Awwww … American Chopper has been cancelled. This makes me sad, because my kids sort of grew up with this show. And I came this close to interviewing the Teutuls for this story for USA Weekend about how Schwinn was partnering with them on a new Sting-Ray. Well, new back in 2004 when I wrote the story, that is.
I couldn’t find a publicist for the Teutuls, so just called the shop to see if they’d talk to me. They were in the middle of filming, so I didn’t get to talk with them, but it was still thrilling at the time.
Now the show — which premiered in 2002 and helped define the TV documentary genre — is being cancelled after a ten-year run. They’ll finish with a four-way bike build-off special titled The Revenge airing live from Las Vegas on Dec. 11.
“After 10 years and 233 episodes of incredible, riveting reality television, American Chopper will be ending its run,” says Eileen O’Neill, group president, Discovery and TLC Networks. “This series was one of the very first family-based reality programs on television … The Teutuls have given us really innovative bike builds and real drama since 2002. We wish both Orange County Choppers and Paul Junior Designs the best.”
At first, the fighting between Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. seemed funny and riveting, in a dysfunctional family kind of way. Then it got sad. You could tell that this was a family with some serious issues. Sometimes it felt intrusive to be watching them on TV.
“I have mixed emotions,” executive producer Craig Piligian told EW.com. “It’s had a great run. We had a lot of ups and downs. There’s been so much that’s happened to this family over the last 10 years. We’ve seen them grow to a huge motorcycle shop. We’ve seen them fight bitterly. We’ve seen them sue each other. And recently we’ve seen them come together to open up a new business. I think the show has come full circle.”
Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of the Teutuls. I bet they’ll resurface with something else as time goes on.
By the way, in honor of ten years of American Chopper, here’s a picture of me on my motorcycle, circa 1980s. It was a sweet little Yamaha 185 Exciter. Loved that bike.