Spike TV goes pirate hunting

Barely a day after the daring rescue of an American sea captain, cable TV’s Spike announced a deal Monday to produce a show about U.S. Navy pirate hunters.

Members of the media film a ship leaving the port of Mombasa

NEW YORK — Barely a day after the daring rescue of an American sea captain, cable TV’s Spike announced a deal Monday to produce a show about U.S. Navy pirate hunters.

Two crews for 44 Blue Productions hope to be on board Navy vessels patrolling in the pirate-infested waters off the coast of Africa within two weeks. The company is aiming to have a series ready to put on the air by September, said Rasha Drachkovitch, 44 Blue’s president and founder.

He’d been talking to the Navy about the idea for three months but the deal was finished late last week, while the standoff with pirates who had taken Capt. Richard Phillips hostage was going on.

“We had no idea if last week’s events would actually kill the deal or seal the deal,” said Sharon Levy, Spike’s senior vice-president for original series.

Drachkovitch said he thought the Navy would put the project on hold but, instead, the Phillips incident seemed to accelerate things.

Commander Robert K. Anderson, the Navy spokesman on the deal, said the agreement had essentially been made before the U.S. ship was attacked.

Spike had been looking for a companion piece to one of its most popular series, DEA, which follows federal drug enforcement officers making their rounds. The production company 44 Blue, which makes action-oriented series like Lockup for MSNBC and LA Gang Unit for A&E, was the first of several which had contacted the Navy as reports of piracy began to surface.

Following the work of Navy personnel on this mission is the sort of action Spike craves, Levy said. The cable channel targets young male viewers aged 18 to 34, potentially making Pirate Hunters: USN a strong recruiting tool for the Navy.

“That’s the Spike demographic and (recruiting) is a factor,” Anderson said. “We also have a responsibility to inform the American public about what we are doing.”

Spike will have access to dozens of Navy cameras along with its own for the series, Drachkovitch said. Like similar reality series, it’s his job to find the characters and stories to focus upon.

It’s unclear what kind of access the production crew would have to confrontations similar to what happened with Phillips. It depends upon what the commanding officer is comfortable with, Anderson said.

“I’m sure if something like this happens, we’ll be at arm’s length until something like this is resolved,” Drachkovitch said. “But we hope to be able to get as good a seat as anybody else.”

Just Posted

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month