Courtesy of Reelz
By Jonas Weir
When the Colorado production company High Noon Entertainment was looking for new place to film a TV show, its CEO Jim Berger knew just where to look: the Show-Me State.
“Being the only Missourian, I often say, ‘Hey guys, let’s looks at Missouri,’” he says. “’And if we’re in Missouri, let’s look at Branson.’”
Although he’s lived in Colorado for the past thirty years, Jim grew up in St. Louis and went to college at Mizzou. When he was child, his family took a memorable vacation to Branson. And later in his college years, he worked summers in Little Rock, Arkansas, and drove through the Ozarks on his trips home to St. Louis. During that time, he grew an affection of the area.
“It’s a beautiful part of the state,” Jim says. “And Branson is the Vegas of the Midwest.”
After the company took his advice, High Noon Entertainment began filming a reality show in downtown Branson for the Discovery Channel in 2013. The show, Game of Pawns, was set at Branson Pawn on Commercial Street and focused on everyday happenings at Ozarks pawn shop. While the High Noon team was trying to make the show a hit, they stumbled across some new stars.
High Noon Entertainment did not have to search for its next show; it was hand-delivered to the company.
Scott Thompson—owner of Branson Cab Service—took upon himself to shoot a tape and give it to the production crew of Game of Pawns—just in case they were looking for another Branson-based reality show.
“He’s quite an entrepreneur,” Jim says.
Scott’s premise was less Branson Cab Confessions and more Taxi, but real and in the Midwest. His colorful staff features his daughter Jade, dispatch manager Karen, shop foreman Tom, the house mechanic Rusty, marketing staffers Tessa and Dawnell, and the drivers, Jeff, Steve, and Bobby. And in this staff, the people at High Noon Entertainment saw an all-star cast.
“The characters who work at his shop are just funny,” Jim says. “They’re hilarious.”
Now what started as an amateur video reel has turned into a full-fledged television: Branson Taxi premieres on the Reelz Network on June 6, 2015, at 8:30 pm. And this season is packed with entertaining episodes that showcase the state.
In the first episode, Scott tries to redeem his company after a big spender has a bad experience, and each subsequent episode will bring a new plot, including one that may or may not feature a Missouri Life writer. Tune in, and keep an eye out for your favorite Branson landmarks.
And if you’re in Branson, make sure to catch one of Scott’s cabs. Who knows? If the series does well, you might end up on episode in season two.