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?