BY JUSTIN CHAN
John Schneider, best known as Bo Duke in the 1980s American sitcom The Dukes of Hazzard, has quite the résumé in acting and singing. As an actor, he’s gone on to portray notable characters in Smallville, Nip/Tuck and 90210. As a country music singer during the 1980s, he released eighteen singles, many of which were widely successful and reached Billboard’s country singles charts.
TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Justin Chan caught up with Schneider to discuss his new show, TRICK MY WHAT?, a new television series on CMT. The show profiles workers throughout Texas and helps them by tricking out their machines.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Many people may recognize you as Bo Duke of The Dukes of Hazzard, while others probably know you as Jon Kent of Smallville. What made you decide to host TRICK MY WHAT??
John Schneider: Well, I’m excited about being able to shine the spotlight on people who work so damn hard. The people we talk to are folks who are out there in the sun, and it’s 120 degrees in Texas. You know they’re laying asphalt. It’s hardworking people. It’s the hardest-working folks in the country. I’d like to think that Jonathan Kent was one of those kinds of people, and I’m attracted to that. I’m attracted to folks who work hard. They need to be celebrated.
TCC: This concept sounds a lot like MTV’s Pimp My Ride, where auto shops trick other people’s cars with jacuzzis and ping-pong tables. How is this different?
JS: Completely [different]. That show is all about the ride. This show is at least 90 percent about the people, because we’re repairing equipment that these folks use to make their living. Now, there is a little bit of tech, a little bit of interior and chrome [replacements] here and a paint job, but the number one thing is that the equipment has to be functional. It still has to be able to lay asphalt. It still has to be able to cut down trees. It still needs to be able to pump septic tanks.
TCC: The show focuses on helping blue-collar workers in Texas who are struggling to make ends meet. How do you relate to them?
JS: When you do a television show, the one thing you know for sure is that it will stop one day, so I relate to it. I’m like everybody. I have an adjustable rate mortgage [for example], and I’d like to think I’m a hardworking guy.
TCC: Speaking of hard work, can you describe some of the work you’ve done on the show?
JS: Well, I’ve paved a parking lot. I poured a dry mix of cement into a driveway. I’ve cut trees down out of a forest that was planted for that purpose 24 years ago. I loaded up a logging truck with a huge thing that looks like one of those grabbers that you find at an arcade. I’ve pumped septic tanks. I’ve done a bit of everything, and I’ve been shrimping in the Gulf on a shrimp boat. It was really cool.
TCC: For those who live in the city and are not familiar with life in the countryside, what about the show do you think will particularly appeal to them?
JS: Even if they live in a city, they’re familiar with concrete. They’re familiar with asphalt. They just don’t know where it comes from and who puts it there. I think the educational part of [the show] will be beneficial. I think it’ll be entertaining to them. Everyone’s going through a tough time, so I’m hoping that people will see folks who are going through a tough time persevering and maybe get some hope out of that.
TCC: Is there a particular person on the show that you identified with the most?
JS: I’d have to say the pig farmer, Willard, because he’s basically in the pig business so his daughter can get an education and a scholarship. They’ve won all kinds of awards and ribbons for their show pigs. She’s been awarded several scholarships, and just this last year, my wife and I went through that with our young daughter, who now has a scholarship for volleyball. She’s going to Savannah College of Art and Design. We have four kids, and she’s the one that got the scholarship, so I ended up identifying with [Willard’s] family the most.
TCC: With all of the help going to residents in Texas, do you think the show will head elsewhere to help other blue collar workers? Is there a particular town you would like to see the show take place?
JS: Definitely, I think it’s going to go everywhere, because we’re going to run out of folks in Texas. Everybody needs a little help. In the theme song of the show, we talk about all kinds of places, so my hope is that we hit the road here after our nine shows and get out there and help a lot more folks. I think it should take place in the whole United States.
Watch TRICK MY WHAT? on CMT, Fridays at 10ET/PT.