TruTV is King of the Road with Four Tow-Truck Shows

TruTV's tow-truck shows (clockwise from upper left): "Lizard Lick Towing," "Bear Swamp Recovery," "South Beach Tow," "Operation Repo" (Photos: TruTV)

TruTV has more than a toehold in the tow-truck business.

The reality-based cable channel – once known years ago as Court TV – loves the world of tow trucks and the colorful people who drive them so much that it currently has no less than four separate tow-truck shows – with the newest, “Bear Swamp Recovery,” slated to premiere this week (on Monday, Aug. 22, at 10 and 10:30/9,9:30c).

Going against current trends in which a successful kind of show on one cable network begets a truckload of imitators on competing channels (all those swamp shows and auction/storage-unit shows, for example), Turner-owned TruTV has cornered the market in tow-truck TV shows to such an extent that only one other channel has a tow-truck show of its own (that would be Spike’s “Repo Games”).

With a title that suggests, mistakenly, that this new one is another entry in cable’s current mania for “man vs. critter” shows, “Bear Swamp Recovery” has nothing to do with bears or swamps, though both can be found in New Jersey, where this show comes from.

Bear Swamp Recovery is the name of a family-owned company in the repossession or “recovery” business. If Tru’s other tow shows are any indication, “Bear Swamp Recovery” will have its tow-truckin’ protagonists on the prowl for vehicles whose owners have fallen behind in their payments.

And it’s a pretty sure bet these auto-loan delinquents won’t take too kindly to the Bear Swamp tow trucks. We forecast a nearly 100 percent chance of bleeped-out expletives followed in many cases by fisticuffs, thrown objects and generalized grappling. Well, TruTV is nothing if not consistent – that’s what happens on all of its tow-truck shows.

Watch an episode of TruTV’s “Operation Repo” here:


The differences between them come down mainly to their locations: “Operation Repo” (Wednesday nights at 9/8c) is from southern California, “South Beach Tow” (Wednesday nights at 10) takes place in Miami, “Bear Swamp” is from Jersey, of course, and “Lizard Lick Towing” is from North Carolina. (In fact, “Lizard Lick” returns with new episodes Monday night at 9 and 9:30/8 and 8:30c on Tru, right before “Bear Swamp” makes its debut).

Of course, the four tow shows have different characters too, but there’s something very similar about them too. To put it delicately, with no offense intended, these are big people – the kinds of people who were once described with words such as “portly” or “stout,” to say the least. They’re a group of people who you’re seeing more and more of on TV these days, and the tow-truck shows (and some other shows such as History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” for example) have played a big role in bringing this new category of beefy reality TV stars to the forefront.

“With a repo order in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other, these bulky [ah, there’s another good descriptive word] Sicilians have a huge appetite for the big score,” says Tru’s press material for “Bear Swamp Recovery.” “And when debtors put up a fight, PJ and his gang can throw down with the best of them – that is, when they’re not too busy busting each other’s chops!” Substitute the names from the other TruTV tow shows and those sentences become a pretty good description for any of them.

Welcome to the family, “Bear Swamp”!

Watch Full Episodes:

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

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