Editor’s note: The one-hour television special edition of Kenny Mayne’s Wider World Of Sports airs on ESPN2, Dec.11 at 10:00 pm ET. For more information, click here.
When you produce something really cool for the first time, like Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports for ESPN.com, it’s all fun and games. But when you’re asked to do it all again, in six new countries with six equally quirky sports, the challenge becomes how do you top Season 1. Just ask Matt Doyle, the producer of WWOS Seasons 1 and 2.
You have a lot of fun creating WWOS, but it’s also a lot of work, right?
Absolutely. But don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of fun to be had on the trips. Organizing and producing six international shoots over a four-month span is definitely a challenge, but while the hours are long and the remote shoot locations can pose unique challenges, traveling with the same three guys for the past two seasons makes everything a lot easier. Kenny, myself, camera man Aaron Frutman, and camera man/audio technician Mike Andrus all know what needs to get done on each trip and we all work together to make it happen.
What’s new and different this season?
The main difference between Season 1 and Season 2 is a conscious effort to do more storytelling in the features this time around. Last year, we tried to cram as many stories as possible into each of our trips, and while that provided us with a large variety of things to choose from, it may have thinned out some features we could have given more time to.
For Season 2, there will be one feature from each country, focusing on a specific event or activity. We’re able to provide a lot more backstory to events such as the Palio di Siena horserace in Italy, or the bridge jumpers of Mostar, Bosnia. These events have a rich history and tradition that we’re able to bring to life in a much more effective manner this season.
How do you find these strange sports and the characters involved?
From the time last season ended, I’d surf the Internet from time to time, making a note of potential interesting events for this year’s show. Friends and co-workers also sent links to various events around the world. I eventually made a list and sent it to Kenny before presenting it to [ESPN executives] John Skipper, Rob King, and Ronnie Forchheimer for final approval.
Any thoughts on where you’ll go for WWOS Season 3?
Who knows what the future holds? We’ve only been to 12 countries for the show, so I’m sure there are more amazing stories out there waiting for us. Regardless, we were genuinely thrilled to have the opportunity to shoot Season 2 and we can’t wait to share the features with our viewers. Producing this show with my talented crew (Aaron, Mike, and editor Jason Morris, and yes…even Kenny) has provided me with experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
Video produced by Dave Williams