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That's Showing Spirit

Producer Dave Watson plans to give Nugent a makeover

Ted Nugent and Dave Watson enjoy a break with some full auto shooting. Ted Nugent and Dave Watson enjoy a break with some full auto shooting.

By: Mike Suchan, OutdoorChannel.com

Keep it clean, Ted.

That’s something Dave Watson feels comfortable telling Ted Nugent. Watson has requested such before and even might need to do some bleeping when he takes over production of Nugent’s wildly popular “Spirit of the Wild” on Outdoor Channel.

“Ted and I have a long history,” Watson said. “He used to come and sit in with the Oak Ridge Boys and talk on the microphone. I’d always have to say, ‘Ted, Girl Scout version. Girl Scout version.’ “


Click image for Dave Watson/Ted Nugent photos


It’s not that Nugent, the Motor City Madman of rock ‘n’ roll fame, always works blue, but sometimes his passion in defending Americans’ rights turns fervid. The two had discussed the prospect of Watson producing “Spirit of the Wild” for years, and both finally came to a point where the stars aligned.

“Ted and I have been friends for 25 years. I’ve always respected his work, both as a musician and as an outdoor celebrity,” Watson said. “He does so much for gun rights and he’s such a positive fighter, nonstop, that I thought I would finally take that position and help him produce his show, take a little pressure off his shoulders so he could do more on the Second Amendment stuff.

“Ted does a great job for all of us and I could free up more time of his time to protect my Bill of Rights and I could do his TV show. That’s a good swap.”

While the idea had been bantered about for about five years, the two still had to feel each other out before finalizing the team. They already related on a number of levels before Watson visited Nugent’s Waco ranch to do some shooting. Their communication seemed to end on a musical note.

“On this shoot we just did in Waco,” Watson said, “Ted was asking what kind of equipment I’m going to bring, what we’re going to shoot. ‘You’re asking me to hire the band and I haven’t heard the song yet.’ He goes, ‘I get it.’ “

Watson, who began outdoor TV with TNN in 1998, has hosted and produced “Mathews TV with Dave Watson” on Outdoor Channel for the past five seasons. “Spirit of the Wild” will be his eighth show to produce, and Watson only celebrated landing that gig after determining how Nugent would accept him.

“Ted Nugent is not the type of guy to take direction,” he said. “We’re both type A,   but after meeting with him and shooting some stuff, and him getting excited about people taking the extra time and extra effort to shoot it correctly, and him knowing that when I edit a show it’s such a long, long process that he’s going to get so much more, all the special effects, all the bells and whistle, including audio, we celebrated.”

Taking over the Golden Moose Awards’ Fan Favorite show could be daunting, but Watson said he just plans to give “Spirit of the Wild” a makeover and that both are excited to join talents and vision. Watson said he has a great outdoor personality.

“It’s just how well he speaks and how much love and dedication he puts into bow hunting. The guy lives it, breathes it,” he said. “What he needed was a little better camera work, better equipment and a lot more time in the editing room.”

The Watson touch promises a more professional production. He surprised Nugent that he works about 60 hours on each show.

“It is not a five-hour process. It’s not a three-day process. It’s 60 hours,” Watson said. “If it’s shot really well and the audio is really clean, I might be able to get through it in 40 hours, but I’m kind of a perfectionist.

“I go over it and over it and over it. It’s kind of like mixing a record. You can listen to it three months later and say, ‘Man, I wish I would have changed that.’ It’s never going to be perfect.”

With Watson editing and Nugent focusing on the hunt and imparting his knowledge and passion to bow hunting, the show should be visually different sometime this July.

“Ted’s interest is purely with a broadhead going through an animal,” Watson said. “Ted’s a very spontaneous guy. Hit record, let’s do it. That’s how Ted does things. I’m more on the production side and the post, as it’s known in the business. How can I make this good?

“Coming from the TNN background, we had lighting crews and audio engineers, and multiple cameraman and jibs and dollies. Meeting somewhere in the middle will make ‘Spirit of the Wild’ a fantastic TV show.”

For "Mathews TV With Dave Watson" show page, click here.

For "Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild" show page, click here.

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