'Coast Guard Alaska' renewed for two seasons

Courtesy photo

The series “Coast Guard Alaska” premiered on the Weather Channel in November and has already garnered at least two more seasons on the air. The show, produced by Al Roker Entertainment, follows Guardsmen from Air Station Kodiak to show what it takes to live and work in this corner of the world where extremely hazardous weather adds to both the necessity and obstacles to their rescue missions.

The second season, debuting this April, will feature five 60-minute episodes. The third will have eight and is due out in October.

So far, the show has produced a 95 percent increase in the same time period average from one year ago for viewers ages 25 through 54, according to Nielsen ratings. Viewership has increased 91 percent since the premiere episode. Roker said this has jumped to more than 100 percent in some time periods.

The Weather Channel reports it was the fifth-highest tending show on GetGlue during the premiere episode.

Roker said he thinks the realism of the show contributes to the attraction. Guardsmen go up against some crashing elements with no scripted ending. This is why Roker refers to “Coast Guard Alaska” as a documentary series rather than a reality series.

“We’re just thrilled with the access the Coast Guard has given us,” he said.

Bob Walker, the Weather Channel’s executive vice president and general manager of networks and content, said this feedback has made it clear that audiences are responding to the show, thus encouraging the demand for additional Alaska filming.

While the first season of “Coast Guard Alaska” focused on Kodiak, the producers are exploring other areas to expand the show. Kodiak was chosen as the debut location due to its extreme weather conditions that make being a rescue pilot or swimmer there among the most dangerous jobs in the world.

Some of the season was also shot in Sitka. Roker and Walker said they are looking at other future possibilities to expand the Alaska program. For now, the focus will remain on Kodiak.

“I think we’re going to go where the rescues take us. Wherever that is in Alaska,” Roker said.

Roker said having not one but two additional seasons greenlit and airing so close together was not ordinary but not unheard of.

Walker said the show continued to grow throughout the first season’s run. This contributed to its renewal. Walker said before any show is considered for renewal, the producers must be convinced there is enough interesting content that wasn’t all covered the first time and this air station has exactly that.

“This is our first show with the Coast Guard,” he said. “We think one reason it works is it shows how the elements affect people’s lives in and around this part of Alaska.”

“The great thing about this program and what makes it, I think, special is that whether we’re there or not the Coast Guard is constantly going out doing rescues so we’re just tagging along for the ride and documenting it,” Roker said.

Roker first came up with the idea after seeing a YouTube video of local Coast Guard rescues and was impressed by the intensity of it. A phone call later and the ball started moving. He said the exciting part for him is to simultaneously show the Coast Guard’s mission and the beauty of Alaska.

“I think people are still fascinated by Alaska and we’re happy to help people get a different look at the state,” he said.

Roker said the producers will decide whether to apply for the state’s film tax incentives for these next seasons. Al Roker Entertainment pre-qualified for the incentives for the first season. No amount has been awarded yet.

“It’s clear to us that viewers are making ‘Coast Guard Alaska’ appointment viewing,” Bob Walker, executive vice president and general manager of networks and content for Weather Channel, said in a release. “Audiences have really responded to this inside look at life in Kodiak for these real-life heroes who risk their lives daily to save others. We feel privileged to offer viewers more opportunities to get to know these incredible men and women.”

11/07/2016 - 1:31pm