Half Yard says yes to “Hillbilly Hand Fishin’”

The production company behind TLC's Say Yes to the Dress will be bringing the unique business of noodling to Animal Planet, with its upcoming series Hillbilly Hand Fishin'.
March 7, 2011

The production company behind TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress will be bringing the unique business of noodling to Animal Planet, with its upcoming series Hillbilly Hand Fishin’.

Half Yard Productions follows the Bivens, an Oklahoman family well versed in “noodling” – the art of catching catfish from a murky hole with your bare hands and feet.

“People you think would never ever have the cajones to put their feet into a dark dank hole underwater ended up facing their fears and doing it,” says Half Yard co-founder Abby Greensfelder.

“It’s kind of ‘fish out of water,’ excuse the pun, [with] people coming in who have never done this before,” she adds.”In the process they get a bit of Oklahoma noodler culture, with these guys [who] pridefully call themselves Hillbilly Handfishermen.”

The seven-episode series will run on Animal Planet in August.

On March 4, Discovery Channel will premiere the third season of American Loggers as part of their “outdoor extreme survival night” on Friday.

American Loggers focuses on a family of loggers in Maine that faces all odds and extremes to keep their family business alive. Greensfelder says she hopes that their show complements the Discovery hit Flying Wild Alaska.

“If there is any connective tissue between the logger show, the noodle show and Say Yes to the Dress, it’s that they’re all, at the core, based on family businesses as the backdrop for great drama and storytelling,” she says.

Taking a different tack  is Half Yard’s new series for History, How the States Get Their Shapes.  Airing in the summer, it’s based on a special the prodco did for History, based on a book of the same name by Mark Stein.

Hosted by Brian Unger, a political commenter on NPR and an American history buff, the show looks into the stories that are hidden on the American map.

“If [we] can make geography exciting, I think we will have succeeded,” says Greensfelder.

Half Yard is currently in production for Gun It with Benny Spies, a hunting series on Versus. Now in its second season, Greensfelder says it’s the cabler’s first original program that’s a non-traditional hunting show.

Half Yard is currently in development on pilots for networks including TruTV, Lifetime and Oxygen.  “We’re broadening out the networks that we work with,” says Greensfelder. “We’re big on looking for great family characters and finding interesting worlds that they live in, so we’re developing something in the RV space at the moment.”

TLC has also just confirmed that it has ordered new eight-part series Say Yes to the Dress: Randy’s Top Ten, set to debut on April 1.  Half Yard Productions will produce the latest spin-off of Say Yes to the Dress, and the half-hour episodes focus on Kleinfeld Bridal’s fashion director Randy Fenoli as he gives out tips on everything bridal.

The network is also bringing back Says Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss on April 29.  The series, also taped inside Kleinfelds, brings the lens to plus-sized brides. TLC has ordered 12 half-hour episodes.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.