Is Billy The Exterminator Still On The Throne?

It’s hard to believe that The Billy The Exterminator show is now in its 6th season. It seems like just yesterday when this wild haired and gothic looking man took the country by storm and not only were ALL of my customers asking questions and making comments about his exploits….but the professional pest control world was a buzz with the same, albeit not quite as flattering. Regardless, there is no question, Billy The Exterminator was the man when it came to reality TV and pretty much the king of the visible pest control world.

From a tiny guest appearance on the hit show Dirty Jobs, Billy Bretherton (aka Billy The Exterminator) and his tiny pest company Vexcon, took the pest control world by storm and he rode that wave to TV stardom and acclaim. In only the 2nd year of the show his 1/2 hour adventures garnered top billing when it came to viewers setting a record of over 2 million people tuning in to episode 2 of that season. Sales of his clothing line flew off the charts and it seemed that literally everybody wanted to get a pair of those funky sunglasses he wore. What was so different about Billy caught TV land by surprise and what most of us might avoid if we saw a man like this in a dark alley-suddenly, the world couldn’t get enough of this ‘all natural’ bug guy who went across the land saving baby skunks and wrestling 10 foot alligators.

Like most things in life, what goes up must come down and/or, all good things must come to an end and certainly, everyones is always trying to knock off the man on top of the hill. So I ask, is this Billy’s last run, has his shooting star burnt out? Is Billy The Exterminator still on the throne?

Here Today Gone Tomorrow

While seasons 1 through 3 were pretty much a rockets ride for this hippie like entomologist, year 4 and 5 seemed to limp along. A&E promoted the show with commercials but the new episodes never really materialized. Oh there were some airings but even the cast was perplexed as to why the season never went all out and had to answer the many fan questions on A&E’s forums. Even they had no answers or at least weren’t saying. (contract disputes? who knows) It seemed Billy was reduced to signing autographs at car shows more than anything else, a gig reserved for “used to be actors” that were no longer in the apple of the publics eye yet they could still draw a crowd for the small events.

Peers What Peers?

While Billy was adored by the viewing public he was never accepted, at least widely, by those in the pest control industry. PCT, PMP and other national publications never did any meaningful articles on him. (please correct me if I’m wrong) Blogs were filled with distain toward the man and association newsletters castigated him. Their snippets, editorials and comments were more hurtful than helpful and they wanted nothing but distance between this Associated Certified Entomologist that the people adored but that they resented. Rather than looking for a way to build a bridge across the gap-the industry seemed hell bent on burning it down.

In The Meantime

There is no denying the fact that Billy has gotten into a little bit of trouble in the hiatus of sorts. The blogosphere blew up with links and “I told you so’s” and pats on the back. This, in a land that thrives on the giving of second chances and the thrill (or just voyeurism) of watching our one time heroes climb back into our good graces or plunge deeper into the train wreck we all saw coming.

With the couple of limbo years of Billy’s absence the TV exec world has tried diligently to fill the void. Shows like Infested, Swamp People, Call of The Wildman, American Hoggers, Rat Busters and just about every kind of snake show you can think of. On almost any given night you could sit down with some popcorn and watch some truly ‘crazy’ (they say brave) people battling ferocious pests as if it were an ordinary thing. Still, I believe the TV public wasn’t happy with this and they wanted their man back. They wanted Billy.

Is Billy Still On The Throne?

So Billy’s back but the jury is still out. Of the many customers I serve in a week, rarely does his new season come up in conversation like it did in times past. Halloween has come and gone and I saw a bigger push for Big Bird costumes than the head band, chains and skull & crossbones attire of Vexcon. Blogs are quiet and for the most part, mums the word from any trade publications. Still, I continue to get questions on my blog and comments on the few articles I’ve written. The show hasn’t changed much except now Billy looks a bit beleaguered and skinnier, perhaps worn out from the spotlight or desperate to remain relevant. I don’t know.

But in spite of all this, he still has fans, he’s still a storyline in the pest control industry and his future is not as bleak as some would have us believe even though it doesn’t seem it’s in his own hands. I also think it’s safe to say, no one has taken his seat as Americas favorite exterminator, at least yet. So while there seems to be many uncertainties concerning this man and his show and not nearly as many answers at least for now. But I have one question to you and anyone reading this—–
Is Billy The Exterminator Still On The Throne?

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. Pestcemetery.com was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.
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  • Stuto1

    I don’t know. I can’t work pest control and then watch it on TV for very long. I’ve never watched more than a few shows. Good for him if he is still running strong.

  • I guess I’m a pest control junkie–I watch a lot of these … I do miss the Verminators, I don’t know why that show was pulled. I guess neatly dressed techs with blue surgical gloves, masks and professional equipment doesn’t sell.

  • exterminatorsrock

    I’m sure i will be shunned for this but..

    I like the guy

    I do, though, take his show with a grain of salt, because I’m am convinced a lot of the carelessness he does is fueled by some executive that understands chaos sells better than a flawless procedure, (why I think verminators was pulled).

    I don’t believe for a minute that an A.C.E. wouldn’t know how to use proper PPE or proper chemical application tools.

    Billy is super excited and proud to be an exterminator, and THAT’s what I really admire.

    Growing up in a pest control business, the last thing I thought I wanted was to follow in my father’s footsteps and “kill bugs”. I was going to be a rock star/pro skateboarding/artist that rode harleys and signed autographs on beautiful women’s…well..you get the point. It never occurred to me that it could be “cool” to be a bug man. I’m not sure what’s going on with his hair, other than that I think he’s cool. I’m pretty sure he rides harleys and signed some beautiful…um ..assets.

    That said, I do not wear spikes, bondage pants and cowboy hats on the job, but with the right finesse, I can be a bit creative and still look professional. (I told you before, I thought the SWAT team look he had early on was genius)

    Does the show cost me customers? no
    Does the way he portray himself effect my business? no
    Do I think he’s happy with pushing it to extremes to please his network? no
    Does anything he does affect me or my business? no

    may he reign as long as he wants

    “There’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.”

  • Very well said.

  • Paul

    It would be nice to see the show come back on the air, he was dam good at his job. Not only me there is a lot of people out there that would like to see Billy back on the air.

  • A lot of people feel the same way.