In a Flyover State: Steal This Idea: The Redneck Channel

I just got back from the annual fishing trip to Sitka, Alaska, with the father-in-law and the redneck brother-in-law, Mark. And this year, Mark brought along his buddy Joe, who is so much of a redneck that he makes Mark look like a fruit-flavored-vodka-drinking liberal from Hollywood.

Why This Matters


9–11 a.m.

Two hours of shows about men (and the occasional woman) in camouflage going into the woods and shooting large animals with a rifle or bow and arrow, then hugging each other a little more tightly than you’d expect. You can find it on places like Versus, The Sportsman Channel and The Outdoor Channel. In our family, we call it “Huntin’ Porn.”

11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Two hours of shows about men sitting on boats catching big fish, then hugging a little more tightly than you’d expect. See above for the rest, but it’s called “Fishin’ Porn.”

1 p.m.

Watching cars turn left for a few hours is a favorite of this demo, and will gain popularity as long as car owners keep putting drivers in headlocks and punching them, as happened a couple of weeks ago. Have at it, boys.

4 p.m.

This demo largely has no interest in fair or balanced, and they love the Fox News star.

5 p.m.

Professional bull riding, in which cowboys try to stay on a really pissed-off animal for eight seconds. The only programming on the Redneck Channel in which viewers cheer for the animal to maul the human, not the other way around.

6 p.m.

Follows a bunch of alligator hunters in Louisiana who have accents so thick the show uses subtitles. As my Cajun parter-in-crime, Multichannel News editor-in-chief Mark Robichaux, said to me, “It doesn’t exactly put us in the best light. Be gentle.”

7 p.m.

It’s a reality show about taxidermy. No, seriously.

8 p.m.

What happens if my brother-in-law did to me what he really wanted to after I hauled in a monster salmon.

9–11 p.m.

In which a minimum of 25 people must die, and there can be no stupid B-story focusing on a love angle of any kind.

11 p.m.

A highlight show featuring clips from Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and MSNBC primetime shows. Intended to get true rednecks pissed off enough that they smash their TV, and when they go to replace it, all the Sony ads persuade them to buy one of their new sets.

Midnight–9 a.m.

Think Girls Gone Wild, not kitchen stuff. Oh, except for those really sharp knives if they can slice up steaks (or cooked snake) real good.

I just got back from the annual fishing trip to Sitka, Alaska, with the father-in-law and the redneck brother-in-law, Mark. And this year, Mark brought along his buddy Joe, who is so much of a redneck that he makes Mark look like a fruit-flavored-vodka-drinking liberal from Hollywood.

Now, if you haven’t spent a lot of time around this kind of crew, let me set your mind at ease right now: the term redneck is not an insult. Card-carrying rednecks wear the moniker louder and prouder than the wind chime made of empty beer cans clanging from the overhang of their double-wide trailer. Plus, I’m kind of a redneck-intraining, to the sheer horror of many of those around me.

Anyway, the basic day on our trip goes like this: wake up at 4:30 a.m., on the boat by 5:30, fishing by 6:30, first beers opened by 8:30 (which is 12:30 p.m. New York time, so it’s OK), off the boat and back to the lodge by 4:30 p.m., happy hour(s) until dinner, then post-dinner happy hour(s), then watch TV in our cabin until we pass out—um, I mean fall asleep.

But even given so unyielding a schedule, I was able to work out an idea I have had for a while about a new cable channel. Instead of writing about it, I probably should just go start it because I think it could work. But I’m pretty lazy—especially after that week—so whoever wants to steal this one, it’s yours. Just send me a cool branded T-shirt when it launches.

Believe me, when you are sitting at a lodge full of a certain type of people— ones that comes from all over the country, by the way—you can see some trends. For instance, doctors who treat lip and gum cancer are going to be driving nice cars for a while, because chewing tobacco is still the breakfast of choice for many.

But I also watched the TV viewing habits of these folks, and bundled together, it confirmed for me one beautiful concept: The Redneck Channel.

Here’s the idea: There is a very, very large demographic that watches the same kind of shows. Most rednecks love to hunt, but why should they have to hunt all over the dial for the shows they like on different channels? Besides, when each hand is holding a Coors Light can—one for drinking and the other for spitting tobacco into—how the hell can you hold a remote control? That can only lead to the unspeakable nightmare of taking a sip out of the wrong can.

So, I want to put all the shows targeting this demo on one channel. The programming will be largely acquisitions at the beginning, and they will come from all over the dial. Rather than talking about it, just take a look at a typical Saturday lineup. We’ll start at 9 a.m., because the only time a true redneck is up early on a Saturday is to go hunting or fishing, so there’s no point in starting before then anyway.

There you have it, the Redneck Channel. Put it together, get it on the air, commence the banjo soundtrack and start printing your money.

Friendly warming: If you do steal this idea, you have to give me the rights to produce the first original show. Here’s the pitch: a Jew from Minnesota goes to a tiny fishing village in Alaska with a group of rednecks, and he hauls in a monster 45-pound Alaskan King Salmon that has the entire lodge buzzing, and his brother-in-law scowling with jealousy. Luckily for me, this is a reality show pitch. The brother-in-law, however, will have to spend the rest of his life wishing it were fantasy.

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