ALL POSTS IN [TV Shows]

Tonight at 9|8c watch as Geoff Edgers gets “zombified,” does some damage at a demolition derby and competes in a haggis-eating contest while visiting Pennsylvania. Check out behind-the-scenes photos and get Geoff’s playlist from the shoot.

Demolition Derby

My fixation with demolition derbies began in 1976. That’s when Happy Days ran its “Pinky Loves Fonzie” multi-part storyline. Talk about cliffhangers. We got everything in those 3 episodes: romance, danger, redemption.

As the story goes … The Millachi brothers sabotage Pinky Tuscadero’s car. During the demolition derby, she’s stalled and decides to get out of her car. That’s when the villains strike. They deliver their infamous “Millachi Crunch” and poor Pinky gets knocked unconscious and rushed to the hospital. Cue the “to be continued.” Fonzie, Richie, Potsie, Ralph, Mr. and Mrs. C all rush to her side. Will Pinky live? Will she perish? Does Fonzie ever plan on washing his t-shirt? I was hooked. What 6-year-old wouldn’t be choking on his grilled cheese?

As a kid, the “Pinky Loves Fonzie” story inspired one of my frequent, grammar school daydream fantasies … badly hurt, I’d be in my own hospital bed and, while in that damaged state, concerned classmates would stream in to visit. It doesn’t take Sigmund Einstein to figure out the psychology behind this. In real life, I was getting teased for my bowl cut, the gap between my front teeth and the fact I wore my jeans twice in one week. In my daydream universe, a cast and an IV could serve as my bro and babe magnet.

Fact is, I got over Cami Cavadi et al by the 9th grade, but I never lost my desire to jump into a car, turn the key and smash into others for sport. That’s why when Edge of America launched, I found myself endlessly pitching demo derbies to the show’s producers. They pushed me off a few times until we found the right spot, what was pegged as the world’s biggest derby in Bloomsburg, PA.

When I showed up for the main event, I found the lot full of smash-up veterans, including fathers and sons, gear-heads who had been fine tuning their cars for months, and, naturally, a few dudes who talked like they’d gotten a couple too many whiffs off their spray paint cans.

The derby manager paired me with Dave. He had a sweet car, an ’88 Oldsmobile station wagon painted blue and labeled 007. Inside, I could quickly see how these wheels were special. Steel reinforcement bars keep the metal from crushing you after a hit. Beer kegs serve as gas tanks, ratcheted down where a back seat would normally be. No windshield, no lights, no radio.

I admit at first I was a little bummed about Dave. I wanted my partner to exhibit all of the worst qualities of Hulk Hogan, Bill Romanowski and Ozzy Osbourne. Dave spoke like a Tibetan monk. I could barely hear him at times. Then the gun sounded.

You’ll have to watch to see what happened next. Trust me. Dave and the ’88 don’t disappoint. It’s why the Pennsylvania “Edge” is one of my favorites. It’s also why if I ever drive in a derby again, I’ll remember it’s not about who yells the loudest, it’s about the driver willing with the courage to lean on the gas, even when you’re under fire.

- Geoff Edgers

Bourdain in New Orleans

During his 36-hour layover in New Orleans, Anthony Bourdain slurps down a giant Styrofoam cup of judgement-imparing goodness at one of NOLA’s signature frozen daiquiri shops, visits one of the city’s first (and best) food trucks and shoots the s**t with writer Lolis Elie, chef Donald Link and musician Davis Rogan … just to name a few.

Sounds a lot like your typical trip to the Big Easy, right?

Ok, so it’s rather unlikely that on your next trip to N’awlins you’ll snack on BBQ shrimp on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain with the famed chef of Cochon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t replicate Mr. Bourdain’s trip. See where Tony eats and sleeps while in New Orleans (plus some more recommendations) in our Travel Guide, or download the Layover app to create an itinerary on the go.

Check out behind-the-scenes photos of Tony and the crew, and tune in tonight, Jan. 28 at 9|8c to watch as he eats and drinks his way through New Orleans with the locals … and avoids the French Quarter at all costs.

Are you ready for the vacation of your dreams? A getaway worth $100,000 could be yours. Here’s everything you need to know about Travel Channel’s first-ever Trip of a Lifetime television special and sweepstakes.

When: This Sunday, Jan. 27 at 8|7c
What: The ultimate 2-week, $100,000 dream vacation
Where: The beautiful coasts of Italy and Croatia on the Adriatic Sea
Who: Your favorite Travel Channel stars Samantha Brown, Adam Richman, Bert Kreischer and Anthony Melchiorri reveal the trip’s highlights and YOU could win it.

How: During and after the show, customize your own itinerary and enter for a chance to win your dream vacation with 3 friends or family members in tow. Watch the video to find out more about the incredible prizes:

Tonight at 10|9c, Steve and Amy visit a family home in Westminster, CO. While Steve uncovers a century-old murder mystery, Amy comes across a potentially dangerous entity. Can Amy and Steve help the single mother and her children who call this hotbed of paranormal activity home?

See behind-the-scenes photos from tonight’s episode, and don’t miss our brand-new look at a typical day in Amy’s life.

Think you know burgers? Then you don’t know George. This past weekend, our burger aficionado, George Motz, was in Miami filming new episodes of Burger Land, returning to Travel Channel this spring. We got a sneak peek of some of the burgers George got to taste for us — all part of the job…

Clockwise from top left: The half-pound Latin Macho; a classic “frita”; fried plantains instead of a bun; a frita and a cup of Guarapo (sugar cane juice).

Get the story behind Burger Land, and to hold you over until the new episodes premiere, check out George’s picks for Great Burger Joints in the Middle of Nowhere, or make your own Smashed Motz Burger. And don’t forget to spice up your homemade burgers with George’s hot sauce recipes.

Edge of America premieres tonight, Jan. 22 at 9|8c, followed by another all-new episode at 9:30|8:30c. Watch as Geoff rounds up rattlesnakes and gets his first taste of calf fries in Oklahoma, and tries his hand at tall bike jousting in Oregon

Meet Geoff Edgers

In this first blog entry, let me introduce myself. I’m a writer who usually reports on other people. I’ve written for magazines, I’ve written children’s books and, for the last 11 years, I’ve been an arts and entertainment reporter on the staff of the Boston Globe newspaper.

I confess, the concept for Edge of America emerged out of my midlife crisis. It wasn’t the kind of crisis that makes some men buy red Mustangs or proclaim their loyalty to Maker’s Mark. I had a creative crisis. How do I truly embrace the sense of adventure that I’d been so focused on when I was getting out of college so many years ago? How do I square my desire to be a family man, to mow the lawn and sit by the fire, with my need to do the unexpected? That crisis led me to make my first foray onto the screen, the 2010 documentary, Do It Again, about my irrational attempt to reunite the ‘60s rock band, the Kinks. The film led to Edge of America.

So what are the rules on this show? I must do what I report on. And I must share that experience with you, my viewing friend, as it happens. Do I always want to do what I’m doing? Intellectually, yes. But when you’re standing in a steamy room with a decapitated snake and its bloody, still-beating heart sits on the table in front of you, it’s easy to forget the mission. Would it be easier to sit at my desk and file my story? Sure. But trust me. You wouldn’t want to watch. 


The Edge of Oklahoma

Here’s an idea for the first day you’ve ever hosted a TV show: Do something uncomfortable. I’m not talking Jackass uncomfortable. I mean, to those guys, letting an alligator snap at the family jewels is as big whoop as my daughter asking for another American Girl doll. I’m talking something so outside your realm of behavior that the act is impossible to explain to anyone who actually knows you. They just have to see it.

That’s how I ended up in a field in Oklahoma holding a bloody clamp over a bull. I came to Stillwater to chow down on some calf fries at a wildly popular festival. Sounds innocent enough, until, that is, you realize what calf fries are: sliced bull testicles that have been battered and cooked in oil. And then you consider an important element of Edge of America: the doing. This show doesn’t just find the unexpected things people do for fun. It requires me to dig into the scene more deeply.

Some TV shows might mention calf fries and cut to the host grimacing and reluctantly taking a chew. Edge of America is about taking that great leap into the unknown. That’s why I spent the day 1 of my TV career performing a castration and entering a calf fry contest. Will you cringe? Perhaps. Cover your eyes? Probably. But I have a feeling you’ll be back.

The Edge of Oregon

I know somebody, somewhere is faking it on TV. But don’t tell that to my right shoulder. Because it’s been wrecked for months, ever since I decided to partake in a bike toss in Portland. That’s right. You take a bike and try to throw it as far as it’ll go. I went into the competition like I do every contest: to win. You’ll have to watch our Oregon episode to know how I did. But as Frank, my physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital can attest, the toss didn’t do wonders for my right shoulder. I’ve been trying to rehabilitate it ever since.

What can you say about Oregon? It’s the perfect state for Edge of America. Portland, the most famous city, has all those food trucks, micro-breweries and bicycles. But it’s also got a will to be weird.

As my friend Peter, a longtime Oregonian, wrote when I told him I was coming to town: “When you find yourself driving down the street behind a guy on a triple-high unicycle who rides while juggling — during a morning commute on a rainy spring morning, no parades/circuses/events/anything out of the ordinary in sight … and you’re not even surprised, then you’ve really arrived.”

Finding bike jousters took a little hustle, but I’d seen clips of these guys on YouTube and had to experience it first hand. You couldn’t cast a scene better. This was no Hollywood set. The street had been shut down for punk rock bands. A group of homeless people — a few with that meth-head quality — were lying around on mattresses. Brian, my guide, gave me his bike to ride. It wasn’t until I was up and holding the heavy pipe joust under my right arm that I realized that the left brake was busted.

My mentor on this escapade? Reverend Phil. He kept telling me to search out his work in the world of bike porn. I did. I regret it every day.

The beauty is that was just one side of Oregon. As if one some rambling, surrealist, adventure orchestrated by Fellini and Joyce Kilmer’s love child, I also found myself at a tree climbing competition, in an artist’s shop holding a chainsaw and at a track in Tillamook County. In the latter, I held a squealing pig under my arm as I tried to crank to life a Model T. Need to understand why people tell me I’ve got the best job in the world? Just watch this segment.

- Geoff Edgers

Samantha Brown had her twins! She announced on Facebook, “The babies are here! Please welcome Ellis James, 6 lb. 10 oz. and Elizabeth Mae, 5 lb. 12 oz. Everyone is healthy and doing great! Pics soon!”

Our girl-meets-world sweetheart, Samantha Brown has been hosting shows on Travel Channel for the last 13 years. And now she’s embarking on her biggest adventure yet – motherhood!

When she first announced her pregnancy, we asked our globe-trotting gal — who’s traveled to dozens of countries, hundreds of cities and countless hotels around the world — how life on the road will change with the new additions.

“One thing’s for sure, these 2 will be the most well-traveled babies. We already have on schedule in May a 9-day trip planned through Germany. So one of the first things on our to-do list after they are born is to get baby passports,” says Samantha.

While we know motherhood is going to change Sam’s life, we’re sure she’ll be taking fans along for the ride.  Stay tuned for more from Sam (and babies!)…

And be sure to catch Sam when she hosts Travel Channel’s first-ever “Trip of a Lifetime” special premiering on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 8|7c. 

Ghost Adventures in Snug Harbor

On an all-new episode of Ghost Adventures, Zak, Nick and Aaron are joined by ABC’s Nightline crew to investigate a historic collection of buildings that were once used as a sanctuary for retired sailors. Any man that had served on a naval vessel under the US flag was welcome to live out his remaining years at Staten Island’s Snug Harbor, and at its peak, the campus was home to almost 1,000 retired seamen.

Sailors’ Snug Harbor has since been deemed a National Historic Landmark District, and is currently under the care of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. But the impressive architecture and gorgeous gardens obscure the community’s dark past. Tales of gruesome murders at Snug Harbor arise from both urban legends and factual history. In the 1860s, a reverend and a resident sailor were involved in a gruesome murder-suicide, right on the steps of one of Snug Harbor’s buildings.

And rumor has it that a woman was stabbed to death in the Matron’s house by her mentally-challenged son … with a pair of scissors. Did this really happen? And does the spirit of the woman still haunt her former home? Find out tonight, Jan. 18 at 9|8c.

Tonight at 11|10c is the season finale of Dangerous Grounds. Todd takes his coffee hunt to Colombia, the source of the best coffee in the world before violence took over. Todd and his cameraman also have a close call on a treacherous South American mountain road, which Todd recounted here for us during filming.

Last week, we asked you to share on Instagram where you were drinking your coffee. As it turns out, you’re enjoying coffee of so many different varieties all over the world! Here are some of our favorite photos:

Left to right, first row:
1. @eversonmarsh – Cognoscenti Coffee in Culver City, CA
2. @carriedelamer – “Rise and shine! Proud of this one ;) @lacolombetorrefaction”
3. @thefalife – Coffee In Copenhagen
Left to right, second row:
4. @carovb76 – Juan Valdez coffee near El Batan, Ecuador
5.  @chadbrewbeard  - A La Colombe blend with beans from Brazil, Ethiopia, Mexico and Tanzania.
6.  @semisweetmegan – Espresso at Artisan Cheese Company in Sarasota, FL
Left to right, third row:
7. @kovacsae1 – “Craving an Americano from @lacolombecoffee #dangerousgrounds #coffee #edpresso #NYC”
8. @amybrock – “Love from The Coffee Fox… Cheers to a chill Friday evening! #savannah #visitsavannah #coffee #coffeefox”
9. @brianripps – Kookaburra Coffee in Rockville Centre, NY

Don’t miss Todd’s recipes for these delicious coffee drinks: Pure Black Velvet Float, Hot Buttered Coffee and Mexican Hot Coffee-Chocolate. If you’re not in the mood for a hot cup of Joe now, then you’ll never be!

Have you downloaded Travel Channel’s Layover App yet? If not, what are you waiting for? The app is now free, and was recently chosen by Apple as one of the App Store’s Best of 2012 in the “Hidden Gems” category. Plus, new cities are being added each week!

Tonight at 9|8c, watch as Anthony Bourdain makes the most of a layover in Atlanta — he browses a farmer’s market with Top Chef’s Richard Blais, and visits a famous strip club with Food Network’s Alton Brown (yes … you read that right … see the pictures here). Then, use the Layover App to replicate his trip (perhaps minus the strip club?) — learn his do’s and don’ts, watch exclusive video and use the app’s practical tools to map out the places you want to visit. Want to learn more? Check out our Layover App video, and download the app for free today!

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