Thom Beers: Making Scouts TV Stars
If you spend much time watching reality TV, you know Thom Beers' work. Since the 1990s, he has produced dozens of TV series, including the very popular Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, and Monster Garage. Most of his work has aired on the Discovery channel, History channel, or A&E, but his latest project, Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?,has appeared on the National Geographic channel.
Like many reality shows, Tougher pits teams of contestants against one another in tests of brains and brawn. This time, however, one team consists of Boy Scouts, while the other team is made up of adults. Some of the adults are Eagle Scouts, some have never donned a Scout uniform, and some fall somewhere in the middle.
Beers himself falls in the middle. "I was three badges short of my Eagle Scout badge, and I know I am not alone," he said. "This series is going to allow people like me one more chance to achieve such an incredible milestone. Plus, it's authentic, has a fun and interesting set of circumstances, and underdog characters with a story to tell. And frankly, who doesn't love the Boy Scouts?"
A native of Batavia, New York, Beers began his career as a stage actor before moving behind the camera. He worked for more than a decade as a production executive and producer for Turner Broadcasting and Paramount Pictures, working on such projects as the award-winning National Geographic Explorer and several Jacques Cousteau specials.
Beers founded Original Productions in 1997 and began creating films about what he knows best: working-class America. While filming crab fishermen in the Bering Sea, he began wondering about the lives of the captains and crew members on fishing vessels. Thus was born Deadliest Catch, Discovery's highest-rated series, which has received eight Primetime Emmy® Awards, including the 2011 Outstanding Reality Program.
In 2009, Beers sold a majority stake in Original Media to FremantleMedia, a deal that freed him to continue traveling the world and telling the stories of working-class heroes. He currently leads FremantleMedia's North American Division.
Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? ended its six-week run on Monday, April 1. Scouting officials hope the show's positive reception will lead to its renewal next year.