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MICHAEL DE ADDER CARTOON: Feb. 24, 2020
‘Adventures Unknown: Newfoundland and Labrador" attracts attention in U.K.
Imagine yourself going on a new excursion every week.
First, it’s dirt biking across Bell Island, then diving off a 50-foot waterfall, then shark fishing in a 20-foot boat and then dogsledding in -40 temperatures.
Those are some of the wild excursions Donny Love of St. John’s got to experience as part of his “Adventures Unknown: Newfoundland and Labrador” television show.
The 12-episode travel series, which begins airing 8:30 p.m. NL Sunday on NTV, sees Love, the host, escape the hustle and bustle of city life and accept invites on social media to visit various parts of the province. It leads him to participate in exciting and sometimes hair-raising activities.
“It’s been pretty wild, and there were times when I thought I shouldn’t be doing this. I was scared and nervous sometimes,” said Love, creator and executive producer of the series.
“But it was so much fun. We’re really happy with how it all went. … Looking back at the shows, I thought, wow, what an opportunity. This is like a dream.”
Love’s idea of creating an adventure series stemmed from his love of the province.
“Newfoundland and Labrador is just so beautiful and there are so many special places that not everyone gets to see,” he said.
In developing the show, his first call was to his old buddy and former partner from their “George Street TV” days, Kent Brown, who directed and produced the show.
Their chemistry was reignited.
“We’re back together and stronger than ever,” said Love, who also operates Big Jib Productions, which developed other local TV shows, “Open House NL” and “Entrepreneur NL.”
For a year and a half of shooting the show, it was the journey of a lifetime for Love, as some other adventures saw him scuba diving in the Atlantic Ocean, downhill mountain biking in Gros Morne National Park, rock climbing in Flatrock and taking a three-day trek on Ski-Doos in Labrador.
“At one point I said to Kent, ‘Can you believe we’re actually doing this?’” Love said. “It was quite the adventure for us.”
It was Love’s first time experiencing most of the activities, which Brown said is appealing on its own.
“Truthfully, Donny’s a bit of a fish out of water in doing some of these adventures,” Brown said. “I mean, he’s no professional Ski-Dooer. He’s just a normal guy who, lots of times, gets hurt doing some of these things.
“In doing these activities, people will say, ‘Hey I can do that. I’m going to do that because it looks like fun.
‘“The cool thing about the show is that, at the same time, it shows off Newfoundland and Labrador — not only to people outside the province, but people within the province.
“It’s kind of a postcard to Newfoundland about Newfoundland.”
Using a drone for many camera angles, Love and Brown were able to capture some jaw-dropping scenic views of their locations, creating a large cinematic effect without a large budget.
Brown loved using the drones so much, he acquired his advanced drone pilot’s licence, and now he and Love own a drone business.
Love and Brown covered the cost of making the show by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars and with the help of local sponsors.
Love and Brown hope the show will be picked up by a national network, as "George Street TV" was.
The show has also gained attention in the United Kingdom, where a content curator will provide it to various platforms, such as Sky Network, that will broadcast it on various cable and satellite providers. In all, Love and Brown said, it will reach five million households in the U.K. The number is expected to rise to 20 million by next year.
Eventually, the two would like to shoot the show at various places around the world.
“That’s our bigger dream,” Brown said. “So, someone from Greece, Spain or England, the United States or Central America is watching Donny and say, ‘Hey, you should come here and do this,' whatever.
“We would still keep a footprint in Newfoundland and have shows here, but it would be nice to step out and have a global footprint.”
Those wanting to keep up to date on the show or offer suggestions for the show’s next adventure can visit the show’s Facebook page at Adventures Unknown or on Instagram at adventuresunknown1.