Eric “Butterbean” Esch, the iconic big, bald brawler, is getting his own reality show. Big Law: Deputy Butterbean debuts next month on Investigation Discovery. The series will document his efforts as a reserve deputy in Jasper, Alabama, where he lives.
It’s not exactly an original concept. Both Steven Seagal and Eric Estrada have been featured in Cops-like reality shows. Of course, neither of them required added suspension in their patrol cars.
Today at the Television Critics Association confab in Beverly Hills, the newest TV lawman said, “Butterbean is much better than Seagal … and a lot cuter.”
With his imposing presence, Esch gained fame in a series of rings: Tough Guy contests, boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts. (See a video of the man mountain’s MMA highlights below, set fittingly to the B-52s’ song “Butterbean”.) The story goes that Esch acquired his nickname early in his career when he followed a diet of chicken and butterbeans in order to get under the 400 pound weight limit for Tough Guy fights in Texas.
Big Law came about almost by accident.
"They came to me wanting to do a reality documentary on my restaurant and I was in the process of closing my restaurant down," he said. "I said 'If you want something interesting and fun to watch, follow us on our drug busts in the sheriff's department.' ... They started following us, filming it and documenting us actually making the busts.”
One event we know will show up in the series: a charity tag team wrestling match with Butterbean and another deputy against Brutus Beefcake and Anthony “One Man Kru” Sanners. That was taped in April.
The fight we’d really like to see is Butterbean vs. Barney Fife in the Deputys’ Death Match.