The Route 66 RV Network wants to tell the story of RVing to consumers via a reality-based television show, which it hopes will air on a major network sometime in the near future. To view a video previewing the show click here or scroll down the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page.
At the group’s 11th Annual Rally at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., Route 66 member dealers were told their organization has partnered with L.A.-based Little Village Films to produce an RV program intending to tell the intimate, family-friendly experiences of RVing in much the same way “Deadliest Catch” tells the story of crab fishing.
“There are other TV shows that are peripheral to our industry right now … Those are not the stories we want to tell. We think the story that should be told is how we can enhance the quality of life for people, and the quality of their relationships, if they’re in an RV,” Ron Merrill, Route 66 co-founder and partner, told member dealers in a packed hotel ballroom.
Merrill added the program will absolutely not be an infomercial. Each episode of the series will feature two or more compelling storylines in a parallel format, cutting back and forth between each one in a way where the viewer is brought along on the groups’ RVing adventures. He and others involved in the production promised it will be quality, artistic storytelling at its best.
Campbell Brewer, a director/producer for Little Village Films, told RVBUSINESS the program, tentatively titled “RV There Yet,” is currently in the casting stage as it searches for compelling stories to tell. He said they hope to shoot a pilot episode the last part of October or the first part of November, and then shop that pilot to various networks.
“The whole idea of the show is to really narrow in on specific stories and what takes place – or what could take place – on the road. That can expand in so many different ways,” Brewer said. “The interpersonal things that happen to the family on the road are what the show would be about.”
Route 66 dealers also will be given the opportunity to purchase commercials to be aired in their local markets during the program, Merrill said.
The idea for such a show came to Steve Francis, who along with Merril and his brother Dave Francis founded Route 66 RV Network, about 18 months ago. He told RVBUSINESS.com his goal for the show is to give the Route 66 RV Network “a national footprint much like the Hallmark Hall of Fame did for Hallmark cards.”
“Videos tell stories, compelling stories, and we want to be a part of that. We want to create something that’s artistic. We want to create something that’s moving, emotional and important,” Francis said. “There’s nothing like that out there in the marketplace and Route 66 RV Network is committed as a group to being a leader in our industry and making that happen.”
Merrill added that Route 66 has made a significant investment in the show’s production and expects to soon add additional RV and campground industry partners to the television project. One such partner is Jayco, which has signed on as the program’s title sponsor.
In addition to the Route 66 RV Network, Jayco Inc., Middlebury, has signed on as the program’s initial title sponsor.
Derald Bontrager, president and CEO of Jayco, said he has known Steve Francis for years through his Trailside RV Center dealership outside Kansas City. When Francis approached him with the TV show’s concept, he “fell in love with the idea.”
“We thought, ‘This is really what we’re all about.’ It’s sort of like the message we’re trying to create with ‘Go RVing,’ but this takes it to the next level,” Bontrager said.