Paul Stojanovich Jr. practically grew up in the back of patrol cars, spending time with his father, the executive producer of World's Wildest Police Videos. Sadly, the elder Paul Stojanovich died accidentally in 2003, at the age of 47. But his son, now 28, is looking to carry on his father's legacy by bringing back Police Videos, which premieres Monday at 8/7c on Spike TV.
Police Videos hasn't messed with the formula: Wild high-speed car chases, deadly bank robberies and attempted heists gone bad are all still a part of the diet. ("Reality porn," Stojanovich quips.) Retired sheriff John Bunnell is even back to resume his role as host, 10 years after World's Wildest Police Videos ended its three-season run on Fox.
Stojanovich notes that Bunnell and his father were best friends, so it made sense to keep that continuity alive. "I don't think there was anyone more happy than John that the show was being revived," he says. "These shows are a lot of fun to make."
Beyond that, a lot has changed in the decade since Police Videos went off the air. "There's been such a profound change in law enforcement," Stojanovich says. "You get a lot of videos you wouldn't have seen before. We have countless videos this season that came from iPhones. If a high-stakes situation goes down, there's every likelihood of it being caught on camera."
The now-common use of mounted police car cameras has provided much footage, and there's more than ever from overseas. Stojanovich marvels particularly at the crisp high-definition quality of footage coming from government agencies in China.
Spike TV ordered 13 episodes of World's Wildest Police Videos, as the repeats of the old Fox show continue to air on TruTV. To produce the show, the junior Stojanovich has teamed up with busy reality producer Craig Piligian (who had been another one of his father's good friends).
"My dad and I were very close," Stojanovich says. "He raised me and my brother as a single father. We went on the road with him as he was working on shows like Cops and American Detective. I remember being a 7- or 8-year-old kid in the back of patrol cars as they were shooting. Since my dad died, I've been embracing his legacy but simultaneously creating my own."
Stojanovich Jr. and his Pursuit Prods. have created a production alliance with Piligian and his Pilgrim Films company to develop and produce programming in the law enforcement arena. Besides World's Wildest Police Videos, Pursuit and Pilgrim are also close to a pickup at National Geographic Channel for a show shot inside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
"The ATF doesn't get its due," Stojanovich says. "Their agents arrest six times more people than any other law enforcement agency. The go after the most violent of the violent criminals." Stojanovich is also developing a show inside the Texas Department of Public Safety, as well as a syndicated criminal court show led by trial lawyer and legal commentator Jeffrey Steinberger. "It's nice to kick start all of this with something that keeps my dad's legacy alive," Stojanovich, Jr., adds. "Hopefully it runs for a long time."