PitchMen (partially found Discovery Channel docudrama series; 2009-2011)
PitchMen is a docudrama TV series that aired on the Discovery Channel and was produced by Original Productions. The series was a behind-the-scenes peek at the legendary pitchmen Billy Mays & Anthony "Sully" Sullivan's lives in the competitive direct-response marketing business.
While the episodes' content varied from episode to episode, most of them started with inventors showing off their ideas to the two pitchmen. Two products would be selected from the pile and field-tested for any potential interest. If the field tests on the products were satisfactory, the crew would film an infomercial for them. The infomercial would then air on a test market, and the inventor gets later notified whether their product was a success.
In-between the invention pitching, the show would delve deeper into Mays' and Sullivan's personal lives. The couple would go on trade shows, feud with each other (or with rival pitchmen such as Vince Offer), or generally hang out with their families.
The show was officially announced by Discovery on January 9th, 2009, under the name "But Wait... There's More" (with 13 episodes, as opposed to the 12 episodes eventually released). Interestingly, reports of Mays and Sullivan signing a production deal for the show's pilot came around as early as June 2008, with a name more close to the final one, "Pitch Men". It's uncertain whether the pilot was simply the first episode, "High Impact Item", or a completely different, unaired episode. Possible proof of a different pilot episode comes from what Mays says in said article:
"It's really sort of my life story, so it will be old school, starting at selling housewares on the Boardwalk,"
...which doesn't match with "High Impact Item" (although Mays does recall his life story later in "Revenge of the Pitchmen", but only for a minute or so).
The first episode, "High Impact Item", aired on April 15th, 2009, and was met with generally positive reviews. In an unexpected change of events, Billy Mays was found dead in his Tampa home on June 28th, 2009 (3 days before the final episode aired). In response to this, Discovery changed their screen bug to feature Mays, aired a marathon of all the episodes, and released a tribute named "Pitchman: A Tribute to Billy Mays" (which can be easily found online). Following Mays' death, it seemed obvious that the show would not be renewed for a second season, but Discovery contradicted that in a July 2009 press-release. As a result of the lack of Mays, Sullivan became the sole star of the second season, with an occasional appearance of Mays' son, Billy Mays III.
Despite Sullivan's effort into salvaging the show, the viewership of the season two premiere was too low, and Discovery pulled the plug after just two episodes. Eventually, Discovery put the show back on January 2011 to air the remaining episodes, although the show was put on a filler slot and got barely any promotion (so much so, that most people still recall Discovery never airing the last episodes).
Despite being fairly popular back when it aired, it has become difficult to find full episodes of the show. It seems like the show was at one point found on several streaming services, but has since become unavailable on all of them. Four full episodes can be found on YouTube (albeit in low quality), along with several clips from other episodes. Multiple torrents of the show existed, but they've all since died, too.
A DVD of the first season was created, but it's no longer sold officially and hasn't been ripped online yet. Allegedly, the DVD was released before Mays' death (that is, before Discovery finished airing all the episodes), and got pulled from sales soon after it. This information comes from an Amazon review, which while might not be a reliable source, makes sense, as the DVD's box makes no reference to Mays' death. The second season never saw a home media release, but was probably supposed to get one, as evident by a few blooper reels uploaded on Sullivan's own YouTube page in 2017.
|1. High Impact Item||Billy and Sully try to turn two inventors' million-dollar dreams into realities. A man from a Texas trailer park has solved a pesky GPS problem, while another man's gel insoles could be big news for sore feet. But will they sell when put to the test?||April 15th, 2009||Found|
|2. Dual Saw Shuffle||One man travels from Europe for just five minutes with Billy and Sully, hoping to make a fortune on his "Dual Saw" - an idea that was born out of a friend's tragic injury. A woman leaves her career behind to make an infomercial for her cleaning product, "Shuffles."||April 22nd, 2009||Lost|
|3. From the Jaws of Victory||Billy and Sully take to the road to shoot a hands free cellphone spot that proves to be traffic-stopping. Then, for a real change of venue, they hit the high seas to test an inventor's ingenious shark repellent device.||April 29th, 2009||Lost|
|4. Smells Like Gold||A German inventor needs Sully to sell his gadget, but this perfectionist might be too much for Sully the pitchman and his team. Then, a former hockey player creates a stink-eliminating spray, that gets put to the test when Billy is sprayed by a skunk on shoot day.||May 6th, 2009||Partially Found (See gallery)|
|5. Spotting Talent||A 17-year-old boy has invented a cleaning product called the "Spot Sucker," but needs Billy and Sully's help to get it off the ground and change his life for the better. A woman with a foot salve and a small fan-base comes to Billy and Sully to take her business to the next level.||May 13th, 2009||Partially Found (See gallery)|
|6. Tool Guys||Sully is fired up to shoot an infomercial for "The Grabit" - a broken-screw extractor - but it could fall apart when Billy makes a deal without him. Born of necessity, the "Tool Bandit" works great, but still lacks an impressive demo, and Sully's sick on the big day!||May 20th, 2009||Found|
|7. Spinning Green||A successful TV pitchwoman hopes to make herself a household name with her new "Spin Gym," but making her infomercial could damage her friendship with Billy and Sully. Next, Billy gets to have some selling fun as a guest on the Tonight Show.||May 27th, 2009||Partially Found (See gallery)|
|8. Digging for Dollars||Billy re-vamps the ad for one of his most successful products - the "Awesome Auger" - whose inventor lost his legs in a harrowing plane crash. Then, the first-ever infomercial for affordable health insurance: Billy and his family pitch "iCan".||June 3rd, 2009||Found|
|9. Grater Education||A former pitchmen and cancer survivor gets a leg up from Billy and Sully, who both cut a spot for his handmade product. Then, Billy engages in the deadliest pitch of his career, and the pitch pros are invited to lecture at Princeton University.||June 10th, 2009||Lost|
|10. A Tale of Three Billys||Billy and Sully pitch a lawn fertilizer, Billy's father pitches them a new luxury product, and Billy and Sully help Billy's son direct his first commercial.||June 17th, 2009||Lost|
|11. Crunch Time||Billy and Sully take on a revolutionary new windshield wiper and produce an explosive shoot, featuring something called the "Bug Bazooka." Then the guys get behind a new way to eat breakfast cereal, "The EZ Crunch Bowl."||June 24th, 2009||Lost|
|12. Revenge of the Pitchmen||After banding together to take on a new pitchman on the block, tensions between Billy and Sully come to a head in Philadelphia, as both are determined to win a pitch-off that will decide once and for all who is the best pitchman in the business.||July 1st, 2009||Found (Possible pre-Billy Mays death version unconfirmed)|
|1. Passing the Torch||A former marine with a bright idea thinks he can revolutionize the flashlight, and Sully puts his life on the line for an inventor carrying on his father's lifesaving legacy.||August 19th, 2010||Lost|
|2. Heart Wrench||It's a rocky road for a 16-year-old boy, and survivor of 5 heart surgeries, who invents a cool tool. Successful Inventor brothers roll the dice on a new invention, and a victim of identity theft invents a way to combat electronic pickpockets.||August 26th, 2010||Lost|
|3. Bear Market||Inventors gamble everything on a revolutionary razor, a man creates a snack food safe that puts Sully on a closed set with a hungry grizzly, and celebrity DJ Kennedy pitches her friend Dr. Drew Pinsky an invention designed to keep prescription drugs safe.||January 18th, 2011||Lost|
|4. The New Gun In Town||Sully and assistant Kennedy head to a Chicago home and houseware convention to hear some sometimes crazy pitches for the "next big thing", including an easy stringer and a tater tornado. Then, Sully heads to the circus to test a revolutionary new needle.||January 25th, 2011||Lost|
|5. From the Jaws of Victory||A robotic whisk has design flaws, and a food-wrapping invention is pitched, along with gravity-defying workout boots.||February 1st, 2011||Lost|
|6. The Cutting Edge||A young inventor hooks Sully with a collapsing trashcan, but a manufacturing short cut may destroy the product's future. Two friends think a simple piece of plastic can keep you safe from intruders, and a legendary knife man gets a chance at one last pitch.||February 8th, 2011||Lost|
|7. Wave of Success||An inventor risks everything to get his Stadium Back chair - and his face - on the air. A mother of four puts it all on the line with her simple alternative to the chip clip. Then, Sully and Kennedy try out an electric skateboard.||February 15th, 2011||Partially Found (See gallery)|
|8. Fighting Shape||Sully puts out a call for fitness products; a female fitness star comes back to the spotlight with her "Chest Magic" machine. Also, BMXers test two new concepts: one, a "bicycle meets elliptical trainer", and the other, a "bicycle meets rowing machine".||February 22nd, 2011||Lost|
|9. Fishing for Gold||Sully mixes business and pleasure testing a Frisbee flying fishing tool. An inventor also hooks Sully's heart with a fitness tool a man invents to save his best friend's life. Sully and Kennedy field test a patent pro's new suction device.||March 1st, 2011||Lost|
|10. On a Wing and a Prayer||Sully shares his tricks of the trade with 3 junior pitchmen and endures some of the adults' less successful pitches. A fighter pilot pitches his new fitness tool, and a friend comes out of his own pitchman retirement with "Flippin Sticks".||March 8th, 2011||Lost|
- Wikipedia page on PitchMen (contains inaccurate/outdated information). Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- The entire "Pitchman: A Tribute to Billy Mays" special on YouTube. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- Discovery's announcement of the show. Archived 04 Feb '19
- St. Petersburg Times article on the production deal. Archived 06 Jun '08
- Telegraph article on Mays' death. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- The Futon Critic's article on the second season's announcement. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- The Futon Critic article about the second season getting pulled. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- A /r/Lost_Films posts about lost Billy Mays infomercials, that erroneously states that the last PitchMen episodes never aired. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- The first season's Amazon Prime Video page. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- Broken DirecTV page on one of the first season's episodes. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- Google Play TV's page on the first season. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- Amazon page for the disc. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- Amazon review of the DVD, with some possible interesting information about the show's history. Retrieved 09 Oct '19
- Followshows page on the first season. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- TV Guide page on the second season. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- TV.com page on the second season. Retrieved 08 Sept '19
- EpisodeWorld page on the second season. Retrieved 08 Sept '19