‘North Woods Law’ hiatus no cause for concern, producer says

Viewers who sat down on July 10 to enjoy another new episode of “North Woods Law” were surprised to learn that instead of the reality TV show that focuses on the Maine Warden Service, Animal Planet aired the popular “Dirty Jobs”

Maine Game Wardens featured in the Animal Planet TV show "North Woods Law" pose for a photo in front of the Maine Warden Service mobile command vehicle on April 5, 2012. Pictured are Jonathan Parker (left), Kim Bates, Sgt. Tim Spahr, Kristopher MacCabe and Josh Bubier. (BDN Photo by John Holyoke)

Maine Game Wardens featured in the Animal Planet TV show “North Woods Law” pose for a photo in front of the Maine Warden Service mobile command vehicle on April 5, 2012. Pictured are Jonathan Parker (left), Kim Bates, Sgt. Tim Spahr, Kristopher MacCabe and Josh Bubier. (BDN Photo by John Holyoke)

in its place.

Season 2 of “North Woods Law,” was abruptly ended after Animal Planet aired six episodes — but show producers say there is no cause for concern. The show will return in the fall.

And while some irate viewers have been critical of the network’s plan, NWL supervising producer Andy Seestedt said there’s no cause for concern: “North Woods Law” will return for a 13-episode Season 3 that will run consecutively this fall and will include unaired episodes intended for the second half of Season 2.

Seestedt, who works for Engel Entertainment, which produces “North Woods Law,” admitted that he hadn’t been told in advance that Animal Planet would hold the four remaining episodes of Season 2, after six episodes had already run.

In fact, on the “North Woods Law” Facebook page, Engel Entertainment was promoting the July 10 show right up until July 8.

“It wasn’t the original plan,” Seestedt said. “[We weren't notified] with enough time to get the word out on Facebook.”

In a Facebook post on July 15, the situation was finally explained to viewers.

“We’re sure you noticed that Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe aired last Thursday night at 9 p.m. when you were expecting to see your favorite ‘North Woods Law’ wardens!” the post read. “It’s probably not what you were expecting when you sat down with your bowl of popcorn, but this is good news! While everyone is vacationing at the lake or playing ring toss at the family reunion, we’ll be keeping the five remaining episodes of this season, as well as nine new episodes, for a brand new season, on hold for airing this fall.”

Seestedt clarified on Monday that four episodes remain unaired, and nine more are being prepared as part of Season 3.

“In the end, I think it will be nice to have all 13 to air together as a set,” Seestedt said.

Hundreds of fans of the show commented on the situation via Facebook, with some expressing the view that the sudden change didn’t bode well for “North Woods Law.”

Seestedt said that’s not the case at all.

“If there was anything to worry about, they would have yanked our cameras out of the field,” Seestedt said. “And I’ve got three teams in the field right now, in Portland, Farmington and one that alternates between Aroostook County and Machias, Down East.”

Seestedt said crews have been in the field continuously for months, with each crew working three weeks before taking a week off.

And he said that Animal Planet’s decision is one that is out of the control of production companies like Engel Entertainment.

“It’s their show,” he said. “We deliver finished product to them and it’s up to them when to air it.”

Attempts on Monday and Tuesday to reach an Animal Planet representative for comment were not immediately successful.

And while Seestedt said he understands the frustration that “North Woods Law” fans may be feeling, he also said that the passion those viewers have displayed on Facebook illustrate the show’s popularity.

“Our viewers are everything,” Seestedt said. “The show has been doing great and people love it. Every time people see a video camera and a game warden [in the same place] they already know about the show.”

 

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.