‘American Chopper’ Family Feud Fuels a Rise in the Ratings

'American Chopper' (Photo: Discovery)

'American Chopper' (Photo: Discovery)

Discovery Channel’s retooling of “American Chopper” has increased the show’s mileage. In its new guise –- now titled “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior” –- the show last week scored its highest ratings since 2004.

Last Monday night’s episode attracted 3.16 million viewers, Discovery said –- which bodes well for the show’s season finale airing this Monday night (Feb. 7) at 9/8c.

The new “American Chopper” focuses squarely on the ongoing conflict between the show’s feuding father and son -– Paul Teutel Sr. and Paul Jr. (sometimes known as Paulie) –- once partners in Orange County Choppers, Paul Sr.’s custom motorcycle works in upstate New York (about two hours from New York City). But in recent years, the father and son, who have long had a contentious relationship, as long-time viewers well know, have split, with Paul Jr. establishing his own motorcycle design and manufacturing company a little less than four miles away from his dad.

And instead of that conflict (which has even resulted in lawsuits between the two) dooming the show, producers and Discovery execs decided to play it up, with permission from the two protagonists. And now, a show that was seemingly on its last legs, has obtained a new lease on life. And it’s helping to revitalize Discovery, which has recently mined ratings gold with another manly reality show, “Gold Rush: Alaska” (Fridays at 10 p.m./9c).

The history of “American Chopper,” which started out on Discovery in 2003 and then moved to co-owned TLC a few years later and then shifted back to Discovery, is outlined in the New York Times. According to the Times’ story, Junior and Senior agreed to participate in the new “Senior vs. Junior,” but they don’t appear together on the show. In addition, each of their portions on the show are filmed by separate camera crews. The footage is then edited together to produce the show.

Will the two reconcile in Monday night’s season finale? Discovery isn’t saying.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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