Ice Road Truckers, the two-year-old hit U.S. reality television show following truck drivers on the icy winter roads of the Northwest Territories, will finally make its Canadian network debut in March.
Previously seen mainly on the U.S.-based History Channel, Ice Road Truckers will air Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on History Television starting March 4.
A spokeswoman for CanWest Broadcasting, which owns History Television, told CBCNews.ca Friday that the network will air all 13 of the hour-long episodes from the show's first season, in which six truckers braved the Contwoyto ice road from Yellowknife to the territory's diamond mines.
History Television will also air the second season at a later date. The second season follows eight drivers along the Mackenzie River ice road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.
Built atop frozen lakes and permafrost, winter ice roads allow heavy trucks to transport industrial supplies to mines and other development projects in the N.W.T.
The show portrays the ice roads as necessary but fragile, and sometimes risky, travel routes navigated by truck drivers willing to take on sub-zero temperatures and the risk of their trucks breaking through the ice.
While Ice Road Truckers debuted in 2007 on the History Channel in the U.S., Canadian viewers — even those in the N.W.T., where the show is based — have not been able to watch the series on a Canadian network before. Both seasons are available on DVD.
The show's first season attracted 3.4 million viewers in the U.S. alone, making it the History Channel's highest-rated show ever.
It also made minor celebrities out of ice road truck drivers such as Yellowknife's own Alex Debogorski, known for his hearty laugh and gregarious personality. He appears in both seasons of the series.
By the time the series comes to Canada, the Contwoyto ice road will be halfway through another trucking season.
Traffic on the 600-kilometre ice road will start light on Sunday and build up to four trucks every 20 minutes by midweek, officials from the joint venture that operates the road announced Friday.
Traffic on the ice road is expected to be lighter than in previous years, with just under 7,000 loads of fuel and supplies destined for the mines this year. That is down by almost 4,000 loads from the record high set in 2007.