Discovery Channel has bet twice on the popularity of FX’s scripted show Sons of Anarchy, firstly with an upcoming series from that show’s creator, Kurt Sutter’s Outlaw Empires, and now with The Devils Ride, which premieres tonight (May 8) in the U.S.
From Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment (BHE TV), The Devils Ride follows the characters of a San Diego motorcycle club, the Laffing Devils, as they allow cameras inside their organization.
BHE TV’s Jason Hervey (pictured above, inset), a former child star who serves as executive producer on the show, says that he and his business partner Eric Bischoff have been long time fans of the biker community before they got an introduction to the motorcycle club members, who include Gipsy, Billy the Kid and Snubz, among others.
From there, Hervey says he knew he was in for an adventure when the very first thing the gang said to him was: “We aren’t the f*****g Kardashians, brother – we’re the real deal.”
“They take a lot of pride in their club,” Hervey tells realscreen. “There is a lot of respect and protocol that goes into interacting with them. Essentially there was a big process about trust, because they didn’t want to look silly or do a ‘typical reality show.’”
He adds that it was a “delicate balance” ensuring that audiences got a glimpse into the Laffing Devils’ lifestyle and hierarchy, while also preserving the motorcycle clubs’ mystique and secrets. Even more importantly, the club didn’t want to feel like they were selling out.
While the fictional Sons of Anarchy follows a lawless motorcycle gang, in this documentary series, cameras are following a motorcycle club and not a “gang.”
“They are not a gang, but I will tell you they are a fierce group of individuals,” says Hervey. The biggest challenge, he adds, is that with Sons of Anarchy likely to be on viewers’ minds when watching The Devils Ride, it’s been difficult to manage expectations of the looming presence of the FX series.
“When you have [Sons of Anarchy as] the only show that it can be compared to, there are things that are in that show – gun-running, drug mules and murder – that’s a really tall order to be compared to, and if we don’t produce our show right, people can feel like they’re let down if that is not what’s delivered,” he says.
However, he asserts that “the bottom line is if anyone is a fan of kick-ass drama or action in their shows, they’re going to love this.”
Also on BHE TV’s slate is The Catalina for The CW Network, launching at the end of May. The reality series focuses on the dramatic staff working at a South Beach hotel.