By Naomi Klouda
Reality television takes on a new twist when the Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper” show meets in Homer to cross over with the “Deadliest Catch” crew on the Time Bandit.
Picture an episode about a custom-made chopper presented to Capts. Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand and crew. But first, building up to the segment, there’s a whole lot of adventure planned for filming in Homer the first week in April.
“We hope to explore all of Homer. We’ll take ideas,” said “American Chopper” producer Jody Bennett. “We want to ice climb, dog sled, go on glaciers, and the Homer Spit is obviously important; we would like to go on helicopter rides. We’re excited and want to do whatever we can do.”
American Chopper star, Paul Teutul Sr., will be in Homer for the filming, but won’t reveal the chopper he and his crew designed for the “Deadliest Catch” crew. That comes in Seattle on April 9 when stars of the series meet with fans at the Catch Com, a convention.
“Senior,” as Teutul is called to distinguish him from Paul Junior, keeps all the details about his design under wraps while the Homer filming takes place April 4-8.
“It’s a reality show, so whatever happens, happens. The crew hasn’t seen the bike yet,” Bennett said.
What typically happens on the “Chopper” series, in between sulking or otherwise high-spirited antics pitting father and son against one another in the competitive world of bike manufacturing, is a chopper gets designed.
“A company or group with celebrities will want to build a bike. Senior listens to the ideas, and says, ‘OK, I got you,’ and they go back and design the bike, put it together and build it,” Bennett said.
Teutul won’t stand out in Homer too much. He’s a husky biker-looking dude wearing a mustache down to his chin, nothing more exotic than Homer saw last summer when a couple hundred Harley-Davidson riders filled the town at the end of the Hoka Hey Challenge.
And he’s got a gentlemanly side. Last year he traveled to Anchorage for a meet and sit-down talk with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
“She was very gracious,” said Bennett, who was there.
The series centers on the father-son team who manufacture custom motorcycles at Orange County Choppers in Newburgh, N.Y. The contrasting attitudes of the two men often lead to heated exchanges as they meet unusually short deadlines for building distinctive custom choppers.
Originally aired on Discovery Channel in March 2003, in December 2007 the series moved to Discovery’s sister channel, TLC, starting off with an 18-hour marathon. Its first TLC season premiered in January 2008. Season six began in April 2009, but the series was canceled by TLC in February 2010. In July 2010, TLC announced that the Teutuls would return in a new series, “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior,” which begins this spring.
Called a crossover episode, since it’s “Chopper” meets “Catch,” the show should air sometime in the vicinity of May 3, a tight turnaround time after wrapping up filming on April 8.
“Since it’s with ‘Deadliest Catch,’ all sorts of crazy stuff can happen. They might take us fishing. We have a whole lot of ideas,” Bennett said.