Tom Stuker may be the most famous person you've never heard of -- unless, of course, you're in auto sales. Stuker is to car dealerships as Tabatha Coffey is to hair salons: a highly sought-after consultant with the plainspoken, proven power to get stalled businesses moving again.
Now, Stuker may be giving Coffey a run for her money in her adopted milieu of reality television: Spike TV has commissioned six episodes of Car Boss, a reality show centered around Stuker, who is billed as "the greatest car salesman of our time". Though Stuker's website offers online training, we assume that the bulk of the action on Car Boss will involve Stuker's nearly nonstop travel to right wrongs at dealerships around the globe.
(NB: In the course of doing his job, Stuker has logged a staggering 10,000,000 frequent flier miles. The George Clooney film Up in the Air wasn't technically Stuker's story, but it bore a lot of similarities.)
Though Stuker's record of accomplishment is impressive, we're curious to see how he'll translate to a reality show. Somehow he manages to keep a fairly low profile, and given the tone of this interview on 20/20, he seems pretty softspoken, too. As much as we love that rare combination of modesty and success, we hope he can up his game for the cameras. After all, no one ventures into the shark-filled waters of reality TV to make friends.
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Spike TV Picks Up New Original Series 'InkMasters' and 'Car Boss'
Network Orders Six Episodes Of "InkMasters" From Charlie Corwin's Original Media And Eight Episodes Of "Car Boss" From Electus, Ben Silverman's Multimedia Studio
NEW YORK, March 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Spike TV has ordered two new, unscripted series, "InkMasters" and "Car Boss," that further the network's mission to broaden its audience, it was announced today by Sharon Levy, Spike TV's executive vice president, original series and animation. The network will pick up six one-hour episodes of "InkMasters" and eight one-hour episodes of "Car Boss." "InkMasters" goes into production in May and will air this summer while "Car Boss" will begin shooting this summer and will premiere in 2012.An estimated 40 million Americans have at least one tattoo. So who is the country's preeminent tattoo artist? "InkMasters" is the first-ever tattoo competition series featuring some of the nation's top tattoo artists on a quest to determine who is the best at their craft and win a huge cash prize. The stakes are high as the artists showcase their irrevocable artwork on real people's bodies. The dramatic tension is ever-present as the artists will ultimately face the opinion of the living canvas who now bears a permanent souvenir of the "InkMasters" etched into his or her skin.
"InkMasters" will be divided into five one-hour semifinal rounds and a one-hour championship finale. Each episode will focus on a specific tattoo genre such as portraits, tribal or cover-up. Throughout the competition, the artists will battle it out in various tattoo challenges such as duplication of a landscape painting or creation of a tribal tattoo using individual initials. These unique challenges will test the artists' technical skills and on-the-spot creativity where they must create and execute an original tattoo on command.
A huge factor in the show will be the client's emotional response to the tattoo. The artist will have a wide variety of clients to deal with, ranging from someone getting his or her first tattoo, to a connoisseur with a full sleeve of body art. Satisfying the individual whose skin now bears the artists' handiwork will be a major element in determining the victor.
The show includes three judges (currently tbd) serving on the panel, who are ubiquitous in the tattoo world. In the end, one winner will take home the cash prize and the title of the "Ultimate InkMaster" will be bestowed.
"The real stakes on this show are higher than any other competitive reality show," said Levy. "You cannot simply take off a tattoo as easily as you can a dress because the stitching is off or reject a dish because it's not prepared properly. We are also thrilled to work with Charlie Corwin who has an incredible track record in building franchise series."
"InkMasters" is produced by Original Media and Charlie Corwin is executive producer of the series. Original Media currently has thirteen television series on air including the hit shows "Miami Ink," "LA Ink," "The Rachel Zoe Project," "The Gayle King Show," "Storm Chasers," and "BBQ Pitmasters." Headquartered in New York, Original Media is a subsidiary of Endemol USA.
"Car Boss" showcases renowned auto dealership 'doctor' Tom Stuker, whose innovative and brazen methods for selling cars has made him a venerable legend in the industry. Stuker has traversed the globe, logging over 10 million air miles, visiting over 1,500 auto dealerships in desperate need of his guidance.
In each episode, Stuker, along with his car-savvy team, travel to a different dealership in financial straits. With his signature black cowboy hat and boots, Stuker's larger-than-life persona is instrumental in galvanizing the attention and respect of the dealership employees. His blunt talk may rub some of the salespeople the wrong way, but his tough-love approach and keen sense of the business ultimately delivers unmatchable success.
"America has always been fascinated with the art of the deal," said Levy. "No one incorporates that more than the greatest car salesman of our time, Tom Stuker. His incomparable way of connecting with people while implementing a strategically distinctive way of selling cars will be of keen interest of our broadening audience. And who better to develop this series than one of the industry's finest -- Ben Silverman's multimedia studio, Electus."
"Car Boss" is created and developed by Vem Miller in association with Vem's Sweatshop Media and produced by Ben Silverman's multimedia studio Electus, an operating business of IAC (Nasdaq: IACI), and 5x5 Media, a full service production company in an overall production and distribution agreement within the Electus studio system.
Spike TV is available in 99.4 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. A unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), MTV Networks is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV's Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike TV's press site at http://www.spike.com/press. Follow us on Twitter @spiketvpr for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.