Atlanta ties on A&E’s ‘Hustle & Tow’ and Lifetime’s ‘Married at First Sight: Unmatchables’

Atlanta's Hitech Towing is featured in A&E's "Hustle & Tow." Courtesy: Peyton Fulford
Atlanta's Hitech Towing is featured in A&E's "Hustle & Tow." Courtesy: Peyton Fulford

Credit: Peyton Fulford

Credit: Peyton Fulford

Most cable networks for years have relied heavily on reality TV shows. Nowadays, almost any new show is basically a variant of what has been on air before because after two decades and thousands of shows, being truly original is exceedingly difficult.

Take “Hustle & Tow,” which recently debuted on A&E, a docuseries focused on multiple towing companies around the country and the problems they face with folks they have to tow for illegal parking or extricating cars out of dangerous or awkward situations. Atlanta’s Hitech Towing is one of the companies featured.

There have been tow company reality shows in the past. The creators of “Hustle & Tow,” in fact, had the most successful one called “South Beach Tow,” which aired on Atlanta-based truTV from 2011 to 2014 and did re-enactments of towing dramas of yore.

“Hustle & Tow” does not do re-enactments. Instead, camera crews embed themselves with eight different towing companies over a span of months and compiled the most interesting incidents.

The producers said the employees at Hitech were entertaining and liked the situations they found themselves in the city of Atlanta. The first episode, which aired last month, featured Hitech employees surveilling a lot near a club where patrons were not supposed to park.

Hitech employees started hitching a woman’s illegally parked car when she came out super angry and sat on her own vehicle’s hood to try to keep them from leaving. They said they needed $100 to drop the hitch. Eventually, she scrounged up the money, but there were some amusingly tense moments.

“We dug in very deep,” said Joshua Ackerman, executive producer and chief creative officer for Bodega Pictures, “This was absolutely veritê documentary style. It’s an inherently dangerous job. You get a call, and you have no idea what’s on the other side. They are often on major highways with trucks whizzing. Sometimes a first accident causes a secondary one.”

“These people are not risk-averse,” added Benjamin Nurick, president of the company. “They are used to tenuous situations.”

Indeed, Derrick Bailey, who owns Hitech, has been in this line of work for nearly three decades, including the dicey world of repossessing automobiles from people who had reneged on payments. (This show does not focus on repossessions. There have been shows like that on TV like truTV’s “Operation Repo.’)

Bailey said he’s been approached in the past to do reality shows and said no. But this time, he felt the timing was right. His son, DJ, is in the business now and is featured on the show.

He said he was happy how he and his employees were portrayed in the first episode as an African American small business. “I was very proud,” he said. “It was a very positive image.”

Bailey said he has already gotten some inquiries for potential new clients in a very competitive field.

WHERE TO WATCH

“Hustle & Tow,” 10 p.m. Tuesdays on A&E

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Renise will be featured in the May 5 episode of "Married at First Sight: Unmatchables." Courtesy: @WellnessWithAudrey, Audrey Cash
Renise will be featured in the May 5 episode of "Married at First Sight: Unmatchables." Courtesy: @WellnessWithAudrey, Audrey Cash

Credit: @WellnessWithAudrey, Audrey Cash

Credit: @WellnessWithAudrey, Audrey Cash

“Married at First Sight” on Lifetime has focused on finding partners for people ready to get hitched.

But the producers came up with a spin-off show featuring people for whom they couldn’t find a spouse. The show is called “Married at First Sight: Unmatchables.” The entire season was shot in Atlanta with Atlantans, first names only.

Pastor Cal Roberson and Dr. Viviana Coles try to help two of these Atlantans at a time per episode. The first episode features a sexually inhibited woman who has serious gas issues and is dubbed “gassy lady.” Then there’s a man who is super stuck in his routine and only likes particular smells and is called “picky smeller.” Episode two features a woman who is too competitive and a man who tries to ride by on his own good looks, not conversational skills.

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Lifetime placed me on the phone with 34-year-old Spelman College graduate, Renise, who will appear on an episode set to air May 26.

The former flight attendant’s primary problem is she is super aggressively sexual. “I never have a problem getting a date,” she said. Keeping them around longterm has been a problem. She’s had a couple of relationships last two years but nothing that led to the altar.

“I don’t want to be alone,” she said. “I want to settle down.”

And despite her strong personality, she said she wants to be wooed. “I don’t want to do all the pursuing,” she said. “I want the guy to take charge. I just can’t find the right man.”

Hopefully, the therapists will help her be more vulnerable, compromise and relinquish control. When she loses trust, it’s hard to get it back.

“I can’t be spiteful,” Renise said. “That is something I have to work on.”

Given all her sexual predilections, she is cool with Lifetime showing that, though “it might be shocking to my family.”

WHERE TO WATCH

“Married at First Sight: Unmatchables,” 10 p.m. Wednesdays on Lifetime

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