Two families from Hardy, Ark., are set to clash on the Discovery Channel 10 p.m. Feb. 25. The Discovery Channel announced that it will be filming and producing a six-part series called “The Clash of the Ozarks” about a long-time family feud.
Hardy is only about 180 miles from the UofA and is located in the same Ozark mountains as Devil’s Den State Park, which is popular for UA students to hike or camp near.
The feud between the Russel and Evans families began decades ago when one member of the Evans family began a fight at a town dance that resulted in three deaths, according to the trailer available on the Discovery Channel’s website.
"Lack of progression has turned Hardy into a land where emotions and territory conflicts outweigh a law-abiding society as the townspeople fight to protect what is theirs," a Discovery Channel representative said.
The “bad blood” between the families now is not based solely upon the old feud, according to the Discovery Channel. Many in the Hardy community view the Russels as an outlaw family. Crowbar Russel is also against any change that might affect his way of life, which is opposite of the thinking of Kerry Wayne Evans, a patriarch in his family. Evans is all for progress and forward thinking, according to the website.
It may be hard to imagine how two families from such a small town in Arkansas could get involved in a series like this with such a large TV station as Discovery Channel.
“I was approached by Discovery Channel and at first I didn’t want to participate or get involved but they convinced me this would help promote our town and my vision,” Evans said.
Evans also said his favorite part of filming the series was getting to spend time with the crew and seeing how much work goes into the production of a TV show.
As seen in online commentary, there has been a huge amount of negative feedback. People are expressing their concern that this show will reinforce the “hillbilly stigma” in Arkansas.
“I hope that the viewers who watch this show will keep an open mind and realize that everyone has a pre-set notion of certain places in America. When and if they come to visit where the show was filmed they will see that people are people, no matter where they live, and that they come in all makes and models,” Evans said.
UA freshman Emma Sheerin is not such a big fan of the idea of the show. She said she thinks the show will reinforce the hillbilly stereotypes in Arkansas.
“I probably won’t watch it because I don’t have the time and it sounds like reality TV, which is not exactly my thing,” Sheerin said.
Other UA students are more excited than Sheerin by the prospect of watching the show.
UA freshman Madison Scott said she will watch the show because it sounds interesting.