I was on vacation when infomercial pitchman Billy Mays died, but beyond the obvious jokes (see this post’s headline), it was good to see him get his due at the end. Whatever you think of their products, advertisers, for better or worse, have an underappreciated effect on the culture of TV. Infomercials, in their way, are the essence of TV, whose business has always been about selling through showmanship, and creating needs and wants where none existed.
Which was why it seemed a shame that Discovery’s series Pitchmen, in which Mays heard pitches and helped novices launch products, would inevitably be ending. Except it’s not. Yesterday Discovery announced plans to revive Pitchmen, with Mays replaced by his son, Billy Mays III. Excerpts from the announcement after the jump:
Discovery Channel’s PITCHMEN, the 12-part series that featured the late Billy Mays II and his business partner, Anthony ‘Sully’ Sullivan, will be back for a second season. Because of the success of the series first season, and as a tribute to Mays’ legacy, the show will continue. PITCHMEN, which is produced by Original Productions, a division of Freemantle [sic] Media, took viewers behind the curtain into the billion dollar infomercial industry, as Mays and Sullivan helped everyday men and women bring their inventions to the masses. Discovery Channel is developing the format of season two with Mays’ son, Billy Mays III, Anthony Sullivan and Thom Beers, CEO of Original Productions. More information will be announced as it becomes available. A premiere date for season two of PITCHMEN hasn’t yet been set.
PITCHMAN: A TRIBUTE TO BILLY MAYS, which first premiered on Discovery Channel on July 9, will re-air Friday, July 24 at 10PM ET/PT. The special pays tribute to the larger-than-life infomercial pioneer – the products he launched, the numerous inventors he helped, and how this family man from Pittsburgh became a household name, ultimately redefining television ad sales.