Reality sinks in for Fremont demolition crew featured on TV
FREMONT — Cheers erupted around the bar at Tuckaway Tavern in Raymond Wednesday night when reality TV's newest stars made their debut on National Geographic Channel's new series, “Bid & Destroy.”
No one could have imagined a year ago that the crew from Danley Demolition in Fremont would land roles in its very own reality show.
“I'm not big into that kind of stuff. I just do my thing and stay behind the scenes,” confessed crew member Jim Bassett of Sandown, a truck driver with a long brown beard who's nicknamed “ZZ Top” and operates excavators and other equipment for Danley.
It'll be hard for the 47-year-old Bassett to remain a behind-the-scenes type of guy now that he's appeared in the season premiere of the new series that follows the demo crew to job sites around New Hampshire and New England.
The show will offer a peek into the competitive world of demo work, from the bidding process to the hunt for valuables hidden in buildings that are recovered by Danley's crew before the crushing begins.
In addition to the Danley crew, others from New Hampshire will get some air time as well.
For instance, Donna Welch, owner of From Out of the Woods Antique Center in Goffstown, helped appraise some of the stuff they found.
Uncovering an item that's worth something makes the job more profitable — and more entertaining for TV viewers.
“I think it's going to be more of an uplifting show rather than throwing your hardhat down and fighting,” said company owner Lee Danley after watching himself and his crew in the season premiere, which featured episodes on the demolition of an abandoned boarding house in Manchester and an old paper mill in Claremont.
The episodes will be repeated Friday nights, with new ones airing Wednesdays at 9 and 9:30 p.m. for the next six weeks.
The show was produced by Leftfield Pictures, which also produces “Pawn Stars,” a reality show on History featuring a pawn business in Las Vegas.
Danley, a longtime Fremont resident, hopes the show will be a success and lead to more seasons.
“A second, third, fourth, fifth, yeah, bring it on,” he said with excitement as his daughter, Gina Surrette, who also works for the company and appeared in Wednesday's premiere, handed out small autographed “Bid & Destroy” posters to family and friends.
Equipment operator Kip Walker, 49, has worked for the company about 12 years and always thought their line of work would be good for TV but said he “never dreamed” it would ever happen.
“When I first started here I used to laugh and thought, 'It's too bad they couldn't have us on TV because it would be an interesting show. And here we are, 12 years later we're making it happen so it's pretty cool,” he said.
The Danley crew is used to having an audience around when it works. Surrette, who works in the office and drives a truck and the Bobcat, said people often set up chairs and sit to watch the work.
“To an extent, it doesn't surprise that there's interest in this. We're accustomed to seeing people line up watching the demolition,” she said.
Surrette wants the show to educate people about the work, but she said there's a stronger message behind it.
“The one thing that I hope people take away from all of this is that we're a decent family. We believe in family. We believe in local. We take care of each other.”
Danley's wife, Rita, who owns the business with her husband, said she's excited about she show, but hopes it doesn't change her family and crew.
“I really like the rhythm that we have right now. The guys are great. We wouldn't be where we are now without the guys we have,” she said.
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