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Discovery Channel planning tribute to 'Deadliest Catch' star Phil Harris


By Christopher Rocchio, 02/11/2010 

A tribute to Deadliest Catch star Phil Harris, who died on Tuesday after suffering a stroke while captaining his Cornelia Marie crab fishing vessel late last month, is in the works.

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Discovery Channel and Deadliest Catch executive producer Thom Beers are currently discussing plans for a tribute to Harris, Daily Variety reported Wednesday.

While an agreement has yet to be finalized, both Beers and Discovery confirmed a tribute special is likely.

Harris suffered the stroke while the Cornelia Marie was docked on St. Paul Island in Alaska and off-loading on January 29. 

The 53-year-old was airlifted to Anchorage where he underwent 12 hours of surgery the following day and was then put in a medically induced coma to reduce brain swelling, but had exited the coma and begun to show signs of recovery early last week.

Beers acknowledged that despite his death, Harris -- who had been part of Deadliest Catch since its first season -- will still be featured in the show's sixth season which began filming last November.

"He'll be a big part of the season and the series," he told Variety. "But this is a huge loss to the series."

However whether the Cornelia Marie -- which resumed opilio crab fishing with relief captain Derek Ray following Harris' stroke -- will remain part of Deadliest Catch going forward is currently undecided, according to Beers.

"The fate and the future of the Cornelia Marie and crew (are) up in the air," he told Variety. "I'm flying up to meet with his sons and figure out what to do going forward."

Harris had captained the Cornelia Marie, which he co-owned with Cornelia Marie Devlin, for 19 years and been in the fishing industry for 33 years.  However Beers said the captain's relationship with his sons Josh and Jake, who had joined the vessel's crew in recent years, is what he'll remember about him.

"What was fascinating for me was seeing this big rough-and-tumble guy reunited with his sons through work," Beers told Variety.

"He had to adjust to all of a sudden being a dad again. It was fun to see the trials and tribulations of raising these two boys in a work environment."

(Photo credit Discovery)


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