My family has been approached twice this summer with interest from different producers to be a part of ranch wife reality shows. I’ve politely answered questions about my life on the ranch, the challenges we face, the role I play in our operation, and my hopes for the future. On both occasions, their interest fizzled following our conversation. When these producers call, I assume they’re looking for a stereotypical hillbilly farmwife, and I like to think I have a little more going for me than wearing bib overalls and acting like a redneck.
Apparently, it just doesn’t make good TV to have a well-behaved family whose members work well together in caring for their animals and tending to the land. And, as one rancher aptly wrote to me in a private email, “Being rejected for reality TV is the best thing that could have happened to you.”
While it was flattering to be considered, and certainly interesting to be interviewed and taped for a potential show, the theatrics and exploitation behind the whole deal are intimidating and probably not worth the hoops one would have to jump through for such an endeavor.
However, a Pennsylvania farm family, the Kings, is braving the reality TV show world. And although I’m skeptical how agriculture might be portrayed in this series, the central focus is on a large family working together to make a living on a farm.
Sure, there is some craziness included in the show. For example, brother Dan has a mohawk, and brother Pete sells produce at the farmer’s markets by attracting the ladies when he takes off his shirt to show off his six-pack abs. Add in the fact that there are 10 children, all boys except for one girl, and you’ve got the dynamics to make an interesting show.
The show will air in August on GACTV. Here is a description of the program:
“Join the King Family of Freedom Farms as they battle the elements — and each other — to provide the Pittsburgh region with the very freshest produce possible. Watch as Joe, the oldest of the 10 King kids, manages brothers Tim, the head of produce, Pete, the "Human Harvester," Dan, the passionate wannabe-partner, and mom Lisa, to make sure the work gets done on a daily basis. From overnight bakery shifts and early-morning picking, to stripping down and selling their wares until sunset, the Kings will lay it all on the line each week to bring their customers fresh, local food – done right. But when you're in business with your family, things are bound to get personal, so these Farm Kings will have to find a way to overcome their differences and balance the business and their family, or see it all come crashing down.”
Since I haven’t seen a full episode yet, my verdict is still out on whether this show is positive or not for the industry. Have you seen a previous episode? If so, what did you think? Do you think farmers and ranchers should participate if asked to be on reality TV? Why or why not? Will you be watching Farm Kings on GACTV this August?
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