For a while, the A&E network had a series of slice-of-life reality shows that were, by its very existence, quite popular for a time. There was Storage Wars, where people would bid on the contents of storage lockers (which expanded into Storage Wars: Texas and Storage Wars: New York and a few other international editions). Then A&E added an alternate show, this time about independent long-haul delivery workers, a program called Shipping Wars.
Now, I have to admit. I enjoyed watching Shipping Wars. The program featured a cast of somewhat likeable, somewhat gruff, somewhat clumsy but mostly good-hearted transporters who would haul whatever major companies didn’t feel like hauling – everything from statues to beehives to classic cars to live animals. The show’s cast at the time included gruff New Hampshire handyman Roy Garber (who had catchphrases like, “A nickel’s holding up a dollar,” and “Perfect, just like me”), befuddled country boy Jarrett Joyce (who never seemed to understand that most of the loads he hauled were bigger than his little box trailer), big load trucker Marc Springer (complete with handlebar mustache and a dedication to deliver everything within legal rules), buxom Southern girl Jennifer Brennan (whose gumption and charm throughout the show was balanced with her resistance to actually do hard work and to use her ample charms to get others to do work for her), and the logistics team of Chris Hanna and Robbie Welch (he was a cool, laid-back bro, she usually kept him in check on long trips).
It was a fun show, and it followed a simple formula. Truckers would bid on loads, and the lowest bidder claimed the transport. Then the show would follow the trucker as they picked up the load, delivered it, and got paid. Expenses were noted on the screen, as was whether the customer was satisfied with the delivery, or if the trip was a major financial windfall for the trucker or just a complete bust.
But after six seasons, the show suffered a couple of radical changes. Fan favorite Roy Garber passed away in the middle of filming, while Chris and Robbie were let go for reasons still unknown. New cast members were brought onto the series, but the new faces just didn’t have the same charm and enjoyment. And the show – which tried at least to look plausible as a reality show in its early years – now seemed staged and scripted. The show limped through its seventh season, then simply went off without so much as a series finale.
Until now. According to this video on Facebook, a new season of Shipping Wars debuts this November 30th. Apparently the show will have an all-new cast of transporters, no word on whether Marc or Jen or Jarrett or anybody else from the original series will make cameos or not.
With that, I’m mildly cautious about how well the show will do. I mean, this will be a Shipping Wars that would have been filmed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, where long-haul truckdrivers had problems even finding rest areas that were sanitized against the deadly virus. But still, large, cumbersome objects need to go from Point A to Point B, so there’s that.
The new Shipping Wars debuts on A&E on November 30th. Again, I’m cautiously optimistic that it will have the same fun as the early run of the original show.
We shall certainly see.