2013-09-13 / Front Page

National adventure show visits town

‘Born to Explore with Richard Wiese’ could air Scarborough segment in January
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Since 2012, “North Woods Law,” a reality show on Animal Planet, has been chronicling the highs and lows in the lives of members of the Maine Warden Service. Now, it appears, life in Scarborough will get national exposure.

This week, a filming crew from “Born to Explore with Richard Wiese,” a nationally syndicated travel and adventure show on ABC, was in town to film an episode for the show, which is shown locally at 10 a.m. on ABC.

Associate producer Louie Rousso said “Born to Explore,” which premiered in September 2011 and is hosted by Wiese, is a “weekly education and adventure show.”

“We travel all over the world, learning about traditions, culture and people,” he said.

Rousso said the show, which won a 2013 Daytime Emmy, has made trips to locales such as Chile, South Africa, India, Scotland, Australia and all across the United States. It will be the show’s first episode to feature Maine.

Topics for the half-hour show vary. The show on Sept. 7 chronicled a search for bears across North America, including grizzlies and polar bears in northern Canada.

The show scheduled to run, Saturday, Sept. 14, is expected to focus on an exploration at Kruger National Park in South Africa.

It is not known when the episode featuring Scarborough will air, but Rousso said it is hoped to air it in January, or at the latest in February.

Interest in filming a show in Maine began after a recent trip Wiese and the show’s senior producer took to the state.

“They thought it would be a great episode to shoot,” Rousso said.

On Wednesday morning, crews were scheduled to film a segment on local lobsterman Mark Coulston and a segment on a traditional Maine lobster bake at Ferry Beach later that evening.

“We are hoping to capture the friendliness and welcoming atmosphere that is Maine,” Rousso said of the lobster bake shoot.

The next day, Thursday, Sept. 12, the crew was expected to visit the University of New England’s Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Program and document the process it took to nurse three sick seals back to health.

The show will also include a segment on Junior, a golden Labrador retriever that lost the use of his hind legs after suffering a stroke. To help Junior continue to live the life he always had, his family outfitted his rear legs with a wheelchair.

“He has an extreme will to live and an extreme will to be a normal dog,” Rousso said of Junior, which is owned by Pine Point residents Laura and Jim Pendergast. “His family built him a wheelchair for his legs. He still runs around the beach. He plays with other dogs. He plays with people and is there at the waterfront to welcome boats in. He is really an inspiration to a lot of people.”

The crew, which is staying at the Black Point Inn, may also film a segment on Winslow Homer’s artist studio. The Portland Museum of Art undertook a years-long effort to restore the Prouts Neck studio to how it looked when Homer painted there and offer group tours of the space. Rousso said Tuesday that those details were still being worked out.

Carolann Ouellette, director of the Maine Office of Tourism, said a show like “Born to Explore” offers a glimpse of Maine and what makes it special.

“That type of show gives the state great exposure,” Ouellette said. “It certainly helps to generate excitement, and often times to a new audience. That is what we are always trying to do.”

Karen Martin, executive director of the Scarborough Economic Development Corporation, who also helped to facilitate the visit, said the show’s benefit goes well beyond just tourism.

“We are very excited,” she said. “It will introduce people to some areas of Maine that are exceptionally beautiful. It is not just for tourism. It is going to help economic development as well.”

“Born to Explore” may not be the only show that is coming to film in Scarborough. Last week, Town Manager Tom Hall said representatives from “Trip Flip” have also expressed interest in coming to Scarborough to film an episode. “Trip Flip,” is a show that airs on the Travel Channel Sundays at 8 p.m. that convinces two random people to go on a three-day surprise vacation. According to its website, “Trip Flip,” gets the vacationers “off the beaten path, out of their comfort zones and into the mindblowing, life-changing experiences that inspire us all to travel in the first place.”

Martin said she is “still working on details” with officials from that show.

The Maine Film Office, a part of the Maine Office of Tourism, reports 2013 has been a banner year for film and television production in the state. As of early September, 14 productions have spend nearly $3.7 million in the state. This is up from 2012 when eight certified productions spend $1.5 million.

“My approach continues to be proactive, reaching out to producers and location scouts,” Film Office Director Karen Carberry Warhola said in a release. “We can’t just sit back and wait for the phone to ring; we need to be out (there) selling Maine and recruiting these companies.”

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