Cover Story The rise of 'redneck TV'

Why TV's plunge into backwoods family, danger, and colloquial wisdom transfixes America (and the world). Do the shows depict caricatures or gritty authenticity?

By , Staff Writer

Zach Dilgard/A&E Networks

The alligator, a six-footer at least, peeks his armored eyeballs out of the swamp to stare coldly at the man passing nonchalantly in a flat-bottomed aluminum boat. Perhaps realizing who he’s looking at, the gator winks away quickly into the cypress-studded waters of Louisiana’s eerie Lake Pontchartrain.