Corvette lovers, mark your calendars for mid-January 2013. Thats when SPEED will wish you a happy new year with its latest car-guy (and -gal) show, called Vetted, A Corvette Series. The 13-episode, half-hour series celebrates the Corvette culture from its inception more than 60 years ago, through its classic muscle-car years, into its current incarnation as a world-class sports car, and beyond.
I came up with the idea for the show after listening to my partner, Ken Rouse, tell me about all the Corvette clubs in the country and all their activities, Stan Kmet, the president of Alpha & Omega Entertainment Group, tells VETTE in an exclusive interview. I have loved the design of the Corvette over the years and thought it would make a great TV show. I wrote it up and submitted it to a producer friend in Hollywood who liked the concept and encouraged me to go for it. A dear friend, Peter Simone, introduced me to Drew Waters. I thought he would make a great host for the show.
Waters, a self-described car nut with a passion for muscle cars and the Corvette, is a seasoned Hollywood actor. He has enjoyed on-camera roles in eight television shows, including the part of Coach Wade Aikman in the hit series Friday Night Lights. He has also appeared in 14 motion pictures, including Blonde Ambition, Mad Money, and Inspector Mom, and hell be seen in the soon-to-be released films Cowgirls n Angels and Charlie and the Toy Store.
Hes joined by co-host Jeff Hammond, who is Fox Sports NASCAR weekly prerace show host.
VETTE had the opportunity to sit down with Waters after the taping of Vetteds pilot episode. Lets see what he had to say about the fastest-moving weekly half-hour Corvette show to ever hit the airwaves.
VETTE magazine: Drew, thanks for taking time from your busy Hollywood schedule to talk about your new TV show. Please tell us about it.
Drew Waters: I know your readers will be really excited about Vetted. Its filled with fast Corvettes, as well as celebrities and everyday people alike whose lives revolve around the brand.
VM: Is Vetted a reality show or an episodic documentary?
DW: I think it is right in the middle. Reality is such a harsh word in todays society, because viewers think its all about big personalities. In contrast, Vetted is what the Corvette brand has done to a generation. But its not a true documentary, either. In 13 episodes, well bring viewers the drama of victory and failure from the people who build, own, restore, race, and compete [in] Corvettes. Instead of pigeonholing it, Id rather say the shows format is a great storytelling platform, with the Corvette, of course, as its central theme.
VM: Did the idea for the show come from Corvettes 60th anniversary, or from the news of the upcoming C7?
DW: Actually, it was neither. The shows development team sat down and talked about why we really wanted to put this show out. It didnt necessarily have anything to do with either of the events you mention. We wanted to do it because of what the Corvette stands for.
VM: And that is?
DW: In one word, camaraderie. It stands for a 100,000-plus-strong group of individuals who come together because they love their Corvettes. You get Corvettes together, whether its a 53 or a 13 or any model year in between, and its like a brotherhood. Thats what we really call out on Vetted.
VM: With that said, does the show emphasize any one Corvette generation over another?
DW: I think we treat them all with equal stature. Its been a long run for the brand, and you really havent seen any of the generations die off. Each generation, without exception, has a true loyal following.
01 Vetted creator Stan Kmet (on left) and host Waters instruct a crowd of Corvette fans before filming scenes for a first-season episode.02 Vette fans, get ready for Vetted. Produced and hosted by actor Waters (shown) and NASCAR's Jeff Hammond, the show promises a non-stop thrill ride through 60 years of Corvette culture. The Velocity Yellow '12 ZR1 seen here is but one example of the many Vettes that appear on the show.03 Kirk Bennion, the C6's exterior designer, provides an insider's description of the '11 Z06X show car.
VM: Sixty years of Corvette performance is a lot to squeeze into 13 episodes. Did you find it a challenge?
DW: First of all, I think we have to start at the beginning to convey how big the Corvette brand is and where it came from. I agree it's almost impossible to do it in 13 episodes. Instead we purposefully sought out stories, which will hopefully have our viewers saying, "Wow, I never knew that about the Corvette."
VM: For you, what's one of the most dramatic never-before-told Corvette stories you'll bring to audiences?
DW: I'm excited that we hooked up with some of the men who were involved in the Corvette's initial hand-built production in '53. We were amazed that there are still some of these old dogs out there who started that assembly-line pushing. You've got to believe me when I tell you that their stories are amazing!
VM: Without giving away the secrets to every episode, what else can your audience expect from Vetted?
DW: We'll have modern-day celebrities from within the car world, such as Rick Hendrick and Ken Lingenfelter. We're also working out the details of taking two of the meanest Corvettes out there to an undisclosed track, putting two celebrities in the drivers' seats, and capturing the unscripted action. I can't divulge any more on that subject.
VM: Are there any planned episodes that won't make it into production?
DW: Yes, we lost the opportunity to show our viewers the Bowling Green, Kentucky, Corvette assembly line like they've never seen before. The reason is that GM is making the 2014 Corvette molds in privacy, and they shut the plant down.
VM: What will hard-core Corvette hobbyists see in the show that's new even to them?
DW: Hardcore Corvette hobbyists? It's hard to find something new to them [laughter]. It's not an easy task, my friend. Regardless, I have to tell you, I think we found a few collector Corvettes out there that people are going to be shocked to [discover] still exist. We have a few one-of-ones, which will be in the series, and we didn't know they still existed. Once you see them, we think you'll be as excited as we are. We expect Corvette lovers to say, "I didn't know that car was still around."
VM: What's been the wildest idea for the show, even if it's still in the concept stage?
DW: That's an excellent question. We were approached by an individual whose friend is building an airstrip in Italy. I went to GM and asked, "Can we get three Corvettes-red, white, and blue-and put them in a plane and drop them off in Italy and ride around a little bit?" That would be a fun ride. You take the right people with the right story running around Europe in Corvettes, and find groups over there that have a passion and love for the Corvette, too. It does one big thing: It brings the world even closer together.
As of press time, SPEED has not yet released final dates and times for Vetted. Visit www.speed.com for up-to-date scheduling information.
04 Here's some of what you won't see on the screen. The video production crew does its work as Bennion talks to the show's audience about the Corvette.05 The show demonstrates strength in numbers in its pilot episode, and producers hope that TV audiences will respond in kind.06 Vetted's goal is to give back to the community, as in this auction to benefit the National Corvette Museum.