Johnathan Hillstrand, Andy Hillstrand, Deadliest Catch

Cameron Glendenning /Discovery Channel

Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand have bigger fish to fry now.

The Deadliest Catch stars and captains of the deep-sea power scow Time Bandit, announced Tuesday that they're leaving the hit series after being sued for breach-of-contract by the Discovery Channel.

And they're taking fan favorite Sig Hansen, captain of the Northwestern, along with them.

"We have been through a lot over the past year and unfortunately given the current situation with Discovery we are unable to continue participating in Deadliest Catch," the three crab fishermen said in a joint written statement, first obtained by the Hollywood Reporter.

"It has been a fantastic ride, and we wish the best to all of the amazing and supportive Catch fans we have met over the years."

In response to the lawsuit, Hansen said, "I want people to know the captains stand together, and me and my brothers support them 100 percent."

Discovery says, meanwhile, that its announcement on the status of all three captains is forthcoming.

The network sued the Hillstrand brothers for $3 million, claiming they failed to come through on their promise to shoot a spin-off special, Hillstranded. Cameras rolled during business hours, but Discovery says the crab catchers didn't make time to record voiceovers and otherwise take part in what was needed to round out the production.

Production on season seven of Deadliest Catch is scheduled to start early next month, the beginning of crab season.

While there was obviously a red sky at morning situation as far as the Hillstrands were concerned, Hansen's departure is more of a surprise, despite his statement of solidarity.

The show's sixth season was memorably rocked by the death of Cornelia Marie Capt. Phil Harris.


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