Uncle Henry’s motto — “You can’t keep a good dickerer down” — is a sentiment the publication’s general manager, local stars and fans are embracing in the wake of the History Channel’s recent decision to cancel “Down East Dickering.”
Kevin Webb, general manager of Uncle Henry’s Swap or Sell It Guide, said Tuesday that conversations about not shooting a third season began last week.
The reality TV show follows local barterers Roland “Yummy” Raubeson of Minot and his son, Mitch, along with Bethel residents Tony Bennett, his Jack Russell terrier Duke, and Chris “Codfish” Codwell, among others, as they dicker for anything under the sun, using Uncle Henry’s — or what they call “the Bible” — as a guide.
Webb said he’d heard different reasons for the show’s cancellation, including that the History Channel wanted to capture a specific audience and didn’t reach enough of that demographic.
“If you look at the numbers of the show, they’re pretty strong,” he said. “I think the show has a very strong audience and a very devoted audience from around the country.”
People working for the History Channel know more about the TV business than he does, Webb said, but he believes the late start to the second season, along with breaks around the holidays, hurt the show. There’s also some who doubt the show’s authenticity.
“Anybody who doesn’t believe there’s reality behind the reality show needs to spend half a day with Yummy or Tony,” Webb said. “Tony used to barter deals with us at Uncle Henry’s long before the show.”
Bennett said the majority of the show’s haters are people who knew the cast members from their past.
“Half the people who know me don’t like me, so I get it from everybody,” he said. “They either love me or they hate me.”
Webb was hopeful that the show will go on and has been encouraged by online support from fans, such as Jason Perkins.
When Perkins, of Pittsfield, and his wife, Jerrylynn, learned Friday that the show wouldn’t return for a third season, they were upset.
“We just got into following it every week,” Perkins said by phone Tuesday. “By Saturday, I got it in my head that I hadn’t seen anyone supporting it on Facebook yet. I asked (Jerrylynn) if she could create a page and see if we could get anyone to follow it.”
So the “Bring Back Down East Dickering” Facebook page was created Saturday night — and follow they did.
“Within 24 hours, we had 3,500 likes,” Perkins said. “It kind of took off. We were thinking a couple hundred of our friends might like it. We were pretty surprised.”
As of Wednesday morning, the page had 5,112 likes.
Bennett said he was impressed with the response from fans and was happy to have made new friends and
connections during his time with “Down East Dickering.”
“It’s just nice to know that we have a nice, loyal following,” he said. He said he was proud of the way the show made people feel. “They can sit down and they can just forget their problems because they’re so into it for so many different reasons.”
Bruce Thomas of Guilford is another star of the show. He said Tuesday he was disappointed the History Channel didn’t sign them for a third season, but he does have a life. He’s been blown away by the response from fans.
“I am amazed (and) humbled,” he said.
He said he didn’t expect such a rousing response to the Perkins’ Facebook page in such a short time. “We waited a year and a half to get 3,700 likes on our Facebook page. People are disappointed that this is potentially going away. It was good TV. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good TV.”
The Perkins’ effort to bring back the show isn’t the only one circulating online. There’s a petition on Care2 Petitions to resurrect the show. As of Wednesday morning, there were 1,307 signatures with the goal of 2,000.
Raubeson, who is in West Palm Beach, Fla., working for a construction company and doing some Southern dickering, said by phone Tuesday that he’s been overwhelmed with the response from fans about not continuing the show.
“I’ve met so many people and so many people I am probably never going to meet. I just thank them all,” he said.
Raubeson agreed that fans were more disappointed about hearing the news than he was. He didn’t ask when he got the call why the History Channel opted to not go for a third season.
“That was just one of my many adventures I’ve had in my life. I am sure there’s going to be many more,” he said. “It was a real good experience for me and my son, and I think the best part was I got to share something like that with my son to give him a memory he will never forget.”
He plans to keep in touch with his fans on Facebook and through other means. If the show isn’t brought back, Raubeson will keep on keeping on as he always has, he said.
“If they come back, they come back. If they don’t, it was fun while it lasted,” he said.
But Webb is hopeful that “Downeast Dickering” will make a come back, whether it be in its current form with History or another, saying there’s a number of options available.
“(History) can come back and say, ‘We’re going to pick this up. My guess is they won’t close the door with all the investment on their website until they’re 100 percent certain they’re not coming back,” he said.
But there’s also options to continue the show without the History Channel.
“I am convinced there is a deal out there where it would make sense to have the right players still involved,” Webb said. “I am optimistic at this point that we will have positive news in the near future.”
Bennett promised the show must got on.
“You’re not done seeing us as far as I’m concerned,” he said.