ANACONDA - By itself, metal detecting may seem like a pretty dull spectator sport.
But, with Anaconda residents Tim Saylor and George Wyant in the field, treasure hunting just might catch on with television viewers.
The duo behind Anaconda Treasure.com and a number of self-produced "Extreme Metal Detecting" DVDs is now flirting with their own TV series on the art of uncovering buried gems.
Two half-hour pilot episodes of the show "Diggers" will premier back-to-back at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 on the National Geographic Channel, channel 276 on DirecTV or 165 on Optimum.
The channel is not part of most basic cable packages.
Team ATC, as Saylor and Wyant are known, not only travel across Montana but all around the country in search of historical artifacts lost beneath the surface.
Saylor, a software developer, and Wyant, who works at Montana Resources, first bonded over their interest in metal detecting several years ago.
Wyant bought a few instructional videos off the Internet, which they both found dry. They created a website and started filming their own trips to raise interest in the hobby, but let their personalities show through to make their videos more entertaining.
"It's something about when we get together. We egg each other on," Saylor said. "Nothing is off limits, and we push boundaries."
Silly skits and footage of actual finds helped "Extreme Metal Detecting" sell more than 1,000 copies over six volumes. When Saylor put a few compilations on YouTube, they caught the eye of more than a few
TV production companies.
Half Yard Productions, creators of "American Loggers" and "Modern Marvels," came to Anaconda to meet Team ATC early last year. They successfully pitched "Diggers" to National Geographic in July.
Most of the filming for these two episodes took place in September and October. The first episode is set in Montana and the second is set in South Carolina.
"For most treasure hunters, it's a dream come true," Saylor said. "They're flying us to places we might not ever have gone to."
While they do find some incredible things, what makes the show is their ability to keep it fun and funny, Wyant said.
"It's not about what we do, but how we do it," he said. "Were constantly making stupid bets and messing with each other."
The series is not guaranteed beyond these two episodes, though "King George" and "Ringmaster Tim" are hopeful Nat Geo decides to bring them back for a whole season - depending on how the pilots test with audiences.
"They're talking good things, and we're positive about it moving forward," Wyant said. "I don't want it to end. It's just created a life of its own."
- Reporter George Plaven may be reached at 496-5597, or via email at email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/@George_Plaven.
Want to know more?
For more information about Team ATC and "Diggers," visit www.anacondatreasure.
com or www.channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/