Morgan Fairchild held at gunpoint. Ice-T in an extreme car accident. Ed Begley, Jr. attacked by a gang of teenagers and nearly fatally knifed. Cheryl Tiegs, in a plane in Africa when the pilot has a seizure just as he’s starting a takeoff. “Once we heard these stories, they just couldn’t be ignored,” declares producer Seth Jarrett. Thus, his latest TV offering, BIO channel’s June 18-debuting “Celebrity Close Calls,” was hatched.
Other names talking about their brushes with death include Jewel, Peter Fonda, Pam Grier, Tiffany, Brooke Burns, Lou Diamond Phllips, Bobby Brown, Elizabeth Rohm, Gary Busey, Ed Begley Jr. and Louis Gossett, Jr.
Jarrett and his wife Julie Insogna Jarrett, already bring us the cult favorite “Celebrity Ghost Stories,” in which an array of some 150 stars have appeared to share their own personal tales of spirits and such. The third season of “Celebrity Ghost Stories” premieres June 18 as well.
“Because of the subject matter in ‘Celebrity Ghost Stories,’ every once in a while, one of those stories naturally led to story of a near-death experience, either something said on camera or in passing,” Jarret explains.
“I think people do ‘Clebrity Close Calls’ for different reasons than ghost stories. It’s much more emotional,” he says. “The stories are much more traumatic and difficult for them to share. I think they’re thinking they can help someone else out there, someone who had a traumatic car accident, or went through bouts of depression and considered suicide. Obviously, they’re compelling, entertaining stories.”
With “Ghost Stories,” he feels, “They’re sharing stories they truly believe in, usually experiences that changed their lives in some way. They want people to understand how and when it happened. It’s a completely new outlet for people to share these kinds of stories.”
This year’s who’s who of booos includes Regis Philbin, Harry Hamlin, Jerry Stiller, Valerie Harper, Bret Michaels, Nick Hogan, Eva Amurri, Mia Tyler, Ming-Na, Beverly D’Angelo, Sally Struthers, Natasha Henstridge, Cassandra Peterson, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Matthew Gray-Gubler, Brett Butler, Penelope Ann Miller and Chi McBride.
Jarrett, who conducts all the “Ghost Story” interviews, tells us, “I came into this being an open-minded skeptic, and at this point I still have not had an experience myself. But I’m definitely far more of a believer than when I started. Doing 150 interviews, over time you start to see the incredible consistencies in these stories, from celebrities you know do not run in the same circles.”