Demolition crew hope TV show is a smashing success
Brian Gurry, left, and Lee Danley of Fremont-based Danley Demolition, star in the new National Geographic Channel's new reality series “Bid & Destroy,” which premieres tonight at 9. (National Geographic Channel Photo)
FREMONT —Lee Danley and his demo crew hope their new reality show, premiering tonight on National Geographic Channel, crushes the competition — on TV, that is.
“I think it's going to be a great show,” Danley said with excitement Tuesday as the crew from Danley Demolition of Fremont prepared for their national debut in NatGeo's new series, “Bid & Destroy.”
The 12-part series filmed at demo sites around New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts over the summer begins with the first two episodes, airing back-to-back at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
NatGeo announced in March that it was planning a new series based on the Danley crew as they bid on jobs and then hunt for treasures hidden in the buildings before they crumble. Much of the company's financial success depends on the items found after securing the demo contract.
Lee Danley, who started the company with his wife, Rita, in 1993 and has lived in Fremont for the last 15 years, said producing the TV show has been a learning experience for him and the crew, which includes daughter Gina Surrette of Fremont; Todd Drummey of Raymond; Jim Bassett of Sandown; partner Brian Gurry of Massachusetts and his nephew, Eric Gurry; and Kip Walker of Maine.
Like other ordinary folks plucked from the real world and thrown into Hollywood, it took some time for the Danley crew to get used to cameras and producers hanging around their equipment.
As a businessman, the 60-year-old Danley said he's always rushing to get things done as quickly as possible, but he had to take it slow to accommodate the show.
“They learned to catch up and I learned to slow down,” he said, laughing.
The new series was produced by Leftfield Pictures — the same TV company that produces “Pawn Stars,” a hit reality show on History, featuring a pawn business in Las Vegas.
The 12 episodes of “Bid & Destroy” were expected to be filmed in about three months, but he said it was more like six.
The first episode airing at 9 p.m. is called “The Toilet Farm” and features the crew as they head to Manchester to tear down an abandoned boarding house. Before the demo work began, Danley said they made an unusual find on the property: two dozen toilets piled up in the garage.
In the second episode at 9:30 p.m., “The Cash Factory,” cameras follow the crew to Claremont where they demolish an old paper mill and 16-story metal smokestake.
Other episodes will feature a 150-year-old haunted house with an old scythe in the yard and cages in the basement. Later they'll show up at a farmhouse being demolished to make way for a parking lot, but inside they discover items that include an old bell, a “strange” German typewriter, a doodle bug tractor, and a safe with potentially valuable possessions locked up inside.
Other sites uncover valuable sports memorabilia, a classic Oldsmobile Cutlass 442, and a small cannon.
While Danley has returned personal items like family photographs and stocks and bonds he's found at job sites, he said the company takes possession of items discovered on the properties after the owners sign a contract giving Danley salvage rights.
“You never know what's going to be there. It's exciting to find things people have forgotten about and left behind,” Danley said. “Ninety nine percent of the time I'm working for somebody who picked up the property and they don't care. They just want to get rid of it and they don't want to go through it.”
The Danleys have planned a private premiere party tonight.
“All of my friends are excited. All of my family is excited. Everyone's excited and they can't wait to see the program,” Rita Danley said.
While everyone's hopeful the show will be a success and will lead to a second season, Lee has quickly learned that in TV, it's all about the ratings.
“We won't know until the ratings come in,” he said.
But no matter what happens with their show, Danley said he and his crew have enough demo work to last them through the end of December.
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Jason Schreiber may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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