Evan Husney, the producer of Viceland's hit series Dark Side of the Ring, sat down with TV Insider to talk about the second season of the show, which premieres tomorrow night with the highly-anticipated episode covering the Chris Benoit murder/suicide story. Check out highlights from his interview below.
What he learned from season one:
We were trying to figure out what the show was about in Season 1 as we were making it. As we figured out the format, how we wanted things and our interactions, I think we used all of that to apply to the bigger stories in the world of wrestling. We wanted to approach the big marquee stories that fit right in with the themes we explore in our show. Stories that have impacted wrestling in the last several decades.
How befriending Chavo Guerrero helped gain him access to Vickie Guerrero and David Benoit:
It was a little easier in terms of getting people on board because we had something we could point to. We had work people could go out and watch. The first time we didn’t have that. It was more of a struggle. For the Benoit episode specifically, none of it would have been possible, in terms of access and building trust, without the participation of Chavo Guerrero Jr. Chavo was somebody I met almost two years ago now, and we started talking about this project. Chavo was instrumental into introducing us to a lot of people in the episode — Vickie Guerrero, Sandra, David, Chris Jericho. He came on board the project as a producer, but he was instrumental in terms of giving us access to the inner circle of the story. That was the way we wanted to tell that story, and without him, I don’t know we could have done that.
How Chris Jericho became the season two narrator:
It was pretty informal in terms of getting him on board. We had just done his interview for the Chris Benoit episode. I was standing in his kitchen asking him his thoughts of narrating season two. He said, “Yeah, I’d be really into that.” That was pretty much it. This season is a Canadian production, where last year was not. We had to secure a Canadian citizen to be the narrator for the show. It’s perfect, it all aligned that way. Chris has been great. We actually just recorded with him to put some VO on some of the upcoming episodes. He has been fantastic to work with. He knows so much about all these stories already and learning new things. It’s awesome. He is fun to collaborate with, so we’re excited to be working with him.
How they chose the topics for the show:
We definitely tried to keep a balance while hitting the big stories. We wanted to look at them from different vantage points. We also wanted to mix in some episodes that were a little deeper cut for some of the die hard wrestling fans. One of those that I think will be a treat for fans will be the one we’re doing on Herb Abrams and the UWF. A story of a wrestling fan turned promoter who tried to basically tried to start his own wrestling promotion in the late ‘80s to challenge WWF. It was this big-time dreamer who had these lofty goals and had money to pull it off. It pretty much became one of the most spectacular disaster stories in wrestling. Not many fans know the real story of that ill-fated federation. That’s going to be really entertaining for people.
Interviewing Martha Hart for the Owen Hart tragedy episode:
There is no way we would have attempted to do the story without her. It was definitely one of the episodes I think wrestling fans have wanted to see the most. We really wanted to make it happen. I basically wrote her a cold email introducing myself and telling her about the show. She responded to me and wrote out these 10 questions that were super well thought out. It was answering questions about me, the background of the show, what we were looking to do and the story we wanted to tell. It was amazing. Essentially, I worked on responding to her for two weeks and writing this full essay, which was amazing because it made me try to discover what I wanted to say with the story and how I wanted to approach the story. I sent that to her. That prompted a meeting. I flew out to Calgary and spent an entire evening with her and her son Oje. It went super well. She really wanted to tell this story. She had been wanting to tell her side of the story. It just went off from there. They are as cool can be, and we had a great time together. I think the episode is going to be fantastic.