Being a fisherman off the coast of Newfoundland is a dangerous career. Being injured by machinery or a sharp object is always a concern. If something bad happens, you might be hours away from shore. And if things go really bad, you’re dead.
Filming what goes on aboard a fishing boat off the coast of Newfoundland is just as dangerous. Just ask showrunner Maria Knight, whose small team captures dramatic and triumphant footage for Cold Water Cowboys, returning for Season 4 this Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.
“It’s not easy for my guys on a lot of levels,” says Knight. “They’ve all received emergency training—they can’t get on the boat without it—and they’re on a boat. It may look majestic on TV with them on the ocean, but there’s not a lot of space and it’s constantly moving. It puts the guys through a major workout.” Each boat has two men capturing footage for Cold Water Cowboys and keeping track of possible story angles for the season. And while other series have the crew heading home or to a hotel after a long day of work, these guys sleep on the boat, below with the crew. It might not be comfortable, but Knight says it builds trust between her team and the men on board.
In Tuesday’s Season 4 debut, a trio of tales keeps viewers engaged. Capt. Rick Crane wonders if he’s returned to the job and Crane’s Legacy too soon following the death of his grandfather … and rubs first mate Rope the wrong way; Capt. Paul Tiller takes the Atlantic Bandit the furthest he’s ever gone in search of crab; and pack ice threatens to tear up Capt. Morris Anstey’s equipment and The Sebastian Sails before the season even gets started.
Knight joined Paperny Entertainment after stints at Warner Bros. and CNBC in Los Angeles, and MasterChef Canada and was immediately drawn in by Cold Water Cowboys.
“I was captivated by it, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen,” she says. “I used to be a documentary producer at CBC, so that really resonated with me. But it’s exciting as well. You have the excitement of Deadliest Catch with the factual documentary style.” She’s right. That mix of danger, alternating with the colourful characters (and language) from Newfoundland makes for a wildly entertaining series. But’s it’s a logistical nightmare for those who make it. Five boats means five crews of two are at sea filming. Each of the eight episodes spotlights three boats and three storylines. That means a trio of story editors and editors piecing a ton of footage together to tell an engaging narrative that makes sense.
“You have to make sure all the trains are leaving the station on time,” Knight says with a laugh. Or, in the case of Cold Water Cowboys, the boats all leaving the dock.
Cold Water Cowboys airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.
Images courtesy of Bell Media.