Possible New Reality Show About Treaure Hunting

9/21/2009

Combine TV’s “Deadliest Catch” with “Dirtiest Jobs” and you’ve got “Treasure Coast,” a proposed reality show about hunting for underwater loot from Brevard to Martin counties.

The pilot for the show features the crew of the ship Gold Hound as they hunt for bounty lost by the Spanish Fleet in 1715.

A film crew from The Moving Image Company in Austin, Texas, is recording segments from Capt. Hiram’s Resort in Sebastian, where the Gold Hound salvage boat is docked.

The show was conceived about six months ago by Bruce Marich of Chicago, after he heard about the treasure hunting skills of Capt. Greg Bounds from the Gold Hound.

Marich proposed the idea to Robert Stewart from Moving Image, who quickly bought into the concept. He asked Marich to write a treatment for the show, outlining what the characters would look like and just what some of the plot lines would be.

“He told me I had a gold mine,” said Marich.

Stewart said reality television is a lot like treasure hunting, because you’re never sure what you find.

“When Bruce told me his idea, I knew it was worth the investment in time and money,” said Stewart. “We’ve talked to some networks who are interested and we feel that the show will be as successful as ‘Deadliest Catch’ or ‘Ice Road Truckers’ because it fits the reality TV genre.”

Originally, Stewart’s five-man crew was only prepared to shoot a series of short promos for the project, but that has been expanded to include the series pilot episode.

Both Discovery Channel and Fox Reality Television have expressed interest in the project, so Stewart decided to start filming while the crew was on-site in Sebastian.

Bounds, 41, who is a subcontractor for Mel Fisher Treasure, a treasure hunting company on the Treasure Coast and in Key West, is not new to treasure hunting. In 2007, Bounds uncovered more than $12.9 million worth of gold chains, pearls, coins, swords and other artifacts from the 400-year-old Santa Margarita site in the Florida Keys.

“Over the past 17 years, we’ve found a lot of stuff, but there’s a lot more out there,” said Bounds. “We have a lot of ocean floor to cover.”

Since Fisher owns the rights to 10 shipwreck sites including the Santa Margarita, Bounds said the television show will feature divers exploring those sites. The main focus will be on the treasure from ships sunk in 1715, with chests of jewelry, coins, ceramic pottery and cannons still undiscovered along Florida’s east coast. Fisher and Bounds will split the value of any discoveries that are made, after Florida gets its 20 percent share.

“This is something I have considered for a long time,” Bounds said. “I’ve tried to film stuff that I have brought up before, but it’s been limited. I think that with all of the reality shows on television today, this is something that would fit right in.”