Denis Isbister is hosting a viewing party for the premiere of his Season 13 “Wild Fish Wild Places” televised series at the Fallon Theatre, on August 27 at 5 p.m. The event will feature two new episodes for this season with an after-party to follow. Isbister has two goals for the party, “Enjoy it with all my friends and show it to people who may have never even seen it and raise some money to help some people out. Show some love and support for them.”
“I've never had a venue option to show the community, friends, and family our show. A lot of people don't have our channel. Then use of the Fallon Theatre came up, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to show people on the big screen what we're doing. We are also doing a couple of fundraisers. Battle Born Beer is sponsoring the beer sales, and those proceeds will go to the Fallon Theatre. A second fundraiser is being done with some raffle items, plus one for a two-day fishing trip to Pyramid with me to benefit the family of the British Columbia lodge owner where we stay who recently lost his sister and niece in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. His brother-in-law is also in really bad shape.”
“It was 2010 when I really got into this, and the market was horrible, the worst economy we've seen in our lifetime. We went to ICAST in Vegas full of enthusiasm, the International Sport Tackle Dealer show, the biggest fishing convention in the world. Every single person I needed to talk to to get (sponsorship) money from would be there. I had just filmed the pilot in the Northwest Territories, and we tried to line up meetings with the companies there about it. It was a complete disaster. No one even cared about what we were doing. One guy literally told me that he just had to cut 80% of his budget and had to fire people that had been working for him for 10 years. Then he said, 'Now, you're in my booth asking me to support a one-year TV show? Get out of here.’” Isbister said it took them a good five years to get the series going, getting one deal at a time done to get them through.
“In the production world and in television, what I do, there's no sponsorship without airtime. And there's no airtime without buying it. At that time, the airtime was $30,000 per quarter (13 weeks). I had to buy the time, plus produce. We did 7 episodes and 6 reruns that first season to keep our costs down. Each one was a 30-minute show which included time for commercials which we could sell.”
Two years into the show being broadcast on the Sportsman Channel, they were nominated for Best TV Show on that channel. Isbister thought back saying, “That was a huge break for us. The show that won was “In-Fisherman,” and rightfully so. It's the king, the guys I grew up watching. But that nomination put us in the big leagues. The World Fishing Network came to us and offered to pay us to go to air. It wasn't much, $1,000 per episode, but for us, it became a $43,000 swing because we didn't have to pay for the airtime anymore.” He said slowly the show has grown to where it is today, adapting to today's new social media outlets with content production as well as televised productions. Kroenke Sports and Entertainment has since bought those two TV channels plus others which did expand the number of eyes on his show, but they also don't get paid anymore. “That deal went away, so we now make our money from product placement, commercials, and content creation.”
When asked what viewers can expect this year and when, he said, “Season 13 is just about done shooting now. We've got an episode at Pyramid Lake, as we try to do every year to show off the local fishery. Alaska steel-head fishing, the Bahamas, fly fishing, salmon fishing in British Columbia, lake trout fishing in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Then we'll do something cool in the fall too. The new shows will air from October through December and then will be rerun during the first quarter of 2023.
Isbister said Wild Fish Wild Places is broadcast on Dish and DirectTV and can be seen on the World Fishing Network via a streaming app called Friendly. He also said there will be many digital options coming in the next few months, including Samsung TV and it's already on Amazon. Prior episodes can also be found on YouTube by searching for “Wild Fish Wild Places Denis Isbister.”