For people familiar with the reality TV show South Beach Tow, the first thing that comes to their mind is whether that show was scripted.
And the very next thought would be wondering if Tremont Towing & South Beach Towing are still in business.
South Beach Tow’s cast was filled with eccentric characters which made the show a good reality drama for primetime television.
Be it Bernice, Kosgrove, Ashneoff family members, or Perez, all pleased the viewers equally.
Exactly, for this reason, another question arises: What happened to Gill Perez?
By the end of the show, Perez gained a controlling stake in the towing company and left the family members in disbelief. This, in turn, left the audiences with the biggest cliffhanger in TV history.
The repossession of cars and the daily ordeals of the employees looks like fun and games on cable channels.
But the towing companies in Miami have a notorious reputation which led the local news agency, Miami New Times to feature an entire cover story under the name ‘Beware of South Beach Tow Companies’.
What Happened to South Beach Tow?
South Beach Tow is a reality TV show which used to air on the American cable channel truTV every Wednesday. It had a short run of 3 plus years on the broadcast network.
The show premiered more than a decade ago on July 20, 2011. And the last episode ‘Checkmate’ was aired on December 3, 2014. After a week, a special episode named ‘Bernice’s Top 20 marked the end of the series.
The non-fiction was a product of Jennifer Lopez’s production house Nuyorican Productions and Bodega Pictures. It had a total of 89 episodes (including the bonus episodes) spanning over 4 seasons.
The show is set in the coastal city of Miami, Florida. The TV series gets its name from the neighborhood ‘South Beach’ where the towing business is most active.
The show focuses on Tremont towing company’s day-to-day challenges of running a family business. And the docu-soap mainly revolves around real-life businesspersons (Robert Ashenoff Sr., Christie Ashenoff, Robert “Robbie” Ashenoff Jr.) and their staff members.
The idea of the show came to Christie Ashenoff when the family-owned business picked up Simon Fields’ car (famed television producer) and met with some resistance.
This surreal experience led her to an aha moment and she could see the potential for a television show. Ironically, Simon Fields agreed to come on board and became one of the executive producers.
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Why Was South Beach Tow Cancelled?
South Beach Tow got canceled because the TV executives wanted to rebrand the cable channel wherein, they had plans of making light-hearted shows going forward. This subsequently led them to ditch some of their existing programs.
According to the firm, rebranding was a necessary evil as WarnerMedia’s subsidiary was having an awareness issue. It was producing shows which were pretty similar to what other networks had to offer.
The situation was so bad at truTV that some of the cancelled shows resembled existing ones. Ever since its inception truTV had this problem, i.e. minting money off of similar programs in a particular genre or a theme.
The channel was introduced as Court TV in 1991, which produced crime-themed documentary shows, and legal dramas, and sometimes covered live criminal cases.
All was well for a decade and a half, but the audience started losing interest in CourtTV, and in 2008 the channel was relaunched as truTV.
This time around truTV changed its theme to action-oriented, found footage, and caught on camera docusoaps.
It was so long before this formula stopped working its wonder on the viewers as well. And again in 2014, the network had to be rebranded as ‘The New truTV”.
The brain behind the brand makeover was the former President & Head of programming of truTV, Chris Linn.
Linn was newly appointed in 2013 and it was in his leadership the channel took a U-turn. He wanted to position truTV’s shows as less aggressive and less over the top.
Hence, the era of shows like Impractical Jokers began, which still enjoys good viewership. So much so that it has been approved for the tenth season. Linn knew what was essential and good for the WarnerMedia subsidiary (read more).
The change in leadership and subsequent changes in strategy meant the demise of the South Beach Tow. Coupled with the fact, the show also noticed a dip in its viewership, especially after 2nd season.
Previously the figure would be somewhere around 1.5 million views per episode. After the mid-season finale of the 3rd installment, the viewership took a nosedive, and the show could hardly reach 1 million views per episode.
Where Can You Watch South Beach Tow?
If you’re a fan and want to watch it on an OTT platform with your existing subscription plan, you have another thing coming.
Interested parties would have to cough up $1.99 per episode on Amazon Prime Video or AppleTV to enjoy your beloved reality show.
On the bright side, truTV’s YouTube channel has plenty of bite-sized content available for free.
You might not be able to see the meaty business decisions and the feud between the Ashenoff siblings.
But one can surely enjoy Bernice and J Money’s struggles of automobile repossession and the respective owners’ shenanigans.
Some die-hard fans even hope for a new season as truTV never officially cancelled the show and to top it off, it ended on a cliffhanger.
A low IMDb (Internet Movie Database) rating of 3.8 out of 10 instills no confidence in sceptics.
Brandon Magdzinski, a New Jersey resident had appealed to Time Warner Cable, truTV, and even Netflix on change.org to renew the series for the 5th season.
The petition had an extremely underwhelming response. A mere 103 people showed support and signed this petition, which is unfortunately closed now.
Factoring in all the details it is highly unlikely that this docusoap would be renewed at all. With that said, we live in a rather strange time where more stranger and weirder reboots have happened.
Perhaps a new petition from someone with a strong social media influence might shake things up. Only time will tell the show’s fate.
Is South Beach Tow Staged?
South Beach on paper claims to be a “day in the life” kind of docuseries. This type of documentary notes & records the day-to-day activities of its subjects (or characters).
Think of Academy Award Winning Documentary Free Solo, where the chronicles of professional rock climber Alex Honnold’s everyday activities were recorded.
But at the end of every episode, a disclaimer would pop up stating “The stories portrayed in this program are based on real events”.
And when a spokesperson was confronted on the matter he said “the show features real people and is based on real situations. Due to production needs, some scenes are reenacted.”
After a point in time, truTV admitted that the show was indeed staged. A lot of news agencies and media outlets started spreading various recordings which made it apparent that the program is staged and scripted.
One of the most prominent videos which went viral featured the characters (more like actors) who were patiently waiting for the supposed car owners to overreact in a loud manner and the truck drivers representing the Towing company took multiple shots to get their reactions right.
Once they outed the well-known secret, the over-the-top events became more comical and outlandish as the show progressed. The program producers used this publicity to their advantage very well.
In a notable instance, one of the stars of the series, Bernice, fell from a multi-level car park which would leave any human severely hurt.
But the star being the tough person she is, simply walked back to the parking lot just fine without injuries. Let alone an injury she did not have as much of a scratch on her body.
When her co-star urged her to go to a hospital, she adamantly refused. On top of that, she thrashed the car owner who caused this ‘accident’.
If this doesn’t make it obvious that the show is re-enacted and scripted, nothing will.
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Is Tremont Towing Real?
Tremont Towing is real. Even though the show was scripted, the family business was very much a fully operational venture even before the show aired on television.
Is Tremont Towing Still in Business?
Tremont Towing is still in business and happens to be one of the two leading companies in all of Miami Dade county.
On the other hand, South Beach Towing company which was incorporated by the employees of Tremont Towing shut down shop and closed its operation.
What Happened to Gill Perez?
Gill Perez is alive and kicking. There were many rumors going around the internet that Perez was dead. But his Instagram account says otherwise, as it seems he was active at the time of writing this article.
One more thing piqued many viewers’ curiosity when it comes to Perez. People wanted to know whether he really acquired the 51% stake in Tremont Towing or not.
Since the show is dramatized it is evident that the stuntman turned actor was just following instructions from the creative team. Even his LinkedIn profile says he’s just an actor, not a businessperson.
Beware of South Beach Companies
When the news spread across Miami that Tremont Towing was getting its very own cable TV show. The residents of the county were aghast as the towing companies had a bad reputation for tricking its residents to pay a hefty fee for ‘supposedly violating’ parking regulations.
In 2010, The Tremont Towing workers were even accused of stealing. A video shot by a Miami Beach resident (later obtained by NBC Miami) captured the workers peeking and snooping in & around impounded cars.
The towing company claimed that they have the right to search a repossessed vehicle and denied any malpractice.
But the locals found this disturbing and had a hard time trusting the company’s statements. This led Miami New Times to express its concern (read here), upon the show’s announcement.
And after 2 years of the show’s release, the local news agency published a cover story (know more) accusing Tremont Towing and Beach Towing of maintaining a duopoly.
The story alleged that both the companies pay homeless people and kids to look out for cars that are illegally parked and inform them.
Many Miami residents complained that their four-wheelers got towed illegally and the company often deceived the car owners.
Some people told the news outlet that vehicles parked in front of their houses were being towed as they were in violation of blocking their own driveways.
More serious allegations were also made, like towing company employees stealing the cars, assaulting owners, disguising private parking lots as city lots, etc. People had to shell out hundreds of dollars to release the repossessed cars.
This also could have been one of the reasons for the network to drop the show.
It’s not a great addition to truTV’s portfolio if the company (upon which the show is based) is being defamed and called out for wrongdoings by a local news agency.
After years of cancellation of the program, the active Facebook page “We hate Tremont towing” shows this company has more haters than fans.