Deadliest Catch

Discovery Channel

Just how deadly is Deadliest Catch?

Although you can't really argue with the harrowing nature of the work being done by the "stars" of Discovery Channel's commercial-fishing saga, that doesn't mean the series' street cred is impervious to a little detective work.

Per the Hollywood Reporter, a production outline from the series' fourth season indicates that a perilous storm featured in Tuesday's season premiere was not the cause of seemingly subsequent flooding on one of the deep-sea fishing boats featured on the reality series, which touts itself as an authentically gritty slice-of-fisherman-life.

Because the flood occurred in September and the storm hit in October, it's possible that editors stitched the two events together with the help of some specially shot, complementary footage, the trade suggested Friday.

The purported revelation comes less than a year after Discovery took some heat after another of its ripped-from-reality series, Man vs. Wild, was revealed to be not quite so wild.

The network maintains, however, that the peril it's pushing on Deadliest Catch is the real deal.

Discovery execs explained that the outline in question was an early draft that was later scrapped by the show's production company. And although they admitted that the storm-flood sequence combined footage from two different days, they adamantly denied the use of reenactments (except for once, last year) to up the drama on Deadliest Catch, which is one of the network's biggest hits.

This week's new episode attracted 3.5 million viewers, Discovery's largest-ever premiere audience.

"Everything that you see in the show happened," Discovery president and general manager John Ford told THR. "Nothing is made up and nothing needs to be made up. The Wizard was struck by a big wave, and that wave caused the leak you see in the show. The show is 100 percent authentic."

Pickup shots—scenes that tie action together but may have been missed at first by the cameras—are used sometimes, Ford said.

Pickup shots and other examples of, shall we say, creative editing, are very common within the reality-TV genre. (For instance, not every America's Next Top Model aspirant is either a complete be-yotch or airhead as producers would have you believe.)

"If the camera didn't run properly when the captain was boarding the boat, they have the captain back up and board the boat again," Ford said.

And although one booster shot was used last year, he said, that footage was aired in black-and-white and pointedly labeled a reenactment.

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