Porter Ridge, a new reality show set in rural Spencer, Indiana, is the latest brainchild of Duck Dynasty‘s creator Gurney Productions.
Porter Ridge will premiere on the Discovery Channel at 10:30 p.m., on August 13.
A tight-knit circle of friends in Owen County sought out the limelight of cable television, according to Discovery Channel executive producer Joe Weinstock.
Jeff Watson, known as Jeff the Bear Man because of the eight brown bears he owns, watched an episode of Duck Dynasty and found contact information for that show’s co-creator, Scott Gurney.
“[Jeff Watson] literally cold-emailed [Scott Gurney], saying <<I have some great neighbors who surround me in this little rural community in Southern Indiana. You need to come check them out>>,” Joe Weinstock said.
“You can imagine Scott getting many of these types of emails. For some reason, he responded to this one.”
On Porter Ridge Road, Scott Gurney discovered salvage yard owner Porter, described as a “fast-talking, shirtless, wild man” in Discovery promotional material.
“He does not wear a shirt, and he probably has one of the most beautiful tans known to man,” Joe Weinstock said.
Porter Ridge viewers will meet Dirty Andy, a bearded deal maker, and Elvis Larry, a garbage man who loves to share gossip.
“This is so real, so visceral, so authentic,” Joe Weinstock said.
“You can’t put a better group of characters together. It’s amazing how all these individuals just live by each other.”
While Duck Dynasty is based on the Robertson family, owners of Duck Commander, no cast members of Porter Ridge live in a mansion.
“Money is not the most important object for these individuals,” Joe Weinstock said.
“It’s family, religion and fun.”
In addition to Porter being shirtless and Jeff Watson keeping bears on leashes, Porter Ridge features demolition derbies, pumpkins launched from cannons and rivals who live on nearby Dog Killer Ridge.
Joe Weinstock said Porter Ridge isn’t designed to make Hoosiers look bad.
“When people see the show, I believe they’re going to come away feeling pretty darn good,” said Joe Weinstock, an Oklahoma native who worked for MTV Networks, Spike TV and Gurney Productions before being hired by Discovery in 2012.
“It has a lot of heart. In the end, these neighbors who all unite and live on Porter Ridge Road love each other.”
When MTV aired Buckwild, a Jersey Shore successor set in rural West Virginia, the 2013 show wasn’t well-received in its home state.
“This show plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia,” Senator Joe Manchin said in December, before the first episode aired.
Buckwild ceased production following a cast member’s death. Shain Gandee died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in April after stranding his Ford Bronco in deep mud.
Duck Dynasty, meanwhile, is a runaway hit. The premiere of its third season on cable network A&E attracted 8.6 million viewers in February, making it the year’s No. 1 “nonfiction” cable series.
Porter Ridge will air on 12 consecutive Tuesdays, and the show is expected to receive promotion throughout Shark Week – the signature Discovery Channel programming that begins August 4.
Joe Weinstock said the likelihood of a second season of Porter Ridge should be known after a month of episodes air.
“I feel like this is something really special,” Joe Weinstock said.
“It’s bottled and packaged like no other show you’ve seen.”