Ice road TV series won't base 2nd season in Yellowknife
Show made trucking job look riskier than it is, industry spokesman says
Producers of a documentary television series about ice-road truckers in the Northwest Territories want to shoot a followup, but the group of companies that built the winter road says it won't be part of the second season.
Ice Road Truckers, a series that debuted last year on the U.S.-based History Channel, tracks the adventures of six truck drivers as they haul huge loads of supplies from southern Canada, via Yellowknife, along the Contwoyto ice road.
Most of the Contwoyto ice road is built on frozen lakes and streams and it services the Diavik and Ekati diamond mines, as well as DeBeers' Snap Lake project.
The first season of the series was filmed last winter and began airing June 17, garnering 3.4 million viewers in the United States. The network hailed the series a blockbuster and is now selling a three-disc DVD set of the first season's episodes.
A fan of the show, Erin Sega of New York, said she was attracted to the high-stakes drama behind the truckers' job, as they deal with frigid northern temperatures and risk falling through the ice road.
"It's suspenseful, because you're like, 'Oh my God, he was getting ready to do this big load, he's really tired and we know he can't stop because there have been some repairs on the road.' You know what I mean?" Sega told CBC News.
"So it's kind of like a hook."
Late last year, producers with the History Channel approached representatives of the mining companies that built the Contwoyto road about filming a second season. But they said they are not interested, claiming the network misrepresented their industry by making it look riskier than it really is.
"It's a TV series built around this romantic notion of people making a dash for money and doing it at a very high risk," said Tom Hoefer, a spokesman with Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.
"It's very far, far from the reality of how we operate the road, and so we just didn't see any value in continuing that message."
Hoefer said having the TV cameras trained on the drivers also presented safety issues. The first season showed the drivers hamming it up for constantly running remote cameras attached to their trucks.
"Quite frankly, we thought that there was a safety risk created by having a number of drivers who were constantly under the scrutiny of a camera — basically on stage all the time — as they were driving, and it sort of diverted their attention from the job at hand."
New rules put in place for this year's ice road prohibit drivers from attaching video cameras inside or outside their trucks.
The History Channel is looking at other options, including shooting on some of the ice roads between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.