The road to getting the hit reality show Bad Granny on local TV started with a dare.To hear Jason Reese tell the origin story of Bad Granny, the dare was dished out by company director/TV show producer Stephanie Pemberton one day after she saw Reese's truck get flipped over on an offroad Las Cuevas beach run. The entire Bad Granny venture is Pemberton's brainchild, he said."Steph is really the backbone for all of this. I just love cars. My mom says since I was born, I've been playing with cars." Falling in love with the idea of a monster jeep of her own, Pemberton was stunned to learn that Reese had actually built his truck from scratch and had been building cars since the age of 16. Thus the dare was born.
That event in October 2012 sparked a fast, furious and almost surreal eight-month journey that took Reese, Jason Comach and Jesse Lee Lum from casual friends to business partners, customising cars under the Bad Granny company name, and later on creating the TV show.Pemberton sought out a second-hand jeep to customise into her dream ride, but in a moment of panic and buyer's remorse, the condition of the jeep put a significant damper on her expectations. However, over the next few months, Reese valiantly set about rebuilding the soft-top Jimny. That led to his reconnecting with Comach, and what began as simple patch job on a rusted chassis escalated into new tyres, rims, fancy colour-spraying with sticker wrapping and a custom-fit and stretched cover, all while keeping the costs down through refitting, custom building and refurbishing.
The collaboration sparked innovation, creativity and camaraderie that resulted in a level of service, skill and attention to detail unusual in T&T car modification shops. In November the company was incorporated and the working relationship between "Jesse and the Jasons" inspired a business model out of which Bad Granny the company and the reality TV show was born.In spite of some initial production challenges, the first episode, Bad Granny Freezes Over, was filmed by James O'Connor and the Jtography film crew two weeks before Carnival 2013. On May 25, the world premiere was aired on TV6 to considerable social media buzz and rave reviews.According to Pemberton, the response to the online upload of the episode was even greater. "The success of the show has only been possible because of the fans–especially on Facebook, YouTube and other social media. The response has been really great."
Creating a television product loved by its fan base has assisted with the challenges of getting the show on local TV."With sponsors, they don't want to back anything unless it's a success. Unless it's out there and people like it, it's not going to get funded–and, of course, you have to start small." With over 12,000 and more "likes" on Facebook and more than 7,000 views of the first episode online, all signs show the Bad Granny momentum is growing. Leveraging that growing audience into funding remains one of Bad Granny's main goals."The marketing side of the show with sponsors has been tough," Pemberton said. "That's how business works in Trinidad. When we realised we had to pay for the airtime we decided that the way we are doing it is by getting sponsors to pay for production and airtime and we'll do the rest ourselves."The show, with a new director in Marcus Gomez, has officially moved to CNC3. The continuation of season one involves a special Triumph custom-build, plus more cars, trucks and a mystery personality who will be joining one of the shows to add some "girl power" to the team.
Episode two of the show, Bad Granny gets Beezee, is scheduled to air on August 29 on CNC3, with follow-up postings of each episode on the Bad Granny Facebook page.