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Transcript of Interview with Colby Donaldson 5/26/10
ELECTRIC ARTISTS: Top Shot Colby Donaldson
May 26, 2010/3:00 p.m. EDT
Moderator Ladies and gentleman, thank you for standing by. Welcome to
the Top Shot conference call with Colby Donaldson. At this time, all
participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a
question and answer session. Instructions will be given at that time. I
would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Eric Drumm.
Please go ahead.
Eric Good afternoon, everybody. This is Eric Drumm from Electric Artists
and welcome to the Top Shot conference call with Colby Donaldson.
Firstly, I'd like to thank Colby for sharing his time with us today.
Today, we're going to be discussing History's first-ever competition
show Top Shot, which is premiering on June 6th at 10/9 Central on
History, and we're also going to be discussing Colby's experiences as
the host of the show. Everyone will be allowed one question and one
follow-up question. If time allows, we'll take more questions. Just a
reminder that this call is being recorded and a transcript will be sent
to you within 48 hours of the call. So, let's take our first question
and let's get started. Have fun.
Pattye Hi, Colby. This is Pattye
Grippo from Pazsaz Entertainment
Colby Hi, Pattye.
Pattye Hi. Thanks so much for talking with us today and what I wanted to
know is what's the main difference between being a reality show
competitor and the host of the show?
Colby Well based on my experience, the food and lodging is much better
when you're the host. I never knew or I had no idea that having competed
three times now on Survivor but also just being a devout fan of the game
for as long as I have - for ten years now - I had no idea it would come
into play so much as the host. That's what Top Shot is. It's
specifically a competition show, and it's very similar in some ways to
Survivor. There were a lot of times when the producers and I would come
upon situations where it was familiar territory to me, whether it was
dealing with a tie break situation or potentially thinking about merging
the two teams. This was all ground that I had covered several times just
through my tenure as a competitor.
Pattye Definitely. What would be the main piece of advice you would give
to those contestants on Top Shot?
Colby The key to succeeding at Top Shot is definitely going to be
adaptability. We're got professionals that in some situations, these
guys shoot 2000-3000 rounds a week. Three thousand bullets a week
they're firing, but they're only using one weapon. That's how they
became professionals is by being absolutely proficient with one weapon.
Now we're asking these guys and female to step up using any type of
weapon. So, even though they're intimately familiar with a
semi-automatic pistol, when's the last time these guys picked up a black
powder Kentucky long rifle and tried to hit a moving target? That's
what's going to make this so interesting. So, to answer your question:
Adaptability will be the key to succeeding in this game.
Pattye Okay, well great. Thank you very much.
Colby You got it.
Moderator We'll take our next question.
Matt Hey, Colby, it's Matt Carter from Examiner.com. How are you?
Colby What's up Matt? Doing well, sir.
Matt Alright, well, you just talked a little bit about your experiences
on Survivor conveying over to this. So, as somebody who sat through
tribal council and had to deal with Jeff Probst's questions, has that
made you a little bit more sympathetic to the contestants on this show?
Colby Well, maybe not sympathetic but certainly empathetic. I do know
what these shooters are going through just in terms of trying to
maintain focus for this long of a period of time. It's not about
competing one day or two days or three days. These guys are all thrown
together in a house. You're forced to get along with people that you
don't necessarily want to get along with, and even more so on Top Shot
because we've got both teams living in one house. That's what's going to
make for some interesting social situations around the ranch house with
these guys. But in terms of Probst, man, I have a whole new appreciation
for how good he really is at his job and as host of Survivor. He's truly
unbelievable, and so I've got a whole new appreciation for him and his
efforts at that. But also, I never knew until now how much I was
sponging off of him and just learning not only as a competitor on the
show but just as a friend of his. Always admired his work and now it's
paying off a little bit because I've certainly learned a few things from
him over the years.
Matt Alright, awesome. Well in terms of this show, going in, how big of
a history buff were you and are there any other shows on the History
Channel that you're just huge fans of?
Colby Pawn Stars and American Pickers. I've got the TiVo set on season
pass to both of those shows. It was truly a perfect fit for me in terms
of the firearms and the gun side of this show in this competition. If I
wasn't the host, I would have sent in an application. No question. But
it's not just about shooting to me. I am a little bit of a historical
firearms buff, and I've been studying and collecting for a lot of years.
So, yes, it was a pretty natural fit for me.
Matt Alright, great. Well, thanks a lot,
Colby You got it man.
Moderator We'll take our next question.
Jim Hi, Colby, it's Jim Halterman from JimHalterman.com. How are you?
Colby Hi, Jim. Doing well.
Jim Hey,, I wanted to know, part of the fun of watching these reality
competition shows, whether it's Survivor or Top Shot, is getting to know
the contestants through the course of the show. Is that something that's
an element of this show, that we're going to get personal stuff with
Colby Well, no question. That's what drives the show. We knew just
because of the nature of having guns, blowing stuff up, that we knew
that stuff was going to be cool. There's no way you're just not going to
enjoy watching that. But what you've got to have - what is integral to
any good well-done competition show - it starts in the casting and
you've really got to put together a dynamic group of individuals. So in
casting Top Shot, there were actually a couple of top-ranked national
shooters that didn't make the cut, that didn't make the show, not
because they weren't good enough with the gun but because they didn't
bring enough to the table in terms - and I don't mean just drama and
conflict; it's not all about the friction - but we need dynamic
personalities. We need people that are going to bring something to the
competition and to the entire experience of Top Shot beyond their
shooting ability, and I think we got that. So to answer your question:
Absolutely. That's what having now seen the second and third episodes
starting to come together, you really do start getting invested in the
players. As a fan and a viewer, you start picking sides. You start
getting those that you want to support and you want to get behind and
you start rooting for and you're hoping they're doing well, and of
course, we've got a couple of villains speckled in there, too. So yes,
it's going to make for a good season, no question.
Jim Okay, and the show has such a kind of testosterone feel about it but
the other element of reality shows is having like a gay contestant on
the show. Is there room for that on this show? Is there anything that
comes into play in the season?
Colby As far as having a gay contestant?
Colby Of course. That was the whole thing with females too. We were just
bummed we only had one, and it wasn't because we didn't try. Getting the
word out and obviously we did pick the best of the best in terms of
shooting. I was actually surprised. When I came on board, I hadn't met
any of the competitors, and so I had an idea of what I thought the level
of talent would be and it's far surpassed that. Throughout the course of
the competition from start to finish, I was consistently blown away. So
in terms of whether it's male, female, straight, gay, doesn't matter. As
long as you can shoot, as long as you're good, and you show up. So, I
absolutely think there's room for that.
Jim Okay, thanks, Colby.
Colby You got it.
Moderator And we'll take our next question.
Stevie Hi, this is Stevie Wilson with the LA-Story.com.
Stevie It's interesting that - you mentioned already that there was only
one woman selected for this competition.
Stevie I was really surprised to see only one.
Colby Yes, I was too. And again, what it comes down to is just I don't
think there were enough that applied. That's what obviously moves it
forward. If it does well - we're all hoping it does and we get a season
two - we would love to stack the deck more evenly in terms of male
versus female. But it came down to who applied for the competition, for
the show. It's not just about applications. Then they have to qualify.
We took all these shooters out to the range, and we tested them with
various weapons at various distances. So it's not about - unlike
Survivor and some of the other competition reality shows where it's all
about your interview and the psych exam and all that - this show is very
different and Top Shot is very different. You must be good enough to
make the cut and that's what's going to keep the quality, the standard,
very high on this show. So in terms of females, we would love to have
seen more. The one we got is unbelievable. She's an ex-Chicago SWAT
team. She was Top Shot, top gun, of her graduating class, so she
certainly earned her way in. She is by no means the token female on a
male-dominant shooting show. That's not the case at all.
Stevie Well the question I would ask then is that how do you think it's
going to be for her in terms of competition with all these guys?
Obviously because she has a police background, she's used to being
around guys. I think she's going to give as good as she gets.
Colby Right. Right. Well, the thing is, I don't think the men are going
to take it easy on her. She's certainly going to have to earn her spot
on the team and in the house. That being said, I don't think Tara would
have it any other way. She doesn't want any sort of preferential
treatment. And you're exactly right. She's been on the force for a lot
of years. She's very used to a male-dominant environment, and it's
something we get into with her on the show. What is it like? What is it
like bunking up with all these guys? That's another thing. We're talking
about a big group of adults, and we're sticking them all in a big house.
It is a big house. At least they're not having to make their own shelter
like I've done, but it is one roof that they're all having to live
under. So, how is that going to play out when all these adults left
their lives back at home and their families and everything else to
commit to this? So it ought to make for an interesting season.
Stevie Sounds great. Thanks so much.
Colby You got it.
Moderator We'll go to our next question.
Troy Hi, Colby, it's Troy from TheDeadBolt.com. How are you?
Colby Hi, Troy. I'm doing well. You?
Troy I'm great, thanks. Now being from Texas and an outdoors kind of
guy, how well do you think you would have done as competitor on the
Colby Well, I guess when I first got hired on as the host, I kind of
envisioned myself as one of the competitors and thought I would do
pretty impressively. Well, then the game started and I started to see
how good these shooters are. So I don't know. The thing is the
difference - and I think this is another interesting point - when you
have a competition like this where you invite shooters from all
disciplines and backgrounds, whereas your military guys and your
recreational shooters, those guys are used to picking up any weapon with
any sort of sight or optic on it and hitting the target. And that's the
way I grew up. I've been shooting since I was six years old, and growing
up hunting, I never had time to adjust the scope or the sights according
to wind and all the elements. I had to adjust on the fly. We call it
Kentucky windage, and that's how you move the gun to hit the target.
Well, professional shooters aren't like that. A lot of the professional
guys are very accustomed to making adjustments on their weapons and
taking time. Well, they aren't going to have that luxury because we're
throwing them into challenges that require quick and immediate
responses, and that' where you get the intensity and that's why it's so
fun as a viewer to watch this whole thing play out. So to answer your
question: I don't know. I'd like to think I'd hold in there and do
pretty good but it would be tough. I don't know. I don't know that I'm
going to answer that question.
Troy Okay. Also, what was the best part of the show for you as the host?
Since you were shooting since you were six, what interesting things did
Colby Well, one of the greatest just bonuses for me was every time we
introduced a new weapon. In every episode, sometimes twice an episode,
we bring an expert on board to give our shooters a little background on
the weapon, a little history on the weapon, and also help them prepare
for the challenges. So, here I get to benefit from all that. I get to be
the sponge and learn from some of the best in the country with these
weapons, a crossbow for instance. A crossbow is something I've never
fired and so what a treat for me to get to have one of the best - not
only crossbow shooters in the country but he also owns one of the
largest manufacturing companies of crossbows. So, as an enthusiast, I'm
learning - the whole time I'm there to do my job, I'm also a little kid
in a candy store just getting to learn about all the various weapons we
use, which again is such a neat aspect of the competition, is we don't
stick with one weapon. As soon as the marksmen, the competitors, get
familiar with a weapon, we're switching. We're moving on. In one week,
we may be using pistols and the next it's rifles then all of a sudden
we're going to throw a longbow in their arms. So, it really keeps them
guessing but it also stays entertaining for the viewer.
Troy Excellent. Thanks.
Colby You got it.
Moderator We'll take our next question.
Nina Hi, Colby.
Nina Nina Lamari from NinaLamari.com.
Nina What are your thoughts on History Channel hosting its first-ever
Colby I love it. I love it. It's a big bold move. I know just from being
on the production side out here for a number of years now. I've had
competition show ideas that I've tried to pitch to different cable
networks, and it's not something that a lot of them want to take a bite
of. So the fact that History is bold enough to make this move to see how
it's going to work, I'm a huge fan of that and obviously it's meant a
job for me, so that's a good thing. But also, I've been hosting for a
number of years now, and I've obviously been on TV for almost a decade.
I'm so proud to be a part of this particular show not only now being in
the family at History Channel, which I'm incredibly proud of, but just
this show and the production quality. It was so well done from the time
I came on board in the first preproduction meeting we had until the
winner was announced and the competition was over. I could not have been
more thrilled about just the quality of TV that we were making, and
that's something I'm very proud of. I can't wait for the viewers to get
a look at it because it's their first competition reality show, but it
certainly won't look like it. It will look like they've been doing it
for two decades.
Nina And what is the part of the show that you are looking forward to
airing the most?
Colby That I'm looking forward to airing?
Nina Yes, for people to see?
Colby Our visuals are unbelievable. We had access to some cameras, some
super slow-motion cameras and to be able to slow a bullet down not only
as it exits the barrel of a sniper rifle but as it enters an exploding
target. Visually, especially in high definition, it looks like nothing
I've ever seen, and I had high expectations going into this because it
was History Channel. They've far exceeded my expectations of what
visually is possible on television these days. But then also just the
competition that came out. Again, we knew the marksmen were good. We
knew they were good shooters, but in terms of strategy, you never know
how cut-throat it's going to get. And these players are there to win.
Make no mistake. Yes, they've developed friendships. Some of the guys
know each other from previous competition around the country, some of
the professional shooters, but when it came down to this, it was the
gloves are off. We're going toe-to-toe and may the best man or woman
win. That was fun to see as host because every time I'm coming together
with these guys, the intensity level just continued to ratchet up.
Nina Great, thank you.
Colby You're welcome.
Moderator We'll take our next question.
Alex Hey, Colby. Alex Forstenhausler from RealityShack.com.
Colby Hi, Alex.
Alex Hi,. So, we've seen you on three seasons of Survivor. We've seen
you on Rachel Ray and even Kirby Enthusiasm. Which of your past
television appearances best represents the
Colby we can expect to see as
Colby Oh, great question.
Colby Well, obviously, it's a completely different role but I've got to
defer to Survivor only because of when you think of competition shows,
Survivor's the benchmark. And I've got to tell you, that's what we were
gunning for out there. We want to put together a show that will be
revered much the way Survivor is and so they've set the bar. Survivor's
set the bar and we're out there trying to match it or exceed it. So,
clearly, it's hard to compare the two because my roles are so different
on Survivor versus Top Shot, but it certainly one helps the other.
That's it, although I'm very proud of my Kirby Enthusiasm.
Alex I love that. Speaking of Survivor also, did you talk to your buddy
Jeff Probst before you took the job? Did he give you any advice?
Colby You know what? Not before but we bumped into each other at lunch a
couple of weeks ago, and he had heard that we had just finished filming
it and certainly gave me his well wishes. Again, like I said, I did have
a conversation with him before the Survivor finale, and I was just
telling him - I called him up on the phone and we chatted for a bit -
and I was just telling him how much of a new-found appreciation - and
Probst knows, Probst knows how much I've always respected the work he
does. I truly believe he's absolutely one of the best hosts on
television but now my appreciation runs so much deeper and for so many
different reasons because I've got to tell you, we were filming for
thirty days straight out there. No days off. No breaks. Granted, it's
not as rough as competing on Survivor. A guy like Probst, there's a lot
required of you, and he shows up every time and delivers it every time.
I obviously appreciate it because I was there watching the guy work. He
is a one-take wonder. So what you see on TV is literally him getting it
right the first time. So yes, I'd like to think he's happy for me.
Alex That's great. Thanks so much,
Colby You got it.
Moderator Again as a reminder, if you would like to ask a question,
please press * 1 at this time, and we'll take our next question.
Troy Hi, Colby, it's
Troy from The Dead Bolt again.
Colby Hi, Troy.
Troy Now can you talk about the difference between throwing knives and
sling shots compared to the rifles and handguns? Will the slow motion
scenes look the same and things like that?
Colby You mean the difference maybe visually?
Colby Okay. Well, the cool thing - yes, the throwing knives, sling shot
- they really look killer but the advantage we have with the types of
cameras we were able to use - the challenge is we can slow anything
down. I've got to tell you probably the most visually striking weapon we
used was the old black powder Kentucky long rifle because those old
muskets, the flint lock. When they fire, there's all these sparks and
then this smoke. It's an explosion, and it happens to close to the
shooter's face, you're looking at it going "How does that not burn them
around the eye when they're looking down the barrel?" And so visually,
that just looked unbelievable and also it's a huge steel ball coming out
of the barrel, so you can track it well with the camera. So, I've got to
tell you, we got so many great photographers, shooters, camera guys, our
sound, our entire team was so unbelievable to work with. On the days
when we used those big high-performance, slow-motion cameras, we all
turned into a bunch of kids because we were having as much fun as the
competitors on those days because we're getting to play back some of the
footage. Of course, none of the competitors have seen any of this, so
they don't know. They have no idea how it's going to look on television
and rightfully so. We need their heads to be in the game. It was all of
us behind the cameras that were having so much fun with the visuals of
Troy In addition to the visuals, did you get a chance to pick up all the
weapons and try them yourself?
Colby You know what? I'm not sure how much I should talk about all that?
I had a chance to play. There was a time or two when - I mean come on -
we've got some challenges that are so unbelievable. Anybody would want
to jump on a zip line while you're flying through the air, over a
hundred feet in the air, shooting at targets while you're on the move.
So, yes, I was a kid in a candy store to say the least.
And also, I've got to tell you, and this kind of relates to why I think
I'm a pretty good fit as host of this show. In our first episode, our
second challenge, we use a Remington 700 sniper rifle. Well, that's
actually one of the guns that I have, so I'm intimately familiar with
that. And that's when I knew I was home. That's when I knew I was in the
right place. When several times throughout the competition, our experts
come in to introduce a new weapon and it's something I've got in the gun
safe at home. That's always a good thing.
Troy Right on. Excellent. Good luck with the show.
Colby Thank you.
Moderator We'll take our next question.
Alex Hey, Colby. It's Alex Forstenhausler again from RealityShack.com.
Alex I was wondering if you could give - I don't know how much you're
allowed to reveal - but like the format of the show.
Colby Yes, well, thanks for asking that. So, basically, we're going to
pit two teams against each other in these historical-based challenges.
They're elimination challenges. So, if the team wins that first
challenge, they're safe from elimination. The losing team then has to
nominate two of its competitors to go head-to-head in an elimination
challenge. So, there's going to be two challenges per episode, okay?
There's a team challenge and then an individual challenge. So, the two
players that are nominated will have a practice session, and then
they'll go head-to-head in an elimination challenge. You lost that
challenge, you're going home. So, this is a way that Top Shot differs
completely from a show like Survivor. In Top Shot, you have your fate in
your hands at all times, and if you show up and deliver, if you shoot
well, you're not going home. So, you're not getting voted off, you're
getting nominated, and that's what makes it very interesting. So, you
may potentially have a player that if the teammates don't like him, for
whatever reason - whether it's personality conflict or they don't think
they're competent enough to be on the team - and they continually
nominate him. But as long as they show up to that elimination challenge
and shoot well and outperform the competitor they're going up again,
they're still in the house. So, that's a really - having played a game
like Survivor three times and your fate is in the hands of everyone
else, I can certainly appreciate a competition like Top Shot, where you
have your fate in your own hands.
Alex And so the team votes for the two nominated players - like whoever
gets the most votes - the top two, they're nominated?
Colby Yes, the team that loses the first team challenge, they then are
sent - and I'm not sure. Paul, can I speak about the nomination range?
Paul Yes, sure.
Colby Okay. So, yes. So, this was a really cool aspect that I wasn't
aware of until the game got under way and here we are standing there.
Just, it turned out to be unbelievable. So, losing team has to decide
who they're going to nominate. Then they are sent to a nomination range,
a gun range, and they each have a target with their name on it. And so
we're going to have a discussion about how the challenge went and how
they all feel and maybe who should be nominated. Then I'm going to call
the shooters up one at a time. They're going to shoot the target of the
person they want to nominate. So here again, very different from most
competition shows. You cannot hide your vote. When you put a bullet in
someone's target, they know exactly that you voted for him, and so that
potentially plays into someone's strategy because you can't conceal your
vote. And then at the end of that session, the two shooters that have
the most hits in their target, the most bullet holes in their target,
are going to go head-to-head in the elimination challenge. Does that
Alex Yes, it does. It's like it's part - you want to nominate the person
who's going to leave so that they're not around to get you back.
Colby Yes, well that's the thing. Well, what you hope is the person you
nominate, yes, doesn't win that challenge because then they're back in
the house knowing that you voted for them, which again, it's kind of
brilliant by design because it does allow for things to play out back at
the ranch house.
Alex Yes, it sounds good. I'm really looking forward to it,
Thanks a lot.
Colby Good. Thanks.
Moderator At this time, we have no further questions in our queue.
Eric Great. I want to thank everyone for participating and just a
reminder that a transcript will be provided within 48 hours to everyone.
Colby, thanks so much for your time today.
Colby You got it.
Eric And good luck with the premier and watch Sunday, June 6th at 10
p.m. Thanks everyone.
Colby Thanks, guys.
Moderator That does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for
your participation and for using AT&T Teleconference Service. You may
Rooted in history, skilled marksmen compete for $100,000
prize package and bragging rights as HISTORY’s…
First competition series from HISTORY™, premiering Sunday, June 6 at
Hosted by Survivor Contestant Colby Donaldson
New York, May 24, 2010 – Whether it's William Tell using a crossbow to
shoot an apple off his son’s head, or Annie Oakley using a hand mirror
to make a shot with a rifle slung over her shoulder, history is filled
with legendary tales of amazing marksmanship. Now, HISTORY is tapping
into these inspiring feats of sharp-shooting for its first-ever
competition series, TOP SHOT, premiering Sunday, June 6 at 10pm ET.
Sixteen of the nation’s most skilled marksmen have been carefully
selected to compete in the new 10-episode series. Some have professional
shooting experience, some are amateurs –all will showcase breathtaking
timing, speed and accuracy in their quest to win the $100,000 prize
package and title of “Top Shot.” The winner will ultimately have to be
skilled in everything from muzzle-loading muskets and modern pistols to
slingshots and throwing knives.
The series is hosted by actor, adventurer and athlete
Colby Donaldson, a
born competitor whose experience as a contestant on Survivor brings a
unique perspective to HISTORY’s first elimination series.
Each week, contenders will face both team and individual elimination
challenges until one winner remains. In the series opener (Sunday, June
6), contestants are immediately divided into two teams and then compete
in a “Rifle Relay,” an obstacle course using standard-issue rifles from
four different wars. In the elimination round, two contestants go
head-to-head in “The Long Shot,” a long-distance sniper challenge which
will send the first person home.
In episodes 2 and 3 (Sunday, June 13 and Sunday, June 20), contestants’
skills with the pistol and bow and arrow are put to the test. From
muzzle-loading muskets to throwing knives, every challenge will focus on
weapons, technologies and techniques of different eras in history as
high-speed HD cameras capture the skillful execution of each test in
Contestants vying for “Top Shot” include professional shooters and
world-record holders, but there are also amateurs, including a Wild West
entertainer, a historical firearms collector, and a radio gun show host.
They range in age from a 22-year-old rifle prodigy to a 47-year-old
retired New York cop. There is also one female in the group, the first
female in the history of the Chicago Police Department to become “Top
Gun” of her graduating class.
TOP SHOT is produced for HISTORY by Pilgrim Films & Television.
Executive Producers for HISTORY are Dirk Hoogstra and Paul Cabana. Craig
Piligian is Executive Producer for Pilgrim Films & Television.
HISTORY™ and HISTORY HD™ are the leading destinations for revealing,
award-winning original non-fiction series and event-driven specials that
connect history with viewers in an informative, immersive and
entertaining manner across multiple platforms. Programming covers a
diverse variety of historical genres ranging from military history to
contemporary history, technology to natural history, as well as science,
archaeology and pop culture. Among the network's program offerings are
hit series such as American Pickers, Ax Men, Battle 360, How The Earth
Was Made, Ice Road Truckers, Pawn Stars and The Universe, as well as
acclaimed specials including 102 Minutes That Changed America, 1968 with
Tom Brokaw, King, Life After People, Nostradamus: 2012, Star Wars: The
Legacy Revealed and WWII in HD. HISTORY has earned four Peabody Awards,
seven Primetime Emmy® Awards, 12 News & Documentary Emmy® Awards and
received the prestigious Governor's Award from the Academy of Television
Arts & Sciences for the network's Save Our History® campaign dedicated
to historic preservation and history education. Take a Veteran to School
Day is the network's latest initiative connecting America's schools and
communities with veterans from all wars. The HISTORY web site, located
at www.history.com, is the leading online resource for all things
history, featuring over 20,000 videos, images, audio clips, articles and
interactive features that allow visitors to dig deeper into a broad
range of thousands of historical topics.
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if you can help out! More volunteers always
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