"Edge of America" star Geoff Edgers is the first person to admit that he's the "unlikeliest person" to host a television show. But as the man who's spent his entire career as a writer explained in a recent one-on-one interview, "I joke about it being real unlikely, but the fact is I like talking, I like writing, and I love dealing with interesting subculture. So it does in many ways make perfect sense."
Still Edgers conceded, "It's just not normal for somebody to be doing this after not doing anything on TV at the age of 42. Most people spend their lives trying to get this opportunity."
Edgers describes his unexpected move to TVThe Boston Globe writer explained how he got his unexpected, and unsolicited, big break. "I made this nutty documentary about my attempts to reunite the Kinks, the rock band, called 'Do It Again,'" he recounted, "and a friend of mine who happens to be a Travel Channel executive liked that and brought a clip of it to his boss and the people around him."
The result of that fateful introduction is a new show called "Edge of America" in which the arts and entertainment reporter discovers some the most unexpected ways that people have found to amuse themselves -- from a calf testicle festival to the inexplicable Pig N' Ford race.
Edgers experience as a journalist translates to TV -- with a twistEdgers soon realized that his prior credentials were perfect for his new gig. After all, he's been delving into American subcultures for decades. As he acknowledged, "The reality is that there are a lot of things that are similar to my regular job here, which is being a reporter, researching, doing things for a reason, breaking down the history -- doing that kind of take away."
And yet Edgers is finding that he needs to approach his new adventures in a different way. "I'm used to, as a reporter, staying out of the story and writing and watching people do things. And on this show, my job is to become part of it. I have to do the thing we're covering. If I don't, then it's just not done right. People watching can't feel that vicarious connection."
Edgers takes big risks on 'Edge of America'Now, thanks to Edgers, viewers will get to find out what it's like to eat the still beating heart of a rattlesnake and to wrestle an alligator. But just because it's happening on a television show doesn't mean it's risk-free.
The mild-mannered journalist revealed, "You're signing a death wavier, literally, on paper before you do the event. And you're putting a lot of faith in people you just met, and you're hoping for the best."
Luckily he has a solid team behind him. Edgers conceded, "I really trust the people I work with, and I believe in them. And they certainly don't want me to die until at least the end of the season."
All joking aside, Edgers may be going to the "Edge" every time he takes on a new task, but he admitted he's up for the challenge, "The reality is that anything could happen. I'm really excited to get a chance to do it though. The feeling you get from doing things like this, this adventure, whether it's flying a seaplane or drag racing or jumping on an alligator, it's like no feeling you could imagine -- the amount of adrenaline and the insanity that you get to experience."
Tune in to "Edge of America" on Tuesday, 1/22 at 9 PM on Travel Channel.