via press release:
Spike TV Digs Down Deep for New Original Series, “Coal” Featuring the Lives of West Virginia Coal Miners
Premieres Wednesday, March 30 At 10 PM, ET/PT
Series Narrated By Jeremy Sisto
Series Produced By Reality Powerhouse Thom Beers’ Original Productions
NEW YORK, March 21, 2011 — Spike TV takes viewers down into the depths of the earth for an unprecedented look at one of the most dangerous and compelling jobs in the world, coal mining. Spike TV will premiere the 10 episode, one-hour docu-reality series, narrated by Jeremy Sisto, starting Wednesday, March 30 at 10 PM, ET/PT. The series comes to Spike from Thom Beers’ Original Productions, a FremantleMedia company. Beers is the mastermind behind hit cable series that explore high-risk occupations such as the Emmy Award-winning “Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers” and “Ax Men.”
“Coal” centers on the operations of a single mine, Cobalt Coal, located deep in the heart of coal country in McDowell County, West Virginia. The story is told through the eyes of part owners, Mike Crowder and Tom Roberts. The two struck up a mining partnership while watching their sons practice football and have invested their life savings into starting this mine operation. Crowder and Roberts face pressure every minute of every day to keep the mine up and running or face personal financial ruin but, more importantly, to keep their workers safe in a highly combustible environment where one wrong move could prove deadly.
Coal mining is an integral part of the American economy and the lifeblood of many communities, not only across the United States, but around the entire world. Cobalt is a metallurgical mine and the coal mined here is used primarily for making steel. This type of mining is called pillar mining, which means miners enter the bottom of a mountain horizontally and cut channels through the rock that measure a mere 36 to 48 inches in height. It is within this cramped, claustrophobic environment more than 600 feet into the mountain that “Coal’s” life and death drama unfolds.
“Coal” also focuses on Cobalt’s machine operators, foremen, electricians and bolt operators in one of the most dangerous workplaces on the planet, underneath the mountains of Appalachia. “Coal” tells the personal stories of sacrifice and survival that these miners face each day to provide for their families and keep their local communities thriving.
Viewers can learn more about coal mining and the miners at Cobalt Coal by visiting coal.spike.com. The site offers exclusive videos, interviews with the miners and production crew, an interactive map of West Virginia where Cobalt Coal is located and a series of informational articles about the coal industry. Spike has also launched COAL badges as part of its social media outreach for the series. Found on Spike’s “Coal” Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/SpikeCoal fans, supporters and family members of coal miners can post COAL badges in their Facebook newsfeed showing their pride and support of coal miners. Viewers can also follow the “Coal” Twitter @COAL_SPIKE for all the latest on the series including pre-screening events in Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Sharon Levy is Spike TV’s executive vice president, original series and animation, Tim Duffy is vice president of original programming for Spike TV and Joe Weinstock is director, original programming. Executive Producers for Original Productions are Thom Beers and Philip D. Segal and co-executive producers are Jeff Conroy and Eric Lange.
ABOUT SPIKE TV:
Spike TV is available in 99.4 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. A unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), MTV Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV’s Internet address is http://www.spike.com.
Original Productions, a FremantleMedia Company
Founded by Thom Beers, Original Productions produces authentic non-fiction programming featuring everyday heroes in extraordinary situations including the Emmy Award Winning Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, Ax Men, Black Gold, The Colony, Wild Justice, Storage Wars and 1,000 Ways To Die. Beers’ steadfast focus on top-notch storytelling with engaging personalities in high risk circumstances has produced more than 1,200 hours of original programming. In February 2009, a majority stake in the 12 year-old-company was purchased by FremantleMedia, one of the leading creators and producers of world-wide entertainment brands. http://www.originalproductions.com/ http://www.fremantlemedia.com.