News Column

'Big Tom' Buchanan featured in new reality TV show

August 5, 2013


Aug. 05--RICH VALLEY , Va. -- "Big Tom" Buchanan returns to television on Wednesday with a new reality show filmed in Smyth County , Va.

Airing on the National Geographic Channel at 9 p.m., two episodes of the show called "Family Beef" stars the 58-year-old Buchanan, along with other members of his family.

"A crew of 14 came here for 12 days and filmed us every day," Buchanan said.

In 2001, Buchanan gained national fame on an early season of CBS-TV's "Survivor," set in Africa . Next, in 2004, the cattle farmer starred in "Survivor: All Stars." The self-styled "redneck" farmer became known as a wisecracking country boy, though his words, actions and dialect were often misunderstood.

Buchanan said he was approached about starring in yet another season of "Survivor" with his son, Bo, earlier this year -- at about the same time he inked a deal for the two pilot episodes of "Family Beef."

This new reality show details the often comical adventures of four generations of the Buchanans living and working on the family farm at Rich Valley . "We're a bunch of damn goobers, and it shows in the show," Buchanan said, laughing.

Characters include Buchanan's wife, Sandy, as well as his parents, his son and daughter-in-law.

"If the two shows do well, we're going to do eight more. It's going to go into a series," Buchanan said. "If they do bad, they're going to drop them like bad underwear."

Lex van den Berghe, who starred with Buchanan on "Survivor," helped make connections to make "Family Beef" a reality, Buchanan said.

The first two episodes are called "Fence Fiasco" and "Cow in the Hole!"

"Except for a little bit of foul language," Buchanan said, "I think this is going to be good for families to watch and laugh and see the struggles of our area and farmers and what we've got to do to make a living -- and the whole attitude of the people in this area."


(c)2013 the Bristol Herald Courier (Bristol, Va.)

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