I had a chance to sit down with “Deadliest Catch” captains Johnathan Hillstrand and Scott Campbell Junior during their visit to Los Angeles, and found them to be exactly the way they are on television — talkative, outgoing and, of course, tough as nails.
They both noted that this season of the show has big changes in store in part because of bad weather but, more importantly, a bad fishing season. Tempers flared, especially as fishermen jockeyed for new positions on their boats. As Hillstrand and Campbell explained it, most people are able to go home at the end of a bad day and relax — but fishermen are stuck with co-workers who might make them crazy day in and day out. Fights do break out, and when the crab aren’t showing up in the pots? It’s even worse.
The men also admitted to watching the show for a reason you might not expect — safety. Being able to see what’s happening on the ship from angles they might not otherwise get allows them to tell their crews where they’re getting sloppy and how they can improve next time. This isn’t nitpicking when they’re doing the most lethal job out there. While greenhorns are the most likely to get into trouble, Campbell recalled the death of a crewmate who’d been working boats for almost a decade.
What’s less dangerous but has its own risks is the fact that cameras are running on these boats all day and all night — and invariably a tossed-off comment or a “crab dance” shows up in the final cut. Both captains had a sense of humor about being exposed warts and all, which is what makes the show one of the most engaging in the genre of reality TV.
The premiere of the ninth season of “Deadliest Catch” airs Tues. April 16 at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery Channel. Catch a clip from the show here, too.