Downshift
Next on the Just In Time Channel!

By Bill Hudgins, columnist

When I win the Powerball jackpot, I’m going to use some of my winnings to launch an all-trucking cable network. Naturally, I’ll call it the Just In Time Channel, or JIT-TV, but aside from my hosting a show or two, most of it will be about you, the hard-working, under-appreciated people of trucking.

Notice I said “when I win,” not “if.” You see, I’m eating a lot of Chinese food and playing the numbers in the fortune cookies. It worked for a lady in the Bronx in March, so I figure lightning will strike me next time.

In fact, I’m already working on ideas for shows. And let me tell you, it’s hard. I have a new appreciation for what the folks at “Land Line Now” have to do to put together a daily show on Sirius-XM.  

One of the guiding principles for TV programming is to either clone what’s already working, or go so far out on a limb that people will watch just to see if you’re gonna fall.

So most of my ideas are, ahem, “borrowed” from other shows. Here are a few of them – but since JIT-TV is about you, let me hear from you!

Two Broker Girls: Two young women – one the privileged daughter of a fleet owner whose business has just gone greasy-side-up and the other a scrappy trucker’s kid – pool their talents to enter the freight brokerage business. They soon learn the craziest things can happen – “Wanted to let you know I’m gonna be late with this load because a buffalo rammed my truck” – and that it’s not always easy to do the right thing.

The Biggest Cruiser: Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee, right? And nobody doesn’t like show trucks. This reality series follows the ups and downs of five show truck owners as they go bumper-to-bumper for trophies and bragging rights, all while they’re trying to stay on top of their businesses. You’ll see what goes into creating and fielding a top-notch rig and vote for your favorites on each episode. The final vote tally will help determine the ultimate winner of JIT-TV’s Big Honkin’ Truck award.  

So You Think You Can Dance Through the Gears: Longtime truckers often complain that today’s drivers have it too easy – what with automated transmissions, onboard sensors, power steering and so on. In this series, veteran drivers pair up with and mentor newbies confronted with trucks from yesteryear, with master twin-stick trannies, low-powered engines, doghouses and cramped sleepers.

Celebrity Rookie: If trucking was easy, anybody could do it, right? Each week a new celebrity finds out if he or she has what it takes. The series kicks off with New York City-basher Alec Baldwin driving for a drayage firm in Manhattan. You may want to send the kids out to play during that one.

Truck Dynasty: Each episode of “Truck Dynasty” introduces us to a new multi-generational family of drivers in various lines of trucking. This series will inspire viewers with its warm, touching stories of the hard work and sacrifice it takes to keep America running.  

Braking Bad: Following in the skid marks of shows such as “America’s Wildest Police Chases,” this show uses footage from dashcams, traffic cameras and cellphones that captured some of trucking’s wildest moments. Watch as a semi driver somehow wrestles his wildly tipping trailer upright, saving the rig and himself. Cringe at low overpasses and bad motorist behavior, then applaud as truckers leap to help others in times of emergency.

Extreme Makeover – Big Rig Edition: Trucking’s tough enough without having to cope with a cranky, breakdown-prone vehicle. Each week, the Makeover Team comes to the aid of a deserving driver and makes lemonade out of a lemon.

34:  Posing as an over-the-road trucker, Mack Power is really an operative for a top-secret government agency tasked with preventing terrorism on the nation’s roads. Mack’s runs are designed to land him near a potential threat as his 34-hour reset begins. Dodging the FMCSA as well as evil terrorists, Mack races against time to nab the bad guys and still log the required bunk time to head out to his new assignment.

Stay tuned!

Until next time, be safe, make money and get home often. LL