“The RVers,” a new consumer-oriented RV lifestyle show starring full-time RVers whose popular YouTube channels have made them celebrities with RVers, is set to debut this fall on The Discovery Channel as well as PBS, Amazon Prime and other networks.
The program will be hosted by Peter Knize and John Sullivan of The RV Geeks, Tom and Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move, and Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard of Technomadia. Also staring in the show is creator and producer Anthony Nalli, known for his work on the long-running TV series, “The Aviators,” who told RVBUSINESS.com that “The RVers” would be equal parts “education, information and entertainment.”
Nalli said that in the same way “The Aviators” inspired many to fulfill their lifelong dream of flight, “‘The RVers” is expected to inspire, motivate, and drive people to live their RV dream. I wanted to have an airplane and an RV since I was a kid. I learned to fly in my 30’s and I got my first RV in my late 40’s. I don’t have a good reason why both took so long. What a waste of precious time. This show will encourage dreamers to avoid the mistake I made of needlessly delaying the kind of joy of life I now experience every single day.”
The program has been filming throughout North America since February and will premiere Nov. 23 on Discovery nationwide in the United States. The show will also be available on other broadcast and streaming outlets including PBS in the U.S. and Bell TV in Canada as well as iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft Xbox, Vudu and Amazon Prime.
In addition, “The RVers” has a wide range of support from the RV industry from such companies as Dometic, Fantasy RV Tours, Battle Born Batteries, Sun RV Resorts, RVillage, Xantrex, Hughes Autoformers, Sicard RV, LogicBlue Technology, Snap Pad, FCIS Insurance, Mattress Insider, M4 Products, Escapees/Xscapers, Sunrise RV Products, RAD Power Bikes, NoFreezeWaterHose, Flojet, Bogfoot Outrigger Pads, Southwire, RakAttach and Instant Pot.
Nalli recently spoke with RVBUSINESS.com about the program from his Hymer Aktiv Class B motorhome at an undisclosed campground. He and his wife, Lisa, also own a 2018 Montana High Country 381TH fifth-wheel toy hauler. What follows is an edited account of that conversation.
RVB: How did The RVers come about?
Anthony Nalli: Well, to answer that you have to go back to when I was a little kid and first wanted an RV. There was a live-action show for kids on TV called “Ark II.” I think it was on CBS Saturday mornings during the 1970s — it came on after all the Bugs Bunny cartoons. It was about a group of scientists in a post-apocalyptic world. I don’t even know that they did, but I just remember they were traveling in a mobile science lab. That was what an RV looked like to me. Now, it’s not like any RV I’ve ever seen, but it was cool. So, since I was a kid, I wanted to do that. But it took me since I was a kid until I was 47 before we got one. I am 52 now, and we got into RVing five years ago.
RVB: So what took so long?
Nalli: Yeah, right? What the heck took so long? We’ve kind of dabbled with the notion of getting into RVing a couple of times really seriously over the past 20 years, but each time we’ve just backed away. You go into an RV dealer, or you go into an RV trade show, and you’re all excited about, ‘Maybe we do it now!’ Then we just got overwhelmed. There are just too many choices. They all start looking the same, and all the features start blending into each other. There’s just so much that unless you can help use some knowledge to refine your choices, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. When you get overwhelmed, if your me anyway, you kind of take a step back, and you say, ‘Okay, you know what? Let’s breathe and let’s assess our information. Let’s revisit this again tomorrow.’ And tomorrow becomes next month, next year, becomes 10 years later, you know?
RVB: So the TV show, we’re assuming, is going to help others not wait so long? Nalli:
Nalli: Exactly! We hope that the show is going to cater to current RVers and maybe enlighten them on ways that other people are utilizing their RV’s or living the RV life and enjoying it. It will appeal to people like me 20 years ago who really would love to do this, but then say, ‘You know what? When we retire this is what we’re going to do.’
To me, if you want to do something then you should do it. Tomorrow’s not guaranteed. ‘When you retire’ is something people say so that they can dream. Well, when you retire you’re on the decline of your life. I mean, you have less time than you have more time.
So, if you are going to embark on something so fantastic, then why are you going to delay that for years or even decades only to finally be able enjoy it for a relatively short amount of time. Whereas, if you start tomorrow, you’ve got the rest of your much longer life to enjoy it.
RVB: So let’s hear more about the show. What’s the format? What can people expect?
Nalli: I’ll tell you what they should not expect. What they should not expect is reality TV. This is not a reality TV show. There have been and there are some RV shows out there right now that are very much like ‘House Hunters’ on HGTV, where people are going into an RV dealer, and the couple is saying, ‘Oh, well I love this layout. Oh, I love where they put the kitchen in this one.’ Then they have at it and they settle on whatever they settle on.
When we were casting for the show, some of the people that have been on shows like that contacted us and wanted to see if we could work together. They told me of their experience working on these shows, and they didn’t speak glowingly of it. They said that basically every word that came out of their mouth was scripted. It wasn’t very natural at all. They were told what to say and how to behave. Well, that’s the reality TV formula. The sad fact is that reality TV is absolutely not based on reality. It’s the most inaccurately named genre that could possible exist.
RVB: So, what is the format for ‘The RVers’ then?
Nalli: This is a documentary series. Each episode is a half hour. It’s intended to be educational. It’s intended to be informative. It’s still intended to be entertaining — you can be educational and informative and still be entertaining.
It’s really going to be a dignified show. We’re going to present the information the way it needs to be prevented. The way it should be presented, the way it deserves to be presented, and the way viewers want it presented. It’s really going to have everything to do with the lifestyle. Everything.
RVB: And you’ve lined up some well-known companies from the RV industry to help support the show.
Nalli: And every single one of them is great. If you form a relationship with our production company and our show, then you’re friends of ours and we like to treat our friends well. And we like to maintain our friendships as long as we possibly can. And we like to keep our friends happy because we appreciate their contribution because it’s very important in making the show possible. They contribute what they contribute, we put it to good use, and we make shows happen as a result.
RVB: You said earlier that you’ve already finished the pilot?
Nalli: Well, yeah. That’s how we got on Discovery. You have to show them what the show is like.
But let me tell you about the first time I watched it. I’m in a gigging rock band here in the Toronto area where we’re pretty popular and we’re growing. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a way that I can just stay fit and get some exercise, not doing it to get rich or anything.
So, a couple of weeks back I roll in at 3, 4 in the morning from a Friday night gig. My editors had it done and said ‘Here it is.’
Now, we’d been working on it for a long time. We went back and forth on some tweaks here and there. But there it is. The episode is sitting there in my inbox, and I thought, ‘Okay, I really should get to bed, but I need to see this.’ There’s no way that I’m not going to take a look at this, right? So I said, ‘You know what? I’ll watch it for a couple of minutes and hopefully I’ll start getting tired, and then I’ll nod off.’ I didn’t get tired. The more I watched it, the more I loved it. I couldn’t put it down, and then when it finished I actually watched it again.
Wow! I almost got a little emotional there just telling you that. I mean, I’ve got a vision. I know what I want the show to look like, but until it materializes that vision is only in my head, and it’s up to me to make sure that I convey that vision to our writers, to our editors, to everybody working on it so that they can get the ingredients necessary to make that vision a reality. Then they have to assemble it in a way that lines up with my vision.
So you never know that you’ve done that until you see the ending result, and I finally got to see the end result. Then I drafted a bit long email to everyone involved — including our hosts which don’t usually do — and I said, ‘You know I’m almost emotional here having seen the episode, and I’m so grateful for all the work that was done by everybody. I see all of you in this. I see what you’ve touched, I’ve seen your fingerprints all over the place individually. I know every single person, what they’ve done, when I’m watching this and all of you have done incredibly.’ I just went on and on. Then of course I had to share it with them because I can’t go and say that and not share it.
It’s amazing when you put something together and you get the industry and community as responsive as they’ve been. In my 10 years of doing ‘The Aviators’ I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’m talking about the response that we needed to get from the RV industry and the RV community. Everybody wants this thing out tomorrow. They want it out immediately and they’re excited about it, and they’re throwing their support to it.
That’s when the pressure really mounted, you know? When I started this thing off I thought, ‘Well, lets give them a shot and we’ll see if it turns into anything.’ But it was a matter of weeks before I realized that, ‘Yeah, you got to change your whole attitude about this thing. This is not just slapping a TV show together and seeing what happens. This is going to mean something. There are too many people that want this. There are too many people that have their eyes on it. There are too many people that are making this significant before it even exists.’ That’s when the pressure hit.
Then I saw the episode and all that pressure vanished. It just vanished. I was covered with a blanket of joy, pride, and happiness.