This sounds some-what unofficial and not completely confirmed. What we do know is Authentic Entertainment is filming in Florida , but producers aren't commenting.
Read the full article below from NapleNews.com
David Shealy’s been trekking through the Everglades for 35 years looking for the skunk ape.
This week, he’ll have company.
A film crew from California-based Authentic Entertainment, the production company behind reality TV shows Ace of Cakes (Food Network) and Flipping Out (Bravo) is in Ochopee to begin filming a pilot reality show intended for Discovery Channel in the fall.
Shealy, curator of the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters, has appeared on other shows about the legendary skunk ape, a yeti-like creature adapted to the wilds of South Florida, including "Unsolved Mysteries" and "The Daily Show."
He calls the Discovery Channel pilot the biggest project he’s worked on.
An Authentic Entertainment associate in Burbank confirmed that a film crew is in Florida on the project but the producers in the field declined to comment on the making of the show.
Shealy said they’ll employ a helicopter to get aerial shots and tour the 10,000 Islands by boat. Advanced technology, which he declined to describe, will be used as well, he said.
“The producers really want to put together a successful show,” he said.
Shealy knows not everyone buys the tale of the skunk ape, a 7-foot tall biped covered in hair and emitting a foul odor. The website for his Trail Lakes Campground on U.S. 41 in the Big Cypress Preserve, hosts an ongoing poll asking visitors if they believe in the creature’s existence. More than 25 percent of the 2,500 respondents either believe it to be a hoax or are skeptical.
But a majority either believe in the idea or find it plausible.
He says new information is surfacing all the time. “I’m hot on the trail,” he said, adding the fresh evidence points to the presence of a skunk ape around Sunniland. “New doors are opening. I look forward to bringing this to a close real soon.”
He hopes the Discovery cameras are on hand when he does. “We’re going to break new ground here.”
Saturday just after noon, to mark the occasion of the television production and as a way to thank his camp ground and Skunk Ape Research Headquarters patrons, he is hosting a fan appreciation day at the campground. There will be live music, food, soft drinks, Shealy said. He said he’s promoting a family event so alcohol won’t be sold, but he has a couple of cases of Swamp Ale, a specialty beer made in Florida that he may give out as prizes.
Local radio host Joe Whitehead is to serve as the master of ceremonies.
In the 1990s, Shealy gained notoriety when he tried to sell the county on the idea of using tourist tax revenue to fund an expedition leading the media in search of the skunk ape. The theory was that if the media could show the skunk ape to be real, tourists would flock here hoping to get a glimpse.
The idea actually won initial approval from the Tourist Development Council before being shot down by an unamused board of county commissioners.
In the intervening years, the explosion of reality TV means that an enthusiastic pitchman -- “I consider myself the top researcher in the country, possibly the world, on the skunk ape,” Shealy says -- can on his own get the media to come to the swamp in search of an elusive and possibly illusory creature.
Even if the cameras don’t capture a skunk ape, they’re sure to capture the beauty of the Everglades, all without taxpayers having to spend a dime.
If it ends up on a major cable network, that’s a win for Collier County either way.
David "right place, right time" Shealy, claimed on July 8, 2000 to have filmed 3 minutes worth of skunk ape footage. Below is a mini documentary posted on youtube in 2008.