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Aaron Sagers is no Fox Mulder. An entertainment journalist, who’s found himself writing more and more about the paranormal since Ghost Hunters launched a new unscripted genre in 2004, he considers himself a skeptic.
“I’m a child of the ’80s, so I’ve always been enamored with this stuff,” Sagers tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I was raised on Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and John Carpenter. I’m a skeptical believer, but I just love exploring why our culture is so fascinated with all of this.”
The exploration has parlayed itself into the website ParanormalPopCulture.com, which he runs while continuing to contribute to outlets like CNN, and, starting Friday, a new show on Travel Channel.
Paranormal Paparazzi, premiering Sept. 28, finds Sagers serving as host and EP of a 60-Minutes-esque broadcast that sends six reporters out into a rather wide field. They file from Lizzie Borden‘s infamous Massachusetts home, red carpet premieres and a New Orleans trailer bathroom that Will Ferrell once deemed haunted.
“I’m the skeptic-in-chief,” says Sagers, who launched the show with Ghost Adventures‘ Zak Bagans. “Our reporters come back to our newsroom with their packages, and we discuss what they found. It’s not really our aim to say, ‘This is real or not real.’ We’re not trying to disprove anything, just cover this zeitgeist and hear from the people involved.”
The first eight episodes will air in pairs over the course of the next four weeks, and the formula seemed to be enough to entice Travel to order it straight to series without a pilot.
“We’ve seen reenactments and investigation shows, but this is the first time that we sort of say everybody in the pool,” says Sagers, adding that fervor for Twilight, The Walking Dead and the Paranormal Activity franchise were just as big of an influence on the series as its TV contemporaries. “You like zombies, ghosts, aliens, big foot? Everyone is included.”
That spirit of inclusion prompted a recurring segment of red carpet dispatches, where Sona Oganesyan solicits paranormal anecdotes from celebrities. “I sometimes joke that paranormal is like the new rehab,” says Sagers, noting that the series’ more famous subjects have been eager to participate. “Everyone has a ghost story or an alien story.”
And while Sagers can appreciate that most viewers will probably be even more skeptical than he is, he’s not sure if everyone can sustain that while watching.
“There’s that saying that there are no atheists in foxholes,” he says. “Well, I think there are no skeptics in a darkened movie theater or a haunted house or the middle of the woods on a spooky night.”
Paranormal Paparazzi premieres Friday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. ET.
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