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Fresh off the success of its comedy series American Chopper, the Discovery Channel created yet another in a long line of "Let's Go Build Something" programs with American Hot Rod in 2004. Breaking away from the comedic success of Chopper, American Hot Rod is a reality show with a format similar to The Apprentice. Every week, host Chip Foose plays the role of "Boyd Coddington," supposed owner of "Boyd Coddington's Hot Rod Shop". "Boyd" and his manager "Duane Mayer" (played by Fred Durst) hire one new apprentice from Vineland or some other Scandinavian area of the world. The new worker is placed in the shop along with survivors from past weeks, and forced to build custom cars under impossible deadlines. At the end of each show, at least one contestant usually quits, gets fired, or becomes too insane to work on the car-in-progress. As most of the builds take place over several episodes, the rotating work crew is vital to the show's success (as well as a good way to get around the local labor laws).

The Discovery Channel shows American Hot Rod whenever they run out of Deadliest Catch reruns to air.

NOTE: Do not mistake American Hot Rod for the TLC series Overhaulin' , where the real Boyd Coddington plays the role of "Chip Foose" in his own car-customizing reality show. Although Boyd and Chip are great friends, they don't like being mistaken for each other.

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