Orange County Choppers Pitches New Crowdsourced Online Show

In the not so distant past Orange County Choppers was a household name. The TV show, featuring the Teutul family and their bike building shop, spawned legions of devoted fans who faithfully tuned in each week to watch American Chopper. The show was compelling as much for the mercurial relationship between Paul Teutul, Sr. and son Paul, Jr. as it was for the theme bikes the company built for big money corporations. But the trappings of fame helped cause the show’s eventual downfall, from dissolution of the original dynamic that made it successful to several lawsuits to a national economy that tanked near the end of filming to the continuously changing cycle of trends in motorcycling. Throw in bad business decisions to the equation and you have the inevitable fall of OCC’s empire.

But on Friday, January 13th, Orange County Choppers posted an interview on its Facebook announcing its intentions to launch a new online show.

“This is the very first episode of the NEW show. It’s going to be ONLINE so that you can watch it anywhere at anytime. This gives us so much more freedom!” posted OCC.

OCC Mikey and Paul, Teutul, Sr. discuss launching a new online OCC show

Mikey and Paul Teutul, Sr. discuss the launch of a new OCC show online. (Photo courtesy of OCC Facebook)

The company is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Patreon to pay for the new project. The business model proposes higher levels of direct interaction with the OCC crew contingent on tiered donations. For a $10 donation people will get to see new OCC episodes before they’re released to the public. For $25 per month, OCC offers a livestream where fans can watch the new episodes with the OCC crew and take part in a Q&A session afterwards. They are also privy to a 24 hour live stream of the shop in addition to access to the early release episodes. For a $250 per month contribution, people get to participate in a monthly live video chat with Paul, Sr. in addition to all the different perks offered at lower levels.

In order to make a brand new episode every month, OCC states it needs to hit a $6,000 goal to cover costs. If it hits the $24,000 goal, “you will get a new episode every week.” OCC’s Patreon Campaign officially launches Friday, Jan. 20th. Here’s more information courtesy of an OCC Facebook post.

“We are working on some EXCLUSIVE stuff that you will see later for our Producers, and we are also talking to some people about EXCLUSIVE appearances (wink wink)…but we cannot tell you who, or make it happen without YOU.

If you truly want the show to return, and want to be part of the content decisions, head to OCCFAN.com and sign up as a Producer NOW!

If we can get enough support, the show is coming back. Our goal is to get to where we’re making one per week! So, will you help us reach that goal? If everyone who sees/reads this post would just pledge $1, we would get there.

Also, anyone who signs up between now and Friday will get an EXCLUSIVE live interview with Paul Sr. and the crew, where you get to ask them questions.

You will also get entered in to win a LOT of CUSTOM OCC swag! And it will all be signed by the crew!

SO, please head over to OCCFAN.com and become a show PRODUCER. We appreciate it, and again if you cannot help, which we understand, please just share this post!”

The latest Facebook interview is fairly candid. In it Sr. admits they mishandled a lot of money, Mikey going further by saying he either “pissed away or gave away” his share. Among those decisions was building the enormous OCC HQ with a huge overhead that their means no longer cover. Mikey noted there were also plenty of what he calls “chiselers” employed at the time. When interviewer Foster asked about the current state of the company, Sr. shook his head and said ““In the pits. We’re in the bottom of the hole,” adding that they’re doing anything they can to stay afloat, from repairing quads, snowmobiles, cars, to restoring garage finds.

On the flipside, OCC does have a strategy in place to help right the ship. The company’s preparing to take a trip to Motor Bike Expo in Italy this weekend because Sr. says OCC is starting a parts line for the European market in addition to launching a clothing line overseas as well. Paul, Sr. said the brand is still pretty popular in Europe.

As for the decision to air the show online, production costs are much lower. It also gives OCC full creative control, something it didn’t have before. OCC stated it will allow them to give the audience more than what’s possible with a regular show by giving the audience a voice in what airs. Then there’s the perks OCC offers contingent on the amount people donate.

While it would be easy enough to dismiss Orange County Choppers attempt to launch a new show, consider this. In only three days the latest interview has 151,000 views and 671 shares. A peek at the comments section shows that the company still has a lot of fans out there who want to see new shows, an audience that extends internationally. And publicly admitting that you made bad business decisions and the empire you once built crumbled because of those decisions takes courage and humility. Whether OCC will get a few more minutes added to their 15 minutes of fame we’ll  just have to wait and see.