It’s war at A&E, at least it is according to Duane Chapman, better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter. “It really is war,” he said good naturedly. He is talking about the competition between his series, now in its sixth season, and the network’s newcomer, ‘Steven Seagal: Lawman.’ The two have been trading off ratings wins, and Dog admits to feeling uneasy about getting beat. “I’m not supposed to say this, but it freaks me out,” he told Fancast. “I’ve never been challenged. I’ve been champion for the six years I’ve been on this network.”
Dog has never met Seagal either, but he has watched his show, including the premiere episode that drew a large audience – larger than his. “I had this feeling in my bones, in my stomach that I couldn’t stop,” he said. “I got up in the middle of the night and took Nexium (a pill for heartburn relief) and thought, oh my God, what is happening? But then we beat him last Wednesday, so I got the title back. But I was very upset. I wish his show all the best – I just don’t want him beating me.” Fancast chatted with the gravel-voiced and extremely likable bounty hunter from his home in Honolulu, where he lives with his wife, Beth, and their children and grandchildren.
Well, I hope you two get to work it out. Otherwise, how’s your day going?
Pretty good. I was up this morning at three and I still have to do about fourteen interviews on radios across the country. Everybody is snowed in. And Beth is getting a fugitive girl right now, and I’m on the phone talking with you.
Who fixed breakfast?
I haven’t eaten yet.
You’re doing a Christmas special (airing December 23 at 9 PM on A&E) in which you attempt to track down Santa Claus. What’s the deal?
My eight, soon to be nine-year-old son Gary Boy said to us that Santa is a myth, and that Santa is dead. So we began the investigation.
Come on. There is no Santa.
You should watch the show.
Seriously, when did you stop believing in Santa?
I still believe, brother. I still do.
This new season began with your 150th episode. How’d you celebrate?
Actually, we’re celebrating tonight. We’re wrapping the sixth season and starting the seventh. So we’re celebrating all that tonight with a nice dinner.
How would you describe the season you just finished?
It’s just us driving into town and everyone going Dog is here. The fugitives are using more methamphetamine. It’s crazy out there.
In your six seasons, does any one collar stand out as the toughest?
Well we had a girl who had been on the run for eight year. It took us three or four days to find her. That was the last show of this season. It was pretty tough to find her, but, you know, there are a couple of duds every season. We make up for it. They are all crazy. I think these guys are getting nuttier.
Where’d you find the girl?
In a trailer in a really rural part of Colorado.
Do you have any favorite fugitives?
A guy named Bosco. He’s a player, a drug addict, a pimp, and a player. I saw him the other day and he said, “Dog, you have ruined my life of crime.’ I was like, “What?” He said, “I went into Kmart the other day and the lady got on the loudspeaker and said, `It’s Bosco on aisle 11.’’ He said he’s recognized everywhere he goes just from that one episode, show 120 of Dog the Bounty Hunter, by the way.
You know your show that well?
I do, brother.
What’s the secret of your show’s success?
It’s action packed. That’s number one. People also didn’t know bounty hunters really existed, and I think they find it fascinating. And they think it’s compelling. They get into the challenges. And then of course there’s Beth, who is sexy.
Who’s more famous, you or Beth?
Beth. Hands down. She’s way more famous.
What do people want to know about her?
How’d she lose the weight? How can you run in high heels? Are your breasts real?
If she’s more famous, who is smarter, you or Beth?
Me, I’m smarter. She might tell you something else.
What do you guys do to relax?
I watch television and play with the kids.
When you and Beth are in bed at night, who holds the remote control?
We don’t have a TV in the bedroom. But we sit on the couch and watch TV in the front room.
So who holds the remote there?
It depends on the day of the week. But I’m telling you, if I catch her in a weak moment, I take full advantage and watch what I want because when she’s strong, I get beat down. But the other day she was real nice, like she said, “Baby, give me the clicker right now!” My New Year’s resolution is that when she’s nice to me, I’m going to be nice to her.
What do you think of Tiger Woods’ situation?
I think it’s sad. I also think that half the men who are criticizing him would have taken any one of those beautiful women to bed if they had the chance. If one of those women walked up to most men and said, “Hey, I want you right now,” I don’t know of anyone except Billy Graham or Oral Roberts who would say know.
And what about you?
I know if I was in that position I wouldn’t get a second chance. Beth would kill me.
What advice would you give Tiger?
Sounds to me like he’s doing the right thing, taking some time off. Talk about New Year’s resolutions – Tiger Woods is going to have a few, right?
‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ airs Wednesdays at 9 PM on A&E.