Ten seasons into “The Deadliest Catch” and netting Alaskan king crab has not gotten any easier. The season premiering April 22nd, which documents last fall’s harvest, features a ship on fire, another on the rocks, a captain in rehab, and another trying to manage his 18-year-old daughter as she joins his crew. No one is more interested in the footage than Captain Keith Colburn, a show staple and owner of the Wizard, for whom the show asked as a sort of delayed close-circuit television system.
“I’m surprised at a lot of the stuff that happens on my boat,” he says. “I sit up in the chair by myself driving the boat, disconnected from my crew. I’m keeping track of the bigger picture.”
When the show gets dramatic, Colburn, who doesn’t see the footage until after it’s cut, gets upset. He explains that its his job to do exactly what most reality show stars would never even consider: Keep the situation in control. When fans imply that drama is played up for the embedded film crews, he gets frustrated because he wants to do exactly the opposite. His job, he explains, is to give the cameras “the least amount of footage possible.”
“The job I do is just so horrendously dangerous that something is going to happen,” Colburn says. “My job is to see if we can minimize that.”
Even though the show is competitive – each boat tries to out-catch every other vessel – Colburn says he can’t help but root for the other captains. “You start to see a storyline develop and you’re thinking, ‘Oh, crap – this is not good. This cannot end well,” he says. “You hope they find a way to wriggle out of whatever predicament they’re in.” His empathy makes sense. Unlike the rest of the show’s audience, he doesn’t enjoy the spectacle. For him, a calm cruise and a full hold would be truly impressive. Still, he can’t help but experience a bit of schadenfreude. He is, after all, a storm-hardened man.
“If the other guy is more miserable than you, it makes you feel pretty good.”
More information: Deadliest Catch Season 10 premieres Tuesday, April 22nd at 9 PM, preceded by the warmup show “The Bait,” on the Discovery Channel.