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'Big Tom' has new reality show

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Aug 06 2013 04:35:40 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 06 2013 03:09:51 PM CDT

Local celebrity 'Big Tom' of Survivor fame is working on a new pilot about life on the farm.

SMYTH COUNTY, Va. -

"Big" Tom Buchanan gained a certain amount of notoriety with his appearances on the Survivor show.

He and his family are about to get some more television time with a new show called Family Beef, a reality show based on life on the farm to air on the National Geographic Channel.

City dwellers would love to have a small piece of the heaven called Rich Valley in rural Smyth County, Virginia. It's home to the Buchanan family, one of which is "Big Tom," who gained fame on the hit tv show Survivor.

The area so impressed his fellow Survivor cast member Lex Vandeburg that he approached Big Tom. "He just went on and on about how pretty it is up here. So next thing we knew he said, 'I'm just going to bring a little film crew out here and do a pilot,'" Tom said.

That pilot turned into Family Beef, a reality show about life on the farm and Big Tom's family. "This show shows us surviving the farm, you know. So it's a true survivor story," Tom says.

The show includes three generations of the family that's farmed the land and raised cattle.

"Some of [Tom's] notoriety kind of got us this gig from Survivor and hopefully, if we can bring half to the table with what he did on that show, surely people will be amused and enjoy themselves," son Bo Buchanan said.

For the family it was life as usual, except for 20-plus cameras. "We went to work just like we would any other day except there's cameramen. Every time you turn around you'd hit one in the head," Bo says.

With family working together side-by-side every day, that's where the reality comes into play. "My pawpaw, my dad and me, we're an awful lot alike. Sometimes if you get three people that are that much alike you usually have a lot of drama around, so that's what's you going to get," Bo said.

Only two episodes were shot. They will air back-to-back on the NGC channel; if things don't work out, there's always the farm. "National Geographic wants to see exactly how the demand is and if it's up we're going on with a season. If not, we just back to living the hard life," Bo concluded.

On a little piece of heaven they call home.

For more information about Family Beef click here.