It’s not hard to find reality TV shows centered on hunters, survivalists and simple people doing their best to put food on their tables. However, “Billy the Exterminator” truly had a different concept from those, showing in depth how far William “Billy” Bretherton could go for his pest control company, while trying to now damage the environment and species.
Besides Billy’s impressive work ethic and commitment, “Billy The Exterminator” was also filled with lots of family drama and his personal problems, undeniably making it a show worth remembering for many years after.
Although “Billy The Exterminator” ended in 2017, there’s no shortage of people wondering what really happened to him? Why did he leave the business which made him famous, and how far did his family issues go? If you want to know the answers to these questions and more, keep with us!
Where Is He Now?
Though he was once known as “Billy The Exterminator”, nowadays Billy Bretherton lives a normal life. While his latest show – “Billy Goes North” – was commercialized in the US as the seventh season of his first show, it had modest success and only lasted one season.
Regardless of that, Billy keeps doing what he does best, while still sporting his trademark goth style. Despite having left his family’s control pest business in 2012 and prompted the end of the original series of “Billy The Exterminator”, in recent years he took back his position of Exterminator in Vexcon, even leading his son Bryce down the same career path.
Even if many people wonder if “Billy The Exterminator” will return to air anytime soon, that’s unknown for the time being. As it happens, in early 2022 Billy and his brother Ricky came back to TV to star in a “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show’s short segment, but it’s unknown if that’s an effort to revive their own series. Though this news might not make some of their fans happy, for others it’s enough to see the Brethertons on TV again, even if only for a brief time.
What Happened To The Business?
Fortunately, Vexcon is still going strongly as Louisiana’s favorite pest control business. Founded in 1996 by Billy and Ricky’s father Bill, Vexcon deals with the city’s worst pests, regardless of its difficulty.
Regardless of their skills at exterminating insects and removing wildlife from their customers’ houses, what initially caught local people’s attention about Vexcon didn’t have to do with their abilities and efficacy. As Billy said in an interview with Bullz Eye in 2011, the business gained their first customers through the other pest control companies in their city back in the 1990s: ‘we just called them all and told them to send us their undesirable work that they won’t do. Of course, that draws media attention, newspapers and magazines’ he admitted.
— Ashley Hansen (@ashley_m_o) July 29, 2014
Although their methods might have been unusual, two decades later Vexcon is apparently still the only company in Louisiana which deals with the largest variety of wildlife, everything from centipedes to alligators.
Of course, being showcased in a TV show surely increased the company’s local popularity but as the media uproar subsided following the “Billy The Exterminator”s cancellation, the Brethertons have successfully kept their business afloat.
Did He Divorce His Wife?
There’s a huge misconception about Billy Bretherton and his marriage to Mary, whom the early audience of “Billy The Exterminator” knew during the show’s first season. Though given that Mary left the show and was even removed from its credits, people assumed she and Billy had divorced.
However, as logical as those assumptions were, they’re totally wrong. The real reason she resigned was to protect her personal privacy, and sense of peace in real life, as Billy affirmed in an interview: ‘everything gets amped up when it’s on TV. People see it, they talk about it every day’, he told Bullz Eye, emphasising that it was a matter of choice: ‘Mary’s extremely uncomfortable on camera. Producers tend to manipulate situations for entertainment value, and that upsets a lot of the family from time to time’.
Guess Mary not coming pic.twitter.com/UeigR93hnc
— Billy Bretherton (@BrethertoBilly) September 26, 2021
Mary’s skepticism regarding TV is understandable, as some of her and Billy’s legal issues were widely publicized while “Billy The Exterminator” was on air. However, those dark times have fortunately been left in the past, and the couple now enjoys a peaceful life together as seen on Billy’s social media.
What Were Billy’s Other Shows About?
Following the cancellation of “Billy The Exterminator” in 2012 when Billy’s moved out from Louisiana, he and the Brethertons appeared in other shows.
In 2015, Ricky Bretherton started his YouTube series “Vexcon The Exterminators”, which despite having a similar concept to the old “Billy The Exterminator”, didn’t achieve nearly the same success, and barely gained the channel 1,000 subscribers while it lasted. Though it’s logical to think that trying a new format was a risky decision, the failure of the series was most-likely due to Billy’s absence from it.
Although Billy’s first appearance on TV was in a 2005 feature in Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs”, his next solo chance in the entertainment world happened in 2017, when the company Proper Television produced his show “Billy Goes North”, aired in Canada by CMT. This new serie’s concept showed Billy away from his native Louisiana, as he searched to remove or exterminate all types of pests in Canada. Nonetheless, the short-lived show is known as the seventh season of “Billy The Exterminator”, aired by A&E.
Though “Billy Goes North” is to this day the last TV show Billy appeared in, in 2020 he and his brother Ricky teamed up for the second season of their online series “Vexcon The Exterminators”.
Where Does Billy’s Style Come From?
We surely enjoy Billy Bretherton’s charisma, personality and fearless attitude when it comes to dealing with any type of pests. That being said, his goth style and daring sense of fashion has never failed to amaze us since the debut of “Billy The Exterminator” in 2009.
Although many people assume that Billy’s style is an act, to appear more interesting in front of cameras, that’s quite a way from the truth. Billy’s love for leather clothes, cross chains and eccentric hairstyles can be blamed on his taste in music: ‘I was born in 1968, and I’ve been following heavy metal my whole life, from Black Sabbath to HIM. I know it all and I’ve heard it all’, he told Bullz Eye in 2011.
While Billy’s biker-style mixed with a little bit of vampiric vibes isn’t exactly common, he’s evidently comfortable dressing that way. The same could be said about his long-length hairstyle, which he cut for “Dirty Jobs”, and later caused him problems for misleading people to think he had changed his style for convenience: ‘that real short hair where everybody’s, like, ‘Oh, Billy, you sold out, you used to have short hair,’ uh, no, my mom made me cut it’, he admitted, making it evident how much he loves looking the way he does.
Was Billy In Jail?
Unfortunately, Billy Bretherton has been jailed at least twice in his life. According to TMZ reports, in 2010 he was arrested and charged with ‘felony drug paraphernalia possession and a traffic charge’, after police found marijuana and illegal artifacts in his car. That time he was released on a $4,198 bond, but the worst was yet to come.
In April 2012, Billy and his wife Mary were arrested after police officers found illicit substances and drug paraphernalia in a hotel room rented by them in Bossier City. The couple was released on a bond of $6,000 each, and though she pleaded not guilty to drug charges later that year, Bill was sentenced to 60 days in jail for drug possession.
Although Billy ultimately didn’t go to jail, he had to pay a $500 fine in addition to doing community work, and staying clear of drugs for a year. This unfortunate incident is believed by some people to have led to “Billy The Exterminator”s cancellation, even if the alleged cause of the show’s end were issues between the Brethertons.
Where Did Billy Learn To Control Pests?
Ending up as a pest control technician was a mixture of life circumstances and talent for Billy Bretherton. As it happens, he entered the US Air Force to join the Law Enforcement division, but his entry tests showed-up his leaning to biology and science too evident.
Billy was immediately sent to the entomology division, which wasn’t even close to what he wanted: ‘I actually started bawling my heart off when I called home to my mom and dad. Crying because I just joined the Air Force to be the orchid man’, he revealed in an interview with Frank Ranu on YouTube.
The disappointment played its part, and though Billy stayed in the USAF for some time, and even received technical training, he eventually left, moved to New Jersey and worked his way up to become manager of a pest control company, then moved back to Louisiana in 1996 to found Vexcon with his brother and father, who had supposedly just retired. Establishing the family’s business was the start of everything, and made Billy realize he had come full circle from his time ‘squishing bugs’ in the military, but the ride was definitely worth it.
How Did Billy Get On TV?
Billy’s family business Vexcon has apparently always been a source of interest in their small Louisiana town of Benton. Their philosophy of doing what others didn’t want to do was a good technique to attract their first clients, also gaining Billy his first feature on TV, thanks to Discovery channel’s show “Dirty Jobs” in 2005.
The experience was very positive for both sides, the show and network rising in the ratings during that episode, plus opening further opportunities for Vexcom: ‘I think that freaky thing that happened there was that the pest control industry tuned in, and just shot that rating up’, he told Bullz Eye.
From then on, Vexcom’s local popularity increased, and eventually landed them their own show “The Exterminators”, which was later changed to “Billy The Exterminator” after producers noticed Billy’s magnetic appeal on TV. Maybe it was his style or his charisma, but Billy was definitely the centerpiece of the show during its six seasons, even surpassing by far the interest caused by the family drama.
It’s expected that TV shows aren’t to everyone’s taste, and it’s no different for “Billy The Exterminator”. For starters, Ray Richmon from The Hollywood Reporter had some strong negative opinions about its concept, stating that it proved how ‘certain networks not only are continuing to scrape the barrel’s bottom to mine the next semi-viable reality-show idea’.
Richmond added some points regarding the short-lived nature of the show, stating how it apparently failed to make the audience care for its cast. However, despite the negativity of this review and many others about “Billy The Exterminator”, it apparently didn’t affect Billy at all. As he told Bullz Eye, he perceived himself as someone with ‘thick skin’, perfectly fitting for TV: ‘I’ll believe in my philosophies ‘til my dying breath. I know who I am, and comments and negative energy? I just surf right through it’.
Another common topic of criticism was the huge amount of family drama in the show, which sometimes diverted attention from its main concept. However, that’s a topic Billy himself was against as well: ‘everything gets amped up when it’s on TV. People see it, they talk about it every day’. That being said, Billy tried to stop producers from editing the show in a certain way, but the drama off-camera certainly overshadowed what we saw in the show.
Is Billy Son Following in His Footsteps?
Vexcon is a family business through and through, and Billy Bretherton should be proud that his son Bryce has recently taken an active part in it.
Though Bryce barely appeared in “Billy The Exterminator”, in 2020, he joined his father and uncle Ricky for the second season of the online series “Vexcon The Exterminators” on YouTube. Although the difference in personalities between Bryce and the older men is astounding, he keeps true to his father’s love for goth fashion, but the most important part is to see him supporting Billy’s endeavors.
Bryce has also taken the creative content into his hands, by starting a YouTube channel on which he shares insights about his family’s business, including the artifacts and techniques of it in a fresh and admittedly youthful way. However, his efforts to bring up Vexcon are more evident thanks to his TikTok videos, featuring his father and uncle, which have somehow become popular enough to put the Brethertons on the radar again.
Will Bryce’s efforts be enough to give the Brethertons their own show back? Only time will tell, but for now we’re just pleased to know that the family is currently doing well.