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Originally published Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 5:05 AM

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New reality show tracks Bigfoot hunters

A new show on Spike TV, “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty,” promises to pay out big bucks to anyone who can provide definitive evidence that a sasquatch exists.


Special to The Seattle Times

On TV

‘10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty’

10 p.m. Friday on Spike.

Tonight in Prime Time

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good god, how many shows about people not finding stuff can theymake? MORE
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Until the stars of Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot,” including Seattle’s Ranae Holland, put themselves out of business by actually snagging a sasquatch, other TV shows can come along and ride their thematic coattails.

So now there’s Spike TV’s “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty,” debuting at 10 p.m. Friday.

Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman”) hosts this reality series that puts nine teams of two in competition to find definitive visual and DNA proof of Bigfoot’s existence. The potential $10 million prize is insured by Lloyd’s of London, and one can imagine it might have been the easiest decision ever made to issue an insurance policy.

About half the episodes in the show’s first season were filmed in Washington and the other half in California. Some segments were also filmed in Oregon and Michigan.

Dr. Todd Disotell, who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard and runs New York University’s molecular primatology lab, is one of two scientific experts in the series. As a Bigfoot skeptic, he gleefully debunks the wildest myths put forth by contestants, including one who claims to have killed a Bigfoot before embarking on the TV show hunt. Disotell asks the man, named Justin, what hair, skin and bone samples reveal about the creature he supposedly killed. The response from the contestant is “feral human.”

“You can’t tell if a human is feral from its DNA,” Disotell says in the series premiere, which features an expedition in the shadow of Mount Adams near Glenwood, Klickitat County. “So if Justin killed a ‘feral human,’ Justin actually killed a human and he’s committed murder.”

In each episode, teams compete in two challenges: a field test and a hunt in a location where Bigfoots have supposedly been sighted.

“I’m a skeptic — that’s what all scientists are — but the work I did out there in the Pacific Northwest is exactly the same kind of work I do in my everyday research,” Disotell said in an interview late last month. “While some of my colleagues might think it’s pushing the edge of the envelope when I’m out there working with strange characters, it’s exactly the same work I do if I’m trying to identify a new population of monkeys or apes.”

Of course, he can’t say if anyone won the $10 million top prize, but Disotell said the show set a high bar.

“How I actually first became involved is in helping to write what the scientific evidence would have to be,” he said. “I can’t say there’s no possibility of it because science can’t say something doesn’t exist. We can only test what’s out there. But I’m skeptical, so I think it’s a pretty low probability that they’ll have to pay it out.”

Rob Owen: RobOwenTV@gmail.com or on Facebook and Twitter as RobOwenTV.




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