By Jeff Labrecque
Updated July 01, 2009 at 06:42 PM EDT

When I think of C. Thomas Howell, I think of The Outsiders. I think of Red Dawn. And I think of Side Out, the Bull Durham of beach volleyball movies. I don’t immediately think of Charles Kuralt.

But this August, Ponyboy goes “on the road” to host All Jacked Up, a CMT reality show chronicling extreme Americans. Once upon a time, Kuralt traveled in a motorhome for CBS News, shining a Steinbeckian light on the nooks and crannies of our country. For his part, Howell will highlight ostrich races, eating contests and chainsaw jugglers. I figure that’s about right.

It’s a modest upgrade for Howell, most recently known for starring in barebones straight-to-DVD versions of big-budget blockbusters like War of the Worlds. But will he even register with the audience craving segments on jet-powered outhouses? Is this what Ralph Macchio had in mind when he told Ponyboy to “Stay gold”? At the very least, I expect — nay, demand — that this exposure guarantees him a role in the upcoming Red Dawn remake. If his new show features sushi-eating wolverines, consider it a lock.

Where was the last place you saw Howell? Did you catch him on NBC’s Southland? And should his wife be worried about his upcoming road trips?