Monday, April 07, 2008

Warning to beavers: Steer clear of Benton and 'Billy'

I just got this note from Barbara Newtown of Benton. Makers of the reality series "Billy the Exterminator" are going after a mischievous beaver on their property:

"'Billy the Exterminator' is filming this week at our horse farm — Billy is trying to trap a beaver, who is dedicating his (her?) life to plugging the spillway for our pond. The film crew for September Films is great. And they seem to be enjoying their stay in LA.

"The best thing about 'reality TV' is serendipity. Billy spied a snake near the spillway, and the crew (producer, associate producer, soundman, 2 cameramen, and 2 all-around assistants) jumped on that opportunity (as my neighbor says) 'like a duck on a junebug.' They snagged great shots of a hissing water moccasin trying to twist around and nail Billy — and great shots of the snake striking (and hitting!) the camera lens.

"The director said that A&E has already bought 11 episodes, and the series will run in late summer or early fall. Our local star 'Billy,' talented vermin wrangler, is actually Billy of Vexcon, and he has taken the Vexcon logo of skull-and-crossbones as an inspiration: he dresses (I assume, not every day!) in black (shirt, boots, jeans, AND a scary trench coat) with a huge chain around his waist and an evil skull-and-crossbones belt buckle. He obviously loves chasing unwelcome fauna and he’s perfect for this show — he’s verbal, funny, and fearless. I asked Billy how his show will compare to 'Dirty Jobs,' the Mike Rowe grime-fest; he said 'Billy the Exterminator' will be a half-hour, not an hour, and will be faster paced.

"Billy laid four humane traps yesterday; my husband will check them each day, and call the associate producer when the beaver is ready to be wrangled. After the traps were set, Billy and the film crew zoomed away to keep a date with a bat."

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