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Wadena native Hosmer scolds bad drivers in new reality show

1992 Wadena-Deer Creek graduate Pete Hosmer is starring in "Driving Me Crazy," which will premiere at 10 p.m. Christmas Day on truTV. Hosmer coaches bad drivers to help them pass a road test and win prizes. Photo provided

Wadena native Pete Hosmer admits he wasn't the best student when he took driver's ed at Verndale High School. He still managed to pass the road test on the first try while driving his mother's minivan. Now he's teaching bad drivers the rules of the road on "Driving Me Mad," a new reality show that premieres 10 p.m. Christmas Day on truTV.

"It's kind of like 'Supernanny' ... only with bad drivers," Hosmer, 34, said.

On the show Hosmer coaches drivers whose families have nominated them because of their poor driving skills and road rage. The drivers will take an actual road test at the end of each episode. If they don't pass they have to go back to driver's boot camp.

Hosmer runs A+ Driving School in the Twin Cities. Promotional material for the show describes him as "America's toughest driving expert."

"I'm a tough driving instructor when I need to be tough," he said. "I have fun with it, too."

Hosmer's demeanor on the show is pretty laid back, he said.

"I'm not mean," he said. "I'm not yelling and swearing."

He does tell it straight to the bad drivers he's helping, he said.

"I'm a little disturbed by what I'm seeing from these people," he said.

One lady on the show refused to stop for stop signs, he said.

Hosmer heard about the opportunity to host "Driving Me Mad" through an e-mail sent to his driving school, he said. He called the producer and was told to send in an audition tape. He created one with his friend, Ross Crandall, a fellow Wadena-Deer Creek grad. The applicants were eventually narrowed down to two finalists.

He got a contract to do the show in the top floor of a sky scraper during a trip he and his wife took to New York City, he said.

"It's just exciting," he said. "It's not something I planned on."

They shot the first pilot in December 2007, but the network wanted them to shoot another one, he said. The pilot that will air Dec. 25 was filmed last summer.

"It was a lot of work," Hosmer said.

It took a week and half, including three days of all-day shooting, to get the footage for the half-hour long show, he said.

He doesn't have a lot of TV experience, he said, but he was in a band for a while and gained a stage presence doing that. His on-screen persona mainly comes from his regular job of standing in a front of a room full of teenagers teaching driver's ed.

"I just had to be myself on four cups of coffee," he said.

TruTV's slogan is "Not Reality. Actuality." Hosmer said the channel didn't want the show to look pre-planned and fake like some other reality shows.

The bad drivers in the show had no idea what was going to happen during their driving drills, Hosmer said. During one test the driver was told she was going to have to brake suddenly when driving 50 miles per hour. What she didn't know was that a baby carriage was going to be pushed in front of the car,

he said.

"It was really like having a stunt show with a driver that had no idea it was a stunt," he said.

Two episodes are ready to go and they can shoot nine episodes in three weeks if truTV decides they want more, he said.

"They're pretty excited about it," he said.

Hosmer will watch the show with his wife, Jessica, their young sons, Jaeger and Bode, and his in-laws around his big screen TV Christmas Day.

His parents are Mark and Dixie Hosmer of Wadena. Mark sold insurance in Wadena and Dixie was a kindergarten teacher in Verndale, he said. They will watch the show from their motor home parked in Texas.

"They're pretty excited about it, too," he said.

Hosmer hopes he will get to shoot more episodes, he said, but he is enjoying it while it lasts.

"I didn't want to be on TV," he said. "This just kind of fell into my lap."