It was a big night for Bear Whisperer fans. On April 3, three new episodes premiered in Mammoth Lakes, four days before the rest of the world will be privy to the epsiodes when they show on Animal Planet beginning April 7.
The shows aired at the local Mammoth Lakes Art Center to a full house. Mammoth Lakes Town Councilmember John Eastman gave the opening remarks and introduced Eric Schotz, CEO of LMNO, the production company for The Bear Whisperer series. Schotz talked a bit about the background of the show and then began the first expisode. The audience roared with laughter throughout the 42 minutes.
After a brief intermission, the next episode, which chronicled the life and death of the infamous Blondie, put the audience in a more somber mood. As the lights came back on after the episode, Schotz and bear whisperer Steve Searles made their way to the front of the room for a Question and Answer period.
Searles, who had proofed the scripts but had not been allowed to view the footage prior to that night, was asked what he thought about the much-anticipated "Blondie" episode. He admitted that it was just as heavy as he had expected.
Schotz and Searles took turns answering questions. When Schotz was asked directly what it was like to work with Searles, he answered jokingly, "he's a total diva."
After the Q&A, the third episode was shown, which featured the younger bears of Mammoth and the trouble they caused in the summer of 2010, including the well-known "bear-bite" incident.
For more on Eric Schotz, check out The Sheet newspaper's interview from last week.
Episode one of "Bear Whisperer Returns" airs on April 7 at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet. Episodes two and three air on April 14 and 21, respectively.
Photo: Searles and Schotz in the limelight at Mammoth's premiere of Bear Whisperer Returns. (Photo: Lara Kirkner)
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