 2009, a total of 69 episodes of Deadliest Catch have been shown, not counting the pilot series America's Deadliest Season, which had four episodes. The show draws consistently high ratings for Discovery Channel; season 3 attracted more than 49 million viewers over the course of the season and over 3 million viewers per first-run episode, making it one of 2007's most successful programs on cable TV.
Overall ratings for season 6 exceeded season 5's by more than 10%; as a result, Deadliest Catch regularly wins its U.S. prime time telecast timeslot (Tuesdays, 9:00-10:00 p.m. EST). Ratings for the season opener "Slow Burn" drew a record 4.6 million viewers; on June 22, 2010, "Blown Off Course", the first of five episodes that dealt with Phil Harris's stroke and its impact, drew 5.2 million viewers, more than 10% over "Slow Burn". On July 13, 2010, the episode "Redemption Day", which dealt with the death of Harris at its close, set another record audience for the show with 8.5 million viewers, making the episode the third-most-viewed broadcast in Discovery Channel's history.
Deadliest Catch was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards for the 2007 television season. The series itself was nominated for Outstanding Nonfiction Series; the third season episode "The Unforgiving Sea" received nominations for Outstanding Cinematography For Nonfiction Programming, Outstanding Picture Editing For Nonfiction Programming, and Outstanding Sound Mixing For Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-camera). In 2012, the series won two of its three Emmy nominations for the eighth season episode "I Don't Wanna Die".
The show was created as a regular series after two well-received pilots about Alaskan crabbing were produced by Thom Beers for the Discovery Channel.
The first pilot was a one-hour documentary entitled Deadliest Job in the World, which appeared in 1999. The show, which started with the sinking of the Rosie G (5 on board, all rescued alive), followed the Fierce Allegiance through the 1999 opilio crab season.
The second pilot was a three-part miniseries entitled America's Deadliest Season, which premiered on July 18, 2004, and covered the 2003-04 king and opilio crab seasons. The miniseries followed the vessels Northwestern, Erla-N and Sea Star during king crab, and Erla-N, Saga and Arctic Dawn during opilio crab. The series also features several crises, including the half-capsized Raven (5 on board, all rescued alive), man-overboard calls from Shaman (recovered dead) and Saga (greenhorn Kevin Davis, rescued alive), and the constant threat of cold water and freezing spray.
Beers did the voiceover narration for both series. Discovery picked up the show and ordered an 8-episode season to premiere in 2005. Beers turned the narration duties over to fellow Discovery Channel voice artist Mike Rowe, allowing Beers to continue working on new show development through his production company, Original Productions.
After the Catch
After the Catch is a roundtable documentary-style television mini-series that follows the captains from Deadliest Catch when they're not fishing. The captains and crew members swap stories about the experiences and sights while fishing the Bering Sea. The spin-off series is produced in partnership with Original Productions and Silent Crow Arts. The first season aired in 2007, filmed at the Lockspot Cafe, a bar in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, hosted by Deadliest Catch narrator Mike Rowe. After the Catch II aired in 2008, filmed at Pratty's Bar in Gloucester, Massachusetts and hosted by Rowe. The third season, titled After the Catch III, aired in 2009 and was filmed at RTs Longboard Bar and Grill in San Diego with Cash Cab's Ben Bailey hosting. After the Catch IV aired in 2010, and was filmed at the Blue Nile bar in New Orleans, with Rowe returning as host.
The After the Catch miniseries was one of Discovery Channel's highest rated miniseries in 2007 and spawned several additional after-the-series type follow-up documentaries such as Everest: After the Climb, the 2007 follow-up to Everest: Beyond the Limit.
The Bait is a "pre-game" roundtable documentary-style television mini-series that previews the 9th season of Deadliest Catch. The captains swap stories about the off-season and hints on what the viewers can expect in the upcoming season. The spin-off series is produced in partnership with Original Productions and Silent Crow Arts. The first episode, "Opening Day: King Crab", aired on April 16, 2013, filmed in Dutch Harbor, hosted by Sig Hansen, Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand, and Keith Colburn, with narration by Deadliest Catch narrator Mike Rowe.
In April 2008, Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand, co-captains of the Time Bandit, with Malcolm MacPherson, released a book titled Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World's Deadliest Jobs (ISBN 978-0345503725) on their experiences as crab fishermen.
Also in April 2008, Discovery Channel released the book Deadliest Catch: Desperate Hours (ISBN 978-0696239427). Edited by Larry Erikson, the book contains true stories of life and death at sea, as related by the captains and deckhands featured on the series.
In December 2009, Travis Arket, deckhand of the North American, released a book titled Deadliest Waters: Bering Sea Photography (ISBN 978-1935359210). This book is the first photography collection to be published about Bering Sea crab fishing, and includes many people from Deadliest Catch.
In March 2010, Sig Hansen, captain of the Northwestern, released the book North by Northwestern: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters (ISBN 978-0312591144), co-written with author Mark Sundeen. The book details the Hansen family's history and that of Norwegian Americans in the fishing industry of the Pacific Northwest.
In February 2008, Sig Hansen and Liquid Dragon Studios announced the upcoming release of a video game for Xbox 360 and PC inspired by the Deadliest Catch series entitled Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm. Liquid Dragon designers spent time with the Hansens on the Northwestern in the safety of Dutch Harbor and out on the Bering Sea to give them a sense of the real conditions that needed to be duplicated in the game. The game itself features the Northwestern, Cornelia Marie, and Sea Star as crab boats that can be chosen by the player, along with the Bering Star and the Shellfish. On June 17, 2008, the game was released in stores around North America.
- Flying Wild Alaska
- Gold Rush (TV series)
- Great Lake Warriors
- Ice Pilots
- Ice Road Truckers
- Lobster Wars
- Lobstermen: Jeopardy at Sea
- Swords: Life On the Line
- Whale Wars
- Wicked Tuna
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