The debut of the original series on the History Channel, “Ice Road Truckers” drew a record number of viewers to the cable network.
The June 17 premiere of the so-called docu-reality show drew 3.4 million viewers, the best viewer turnout the History Channel has experienced in its 12 years, according to RealityTVWorld.com.
Not only was the premiere popular, apparently most viewers were immediately hooked. More than 90 percent tuned in for the second episode, according to USA Today.
“Ice Road Truckers” follows the lives of six veteran and rookie truckers who haul freight across frozen Canadian lakes that usually bear their trucks’ weight – but sometimes don’t. The 10-week series chronicles a small two-month window before the ice roads melt back into springs and lakes.
The truckers haul supplies to the Northwest Territories’ diamond mines, which are located in roadless, nearly impassable terrain near the Arctic Circle.
The mainly male viewing audience – at 67 percent, according to USA Today – may very well be drawn to the obvious risk these truckers take with each passage over the ice road.
“If you’re not paying attention and respecting that ice, you’re not going to make it through the season,” Hugh Rowland, a trucker who’s been making the treks for 20 years, told USA Today. “I don’t know anybody who has gone down and come up. I’ve watched them die. I’ve been there.”