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The rest of 'Deadliest Catch' season devoted to Captain Phil Harris

Jake and Josh When Captain Phil Harris of Discovery Channel's hit series "Deadliest Catch" died in February, the network didn't know how -- or if -- it would follow the tragedy on air. The tough-as-nails fishing boat captain had insisted that producers keep filming to capture the aftermath of his stroke and what turned out to be his final days.

Discovery has now decided how to pay homage to the reality show star, a salty, tattooed chain-smoker and fan favorite, by devoting a number of upcoming episodes to him. In essence, the remainder of the current sixth season will focus on Harris, including remembrances from his crew and other cast members, a retrospective of his life's work and never-seen footage of the fisherman.

"Deadliest Catch" is in the middle of a ratings tear, with double-digit audience increases over last season.  It's been winning its time period consistently since its April premiere, when it pulled in 4.6 million viewers, its biggest audience ever.

Next Tuesday, fans will see an episode that will include the stroke Harris had while offloading snow crabs with his Cornelia Marie crew, including sons Jake and Josh. (Crews from Original Productions, the company behind "Deadliest Catch" and a number of other extreme job series, had been filming at the time). Later episodes will focus on Harris' death at an Anchorage hospital and a crew celebration of his life, New Orleans-style.

The dedicated special, "Deadliest Catch: Captain Phil Harris Remembered," will air July 20.

"I wish this would never have been a story line of the series," said Clark Bunting, president and general manager of Discovery Channel and Science Channel, "but I am proud of the heart and emotion we have worked so hard to put into these very special episodes as a tribute to Phil."

It was important for the network to be sensitive to Harris' family and yet accurately capture the tragic turn of events for the docusoap, Bunting said. The result is meant to give fans "a sense of closure and a chance to grieve," he said.

Fans, already bracing for the upcoming episodes, have been blogging Wednesday about Tuesday night's show and its confrontation between Harris and his heir-apparent son, Jake, who's fallen into addiction and stolen some of his father's pain medication. "I want you out of my life," Harris yelled at his son. "You're out of my life." The blowup between the two was shocking and heartbreaking, fans wrote, because of Harris' death not long afterward.

"It was such a big reveal, and it was even more poignant because I'm watching these relationships so closely and so differently now, knowing what's happened," said David Bulhack, a longtime fan. "I'm more glued to the show than ever."

Harris, whose dangerous job and unhealthy lifestyle had obviously been catching up with him for some time, said during episodes this season that he didn't feel like he'd live to a ripe old age.

The rest of the season may be painful because everyone knows the outcome, but fans say they'll keep watching.

"How can you not keep watching?" Bulhack said. "We only have so much of Phil left, and I think I'm watching with a greater appreciation of him."

-- T.L. Stanley

 Photo: Jake and Josh. Credit: Discovery Channel.




Comments () | Archives (35)

Here's to fair winds and following seas Capt. Phil. Cheers.

R.I.P. Captain Phil

I won't miss a minute of the next episodes with Capt. Phil. My mom and I were so sad when he passed, then she died from a stroke too just a week after he did. I imagine them somewhere smoking, drinking, eating crab, and BSing together.

RIP Mom and Capt.Phil.

God Bless and God rest Captain Phil. I wish the best to his family, God Bless them all.

Thanks to him and to all the people who let people view some of their most private moments and show us a profession with noble, hard working people.

Captain Phil has been our favorite since the beginning! We will miss him so much. We never miss an episode and plan to watch every single one. Yes it will be a bit hard, but Phil wanted his story told. We would never desert him in the end.

I've been watching this show since day one, and Phil was always one of my favorites. He will be dearly missed and will always remain in my heart and in my thoughts. And to Josh and Jake, I hope you guys will continue to fish to continue his legacy, I'm sure he would want ya'll to do so.

Here,here, I am loving every minute of each episode this year. Yet I am also afraid of what is to come in the next few weeks. It may be hard to watch but I guarentee I will be watching. It will finally bring closure to Capt. Phil's passing for me, and it will definatly be an emotional end to season 6. Which by far has been the best season so far because of Phil's passing. May he continue to rest in peace on the bering sea where Jake and Josh scattered his ashes shortly after his services.

God Bless his Family and Good luck Jake & Josh may the Lord be with you all

The blowup between Phil and his son is so sad, especially with his death after.
His son must be torn up! DUI after his dad died.

Our family loves this show. Captain Phil Harris will be missed, alot. Black Cat Firecrackers to you Captain Phil. My heart and thoughts are with Phil's family and hope they learn to live with their loss.

Phil will be missed big time . He was definately the coolest!! Josh & Jake are lucky to have had a pops like him.Now its all good memories & time to use what he taught you guys & take care of business! Itmust Have been pretty awesome being out there with your DAD. YOU could tell he was diggin it being fishin with his kids. RIGHT ON & GOOD LUCK

Miss you Captain Phil! I hope you are fishing without pain in Heaven!! Rest in peace. Our Thoughts and prayers are with Josh and Jake.

R.I.P. Captain Phil...I have 2 boys myself & my heart goes out to yours. You were an Extraordinary Father...Hats off to you on this Father's Day & always...May your sons continue to carry on the torch at sea, in your memory!!!

I wish nothing but the best for the family. My husband and I have watched the show since it began and many things are hard to believe. The lord obvious needed captain phil and hopefully his son will get over his addiction. Things in this life happen for a reaon and he died doing what he loved to do and that is being a crab fisherman. May the sea guide you to your destiny

We will be watching the show this tuesday as well with Heavy hearts. I cried for days after the news broke of the Death of Capt Phil. And When I seen Jon from the Time Bandit get emotional last week after the show with Mike Rowe. He is missed by millions Friends, Family and Fans alike. Jake I hope you get the help you need and get back out there and carry on your dad's Legency. Our Hearts go out to Phils Dad and Children.

Missing you Captain Phil. God Bless you always. God Bless Jake and Josh and the crew of the Cornelia Marie. You're the best.

This is reality television.
I have watched Captain Phil over the years and it has been interesting to watch the interactions between him and the boys. You can tell that under the gruff smoky exterior that he loves them and wants them to succeed.

The decision to keep filming is interesting. Phil must have assumed that this was a possibility. We should feel honored that he and his family thought enough of the fans to include us at a time like this.

Captian Phil will always be one of my favorites. I will watch uniti the end so to make sure to get all that I can. I love watching him with his son's thru the screaming matches and the making up. I hope and pray that Jake has gotten the help that he and his dad talked about getting for his sake and to make his dad proud. God bless you Captian Phil we will miss you!!! We know you are sitting up there on your beautiful crab boat sailing away and still catching those wonderful crabs!!!

we were not aware of Phil's death because our youngest son died February 9, 2010, and we were out of it. Tuesday's episode broke our hearts as we watched Phil and Jake deal with the same thing we dealt with with our son. although our son remained clean for 4 years before his death, the emotions never leave after being told by a child they are an addict. We loved Phil, he was so crusty as compared to those folks in Utah where we're from, but he loved his family, his crew and was who he was. and he rode Harleys, which makes him high in our book. Calm seas and full nets, Phil, for you, Jake and Josh and family. We will continue to love the show we have be glued to since it's beginning, but no one will ever be able to fill his shoes.

Last nights episode made me cry. I can't imagine the show without him. He was my favorite. And he will always be. I will miss him very much. I have been watching the show from the very beginning. I wish the best to his family. God bless and take care.

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