Mike Fleiss recently revealed he doesn’t watch reality TV despite revolutionizing the genre. However, he does have one show that’s reeled him in: He admits Wicked Tuna is his top TV indulgence.
The unscripted series, which follows commercial tuna fishermen in the North Atlantic, is rich in human drama and the real-life stakes of a dangerous profession. It examines the challenges of commercial fishing, wrapped up in a package of engaging storytelling and environmental awareness. Additionally, it provides an in-depth look into the bluefin tuna industry, and the sea of challenges and skills required to attempt this type of fishing.
The show debuted in 2012, and its fifth season snagged an average of 1.1 million viewers. The show’s 12th season hit Disney+ in August.
“I’ll put that on the background just to watch those guys catch fish when I’m not on my boat,” Fleiss says of the fishing show.
It makes sense that Mike Fleiss would be into it: He’s an angler himself. “I’m an avid fisherman,” says Fleiss, who has participated in some of the biggest fishing tournaments in the world.
When asked to share his favorite fish tale, the Hollywood executive confesses he once landed a 280-pound tuna.
And it turns out that guilty pleasure shows can be good for you. “Playing a video game or watching a movie or television can restore some psychological resources,” Robin Nabi, a professor of communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara who specializes in media effects and emotion, told The New York Times.
So-called “guilty pleasures” can often provide a form of escapism, allowing viewers to unwind and de-stress as they immerse themselves in a different world. These shows usually require less mental effort to understand and enjoy, making them ideal for relaxation. In a world that can be filled with stressful news, a guilty pleasure show can provide a much-needed distraction.
In addition to Wicked Tuna, Fleiss, who admits he grew up watching a lot of TV, finds plenty of value in the David Chase series The Sopranos. While the mob-fueled drama hit HBO in 1999, it remains a timeless classic in the TV realm due to its complex characters, dynamic dialogue, and overall authenticity.
“It feels more real than any other scripted show or any other reality show for that matter,” Fleiss says of the show that starred the late, great James Gandolfini as kingpin Tony Soprano. “It’s flawless.”
The series finale garnered nearly 12 million viewers and forever changed the way classic rock band Journey’s hit “Don’t Stop Believin’” is remembered.
However, Fleiss doesn’t have much time these days to sit and watch television. He’s getting ready to head out on the road with Grateful Young.
“I have a new band that I’m starting with my longtime friend Pat Mayer, who I played in bands with since the ’80s,” says Fleiss. “We have a new tribute band. We both love the Grateful Dead, and we both love Neil Young, and we both played in tribute bands around those two artists.”
Fleiss, who has previously jammed with Eddie Van Halen, will be joining Mayer on lead and rhythm guitar as they head out for adventure, playing music in California and Oregon. But the real question is, will Mike Fleiss be bringing along his treasured hollow-body Barney Kessel Gibson guitar?
Much like a riveting reality show, we will just have to wait and see.