[KHTS] – Producer Jimmy Sprague of Santa Clarita is set to work on an episode of the Discovery Channel’s popular television show “Naked and Afraid” in Belize this month.
While Sprague worked with a crew of about 90 people during his time producing the CW improv show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, only five people are expected to accompany him on his new endeavor.
“Every show is a different challenge,” Sprague said. “On this particular show, ‘Naked and Afraid,’ we’re going to be out there for 21 days– assuming that the contestants make it all 21 days –as opposed to maybe shooting one episode a week like a scripted show.”
With a brand new season set to premiere Sunday, April 19, on the Discovery Channel, each episode of “Naked and Afraid” leaves two complete strangers stranded in a remote location without food, water or clothing.
The couple must struggle to survive for three weeks, with no prize at the end of their journey other than the knowledge that they did what they set out to do.
Each episode takes about four weeks to film, and Sprague may travel directly from Belize to the show’s next location site if brought onboard for additional episodes, he said.
As a line producer, Sprague oversees “the logistics” of shooting and is typically in charge of figuring out everything from where and how shows shoot to who provides necessities for the crew.
“Basically what I do is I take the money that they have for the show– if you tell me I have $1 million to make this episode, I have to figure out how to spend $1 million very wisely to get the most production value on screen,” Sprague said. “I have to balance out between what we need to have for the show and what we want to have; those are two very different things.”
In addition to producing 33 episodes of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, Sprague has traveled all over the world to act as a producer, production manager, stunt driver/performer and assistant director, shooting in Ireland, Thailand, Iceland, India and Greece.
“India is a tough place to go just in general,” he said. “We were more in the jungles of India rather than in the city… While I was there I lost 22 pounds. We went with 14 people and 13 of them actually got sick; I had to hospitalize four of them.”
Sprague also traveled all over the U.S. with rappers Dr. Dre, Eminem and Snoop Dog filming the video documentary of the trio’s “Up In Smoke” tour.
Of his work on “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” Sprague called improv comedians Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie “the best in the world.”
“We have a special guest every episode… and we literally hide that person in a different part of the studio,” he said. “So when these people come onto the stage it’s the very first time that Wayne Brady or Colin or Ryan is seeing these guys. It’s not like they met beforehand, had a cup of coffee and found out stuff about them; everything happens spontaneously on the stage with the cameras rolling.”
Working in the entertainment industry runs in the family for Sprague, whose wife Dorenda is an Emmy award-winning stunt coordinator, and nine-year-old daughter Hannah has made an appearance alongside her mother as an extra in the movie “Thor.”