Swamp People is a reality TV show which first premiered on the History Channel (also known simply as 'History') in 2010. The premise of Swamp People is to show the real life adventures of Cajun people living and hunting alligators in the Atchafalaya River Basin in Louisiana.
Each season focuses on various teams of local alligator hunters during the Louisiana Alligator season, which lasts for 30 days starting in the first Wednesday in September. In accordance with Louisiana state law, every alligator hunter is only allocated a certain number of tags, which must be attached to all of their kills. If they run out of tags, their season is over, regardless of whether or not the season is officially closed. Many local people in the region, including most of the people featured on the show, make a significant amount of their yearly income during alligator season. This raises the stakes for the people featured on the show, as the hunting isn’t for sport, but for their—and, in some cases, their family’s—livelihood.
Although the premise of the show doesn’t seem to fit in with the general programming offered by the History Channel, Swamp People is actually one of their most popular shows—and one of the most popular shows on regular cable television.
The first season premiere of Swamp Hunters aired on August 22nd, 2010; this first episode received 3.1 million viewers, making it the #1 cable show in the 10 pm timeslot that weekend. The second season's first episode premiere saw a 26% increase from season 1, with a total of 3.9 million viewers. And the finale of season 2 was a record breaker: it drew in 5.5 million viewers, making it the #1 show on cable for the entire night and the #2 show on both cable and network television.
The show is currently in the middle of its sixth season. Although History Channel has not announced whether or not a seventh season of the show may be coming, it seems likely given the fact that the ratings past season 3 have only continued to grow and hold steady.
Swamp People has been so popular that the History Channel actually attempted to create a spin-off show in 2012; the show was called Outback Hunters, which focused on Australian crocodile hunters in the Australian Outback. The show received poor ratings and was cancelled after only one season.