Reality show seeks to capture oil field workers in good light

Working logo for reality TV show concept "Roughnecks: An American Oil Story"
Working logo for reality TV show concept “Roughnecks: An American Oil Story”

It might be the only theme more ubiquitous in reality television than housewives.

Oil field antics have become a regular on the small screen, from truTV’s Black Gold, to CMT’s Bayou Billionaires, to the Discovery Channel’s Backyard Oil.

One production team even has taken a page from the Real Housewives concept to develop a drama focused on the feminine side of the oil patch.

But one Houston-based producer feels reality TV hasn’t done the oil field justice, muddying the truth and triumphs of life in the patch with contrived drama and negative stereotypes.

Clinton Raley, vice president of marketing and sales at SEG Media Group, says his team is developing a show that puts the industry in a fairer light.

“Other shows like this really dumbed down the industry. They gave a negative impression,” Raley said.

“I don’t want to be political. I’m not going to go in and bash the oil companies,” he said. “I want to give a voice to these guys. I’m going to bring the struggle of an American worker that tries to support his family, a story that anyone can relate to.”

Under the working title “Roughnecks: An American oil story”, the concept follows the families of workers on rigs in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Midland, Texas.

“Each of these locations will bring a distinct personality and unique breed of people that will keep the show exciting and filled with drama, as well as aesthetically pleasing shots,” Raley said. “It gives you a sense of America.”

Raley wouldn’t reveal the companies or families involved in the show, whose title sponsor is training systems developer Coole Immersive.

Raley said the team plans to start production this summer and he’s optimistic that the idea will be picked up by a network.