News: Deadliest Catch Editing May Be Questionable

by | April 18, 2008 at 11:43 AM | General

Deadliest Catch? More like Fakiest catch. Hollywood Reporter has uncovered shady editing on the show, chock full of coverage that may have been drawn from dates that don’t coincide with the episodes where they are placed:

Tuesday’s fourth-season premiere of Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” opens during a raging nighttime storm in the Bering Sea. Mammoth waves smash an Alaskan crab fishing boat called the Wizard, sending large swells crashing over its deck. Inside, alarmed crew members discover that their stateroom is flooding with incoming seawater.

The sequence suggests that the fishermen are in danger of sinking as a violent tempest tosses huge waves against the boat.

But here’s the not-so-deadliest catch: The boat flooded in September. The huge storm waves were from October. And a producer may have filmed extra footage to help stitch the two events together.


Pages from a production outline obtained by The Hollywood Reporter suggest that producers of the cable network’s top-rated series may have strayed from reality while editing the harrowing sequence from the show’s record-setting premiere.

The document directs producers of the Emmy-nominated program to patch together a scene of life-and-death peril from different days of filming.

Discovery executives described the outline as an early draft that was dismissed by the show’s production company. The sequence, however, does match what appeared in Tuesday’s episode. The network strongly denies that re-enactment footage is ever used by “Catch,” but it acknowledged that material from separate days of filming were combined to produce the scene in question.

From the outline:

WIZARD ROGUE WAVE: Combine Wizard leak story on 9/26 with the Wizard being hit by a big wave on 10/1 and 10/2. The fiction we are constructing is that the big wave hit the Wizard on their steam up to Dutch — caused a leak in Lenny’s stateroom. In reality these were two separate events. In addition to the original source material, (a producer’s name omitted by THR) shot re-enactment footage.

See the video above for the scene that aired on Discovery.

Such editing and staging tactics are common on reality shows, but Discovery considers “Catch” a documentary and holds the series to the highest standard.

Discovery president and general manager John Ford said the outline was an early draft that did not rise to the level of network inspection. “It’s a rough draft that was rejected,” Ford said after speaking to producer Original Prods.

That said, the scene did combine shots from two different days. The exterior shots showing the Wizard being hit by the waves were filmed from another boat while the Wizard was alone during its actual flooding.