The Best Defense

As many of you have already heard, Outdoor Sportsman Group has made the decision not to produce any original episodes of THE BEST DEFENSE (TBD) in 2019.

As the Executive Producer and creator of TBD, I won’t lie to you — it breaks my heart. I believe that TBD has been and may well stand as the most important thing I have done in my life. When I look around my office, I see a whole bunch of gold statues, plaques, awards, and they are undeniably nice to have.

But TBD saved lives! I have read the headlines — “Couple Credits Television Show With Saving Their Lives” — and letters from people who, when faced with the worst situation of their lives remembers what we said, and it make a difference. I have held people while they sobbed and told me their stories, how terrified they were and how, at that terrible moment, something clicked. I, and all of us who have worked on TBD, am blessed to have had those moments.

There are many exceptional people who have shared this 13-year journey, among them Michael Janich, Mike Seeklander, Rob Pincus, Andrew Branca, Marty Hayes, original producer and my long-time producing partner Tim Cremin, producer Jeff Murray, director of photography Brandon Green. They all have my unconditional thanks and my love for their commitment and hard work. Also included here is Michael Janich’s troupe of incredibly talented martial artists. It has been my honor to work with each of you.

So many others worked with us, on camera and behind the scene, to make TBD the best show of its kind ever made — William Aprill, Gabe Suarez, Jimmy Graham, Ken Hackathorn, Kyle Defoor (back in the Blackwater days), and many who would rather not have their name used, but who have always there when we needed them. Thank you, all.

So where do we go from here? To be clear, insofar as there is a “failure” here, it is mine and mine alone. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that in truth the industry has never supported TBD as much as SHOOTING GALLERY and GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA, and many seasons OSG “carried” the series without enough advertising to cover costs.

In the byzantine world of television terminology, TBD is not “cancelled;” rather, it is simply not in production this year. Might TBD be back in 2020? I suspect that depends on the industry and on you, the viewers.  There are glimmers of hope…I have been talking to my friend Tim Schmidt at the U.S. Concealed Carry Association about working together, and I currently have permission from OSG to pursue a digital version of TBD. What that means, I don’t know yet.

I do know, as do most of you, that I tend to be …persistent. THE BEST DEFENSE is the best show on Outdoor Channel, and I will find a way forward.

As Scarlett  O’Hara once noted, “After all…tomorrow is another day…”


  1. It inconceivable that someone with a brain would cancel a show that teaches people to be safer and has actually saved lives. I paid extra to get the Outdoor Channel just so I could watch you and Seeklander, Janich, et.al. I am going to cancel my subscription immediately until the people in charge understand how important this show is. This is lunacy.

  2. Whatever happens to TBD Michael, you and your crew of hard working, knowledgeable and sincere warriors to the cause have done more for the community of common men and women who have decided that being in possession of a weapon didn’t make us well armed. You folks gave us the mental training and tactical insight into places that hopefully we won’t have to go. You may never know how much it has meant to us to tune in and go to school with people like you and your family. God bless and keep you all. Thanks for everything you have done.
    John R. Potter.

  3. Michael,

    I did write to Outdoor Channel, to voice my wish that they would rethink their decision, and to strongly consider a return the next year. I don’t know if it will do any good, but I can only hope. Of all the shows you have, Best Defense is the one that I always try to make sure I watch. I love Gun Stories, also, but sometimes I miss it. But Best Defense is really an important show, to myself, and I am sure to many others.
    The biggest thing it has done for me is in changing my mindset. I no longer go about my day in a fog, lost in my own world. I instead pay attention to the things around me, and the people and what they might be doing that is out of the ordinary. I hope to never have to use any of the things that I have learned from the show, but I often find myself thinking about things I have seen, to keep my mind ready for various scenarios.
    The world is a dangerous place now days. Anything that can help tip the scales towards the good guys is important, and Best Defense is one of those things that do just that. I am just sorry that it is gone. Hopefully, only for a time.

  4. The Best Defense is the best show on the Outdoor Channel. In fact, it is the only reason I upgraded my cable package. I too wrote and let them know that this is a HUGE mistake. All of you guys on TBD are great and I hope if the Outdoor Channel doesn’t change their mind that you will find another means of bringing this all important program to your viewers. Please make every season of TBD available on DVD. That would be great.

  5. That’s too bad. You all did truly pioneering work on that program. It really helped change my family’s mindset over the years. Keep the faith, and produce new ideas for a future season. I’m confident you’ll get it to market one way or another.

  6. Sometimes above the doors of some companies hangs a sign that says “Beyond this door only stupidity rules supreme”! An example would be NBC cancelling a 4 year old series that they saw no future for named Star Trek. Now the leadership of the Outdoor Channel has entered the ranks of great business decisions.

    The Best Defense was and will always be a fantastic no nonsense, no glitz and focused program around self defense and defensive living strategies.

    I have recommended to ALL of my clients over the years to my clients to enhance their knowledge, stimulate thought and hopefully affect their life strategies.

    This is truly a LOSS, but hopefully ONLY a temporary “regrouping of programming strategies and financial resources” to provide Michael and his team a broader forum and funding to continue to deliver their high quality and high value program(s)!

  7. Michael; I had the opportunity to meet Mike Seeklander at the 2016 NRA show, where I thanked him profusely for his, and the entire crew’s, work on “The Best Defense”! I explained to him that I used your show on an attack upon a religious service to train and educate my own church Board of Directors. It opened the door for us to create an emergency response team – and work on a plan for every type of emergency (including a mass shooting incident) we could envision! Our Pastor is the local police chaplain and he has also bounced our plan off of the appropriate law-enforcement authorities for their input. Being in NJ, our options are limited – but I cannot thank-you enough for creating an educational tool which helped me to breakdown down barriers to taking the safety of our congregation more seriously! God Bless you and the entire crew!

  8. To refresh my memories of your show, I recorded all TBD shows I ever saw so I could review them. I might have lost some when my Dish Hopper stopped working and I had to get it replaced, but I hope to recover any lost episodes by continuing to record the reruns that still show up on the air. I look forward to the day when you produce more TBD shows.

  9. I could not agree with you more Micheal. TBD was THE best show on tv. It was real and honest information. I not only watched every episode but referred to it, the information presented in many of our own defensive pistol training courses. It is a sad sad reflection on our industry that this show is cancelled in favor of “more of the same” bland infomercials on gear. As the saying goes “amateurs focus about hardware (gear), professionals focus on software (training and tactics). TBD was the only show on air that addressed real training.

  10. You guys need digital downloads or DVD?Blu Ray for the seasons. That could create some cash flow for the show. I know I would buy them all

  11. I watched TBDfor many years and recommended the show to many of my friends.I enjoy your weekly podcast also.In my seveventies,CCWpermit holder veteran handicapped you gave good common sense info. I hope this all works out


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