An Aug. 23 conversation with two of the creators of "Family Beef" provided an interesting insight into the motivation behind the show. Susan O'Connor Fraser and Tam O'Connor Fraser of TuffCubby Entertainment produced the initial film that was submitted to the National Geographic Channel and picked up as a two-episode pilot. Both of the Santa Cruz residents were enamored with life in Southwest Virginia when they visited Big Tom's Rich Valley farm. And, of course, they fell in love with Big Tom and the entire three generations of the Buchanan family. They see this project as a way of telling the important story of the family farm, and they are positive that the show will find a home.
The first two episodes of “Family Beef” have aired twice on National Geographic Channel, and they will also be airing Saturday, Aug. 24 on Nat Geo Wild Channel at 11 p.m. (EST) and 8 p.m. (PST). You can read a review of the show here. The folks at TuffCubby think that this animal-focused channel could well prove to be a better fit for the show. When the show originally aired, the show was slightly impacted by the poor performance of “Diggers” that came on before their premiere.
Susan O’Connor Fraser explained the very human story behind the creation of the show, which is gaining popularity and support daily. (The Family Beef Facebook page has already gained 9,210 likes!) The couple are not only partners at TuffCubby but “partners in life,” as they describe it, having been married well over 30 years. Their daughter, Regan Eymann, is good friends with Kelly van den Berghe whose husband, Lex, is still close friends with Big Tom from their days together on “Survivor.” As Eymann, head of development at TuffCubby, listened to the accounts of the van den Berghe’s many summer vacations at the Buchanan farm in Rich Valley, the idea for a reality show was born. Lex van den Berghe and Tuffcubby came together to produce the sizzle reel that is attached to this article. At that point, the title was not yet decided upon, so this reel was simply labeled, “ Life on the Farm.”
Viewers of the televised episodes of “Family Beef,” will immediately notice a different feel to this original film, especially the segments when Big Tom and his son Bo both tear up as they talk about their rich family ties. This is the part of the Buchanan story that the creators and producers want to be sure is not overlooked. There is a family bond here that is becoming as rare as the family farm itself.
Tam O’Connor Fraser also expressed a desire to help highlight “the plight of the farmer” through the scenes on “Family Beef,” where the Buchannan's are constantly fighting to keep their farm above water financially. He also drew upon his years of experience with Tam Communicationsand TuffCubby Entertainment to explain the network’s need for a faster and slightly different product to capture the target audience, which in this case is typically male. (That possibly explains the opening scene of castrating cattle and eating the fried “product.”)
According to Susan, “Family Beef” was a labor of love from “Santa Cruz to Southwest Virginia.”
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