Programmer Elaine Frontain Bryant has taken on illusionists (CRISS ANGEL MINDFREAK) and ghost hunters (PARANORMAL STATE). Now she reveals why this family of exterminators captured her interest.
How did you find Billy in the first place?
Elaine Frontain Bryant, VP, Non-Fiction & Alternative Programming: Billy and his family business, Vexcon, were seen on an episode of "Dirty Jobs" by September Films, a UK based production company. They signed them up, then brought them over to me.
What makes Billy different from the average exterminator?
EFB: Billy is very different from the average exterminator because he is extremely animal friendly and compassionate. If a critter can be caught and released, instead of "exterminated" he makes that choice every time. Also, he handles much more than average pests like roaches and termites - he has been called out for snakes in houses, alligators in ponds, and a family of possums in walls! He is fearless. In one show, his job was to get thousands of bats out of the holes in a baseball stadium. While other guys might poison them, Billy appreciates their purpose in the ecosystem (they eat their weight in mosquitoes every night), and goes to more effort to relocate them instead.
In addition, when he does need to kill something, like roaches or wasps, he uses a homemade, organic line of spray that is plant based and won't hurt animals or people. I love that he is non-toxic!
How does the Bretherton family factor into the show's equation?
EFB: Well the show is based around Billy going out on jobs, but the family members are all involved in the business. Donnie, Billy's mom, gets the calls and sends Billy out on the jobs. His father, Big Bill, is recovering from a heart attack and it's driving him and Donnie stir crazy being in the office all day when he normally goes in the field with Billy. Billy's brother Ricky goes out in the field on cases with him and is a good support for Billy and Billy's wife, Mary, works in the office. And when families all work together like this, there generally is drama... and we like drama.
What about this family made them seem right for a series?
EFB: The Brethertons are all awesome characters. Everything is right about them for a series... the organic way they work together, the accents and colloquialisms that add regional flavor and color to the show. We also really love the way they are truly helping people who are terrified of something that's gotten into their home. Their actual family working situation has all the hallmarks of a great A&E show.
How does the location play its own role in the show?
EFB: Shreveport, Louisiana is a hotbed for critters and bugs. It's warm and muggy most of the year, so there is plenty of time for bugs and other nasty things to get real big.
Its got poisonous snakes, rodents, alligators and any other creepy crawly things you can imagine in a rural setting. The flavor of the South really comes through in the show as well; it's an area of the country we don't see on TV that often, and that's a lot of fun.