Friends have already started texting him.
Some haven’t seen Theo Wilson for years. Some live across the country and others also call Colorado home. For each of them, the face on TV looks familiar to them, so they want to know.
Was that him on the History Channel in a commercial between episodes of “Ancient Aliens” and “Swamp People”?
Yes, replies Wilson. It was him.
It’s her face in ads promoting a new show, called ‘I Was There,’ which has ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ presenter George Stephanopoulos as an executive producer and aims to revisit historical events, disasters and triumphs in a way that, as the title suggests, puts viewers there in the moment.
“We’re taking the biggest twists in history and dissecting the lost surprises of what happened,” Wilson, the show’s host, said, looking into the camera during a promo. “You have to see it to believe it. Now you will.
In an interview, the Denver-area native and resident shared an alternate version of the show’s elevator speech.
“It’s the historical events that you know from an angle that you don’t know about,” he said.
In the first season, each of the 12 episodes will revisit events such as the Salem Witch Trials, Bloody Sunday, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The show will air two special episodes on Sunday and Monday before the official premiere on February 28. The next episodes will air on Monday evenings.
The promo offers a look at the show’s unique format, with scenes dramatically recreated using actors and CGI technology. Then there is Wilson. He plays the role of what he calls a “time-traveling tour guide”.
As the scenes unfold Wilson can be seen standing in the theater as he recounts details of the weapon John Wilkes Booth used to assassinate Lincoln or sitting in the pew explaining the sermon of a minister at the time of the Salem witch trials. These clips are combined with documentary-style interviews with experts and archival footage.
Other episodes will cover the Hindenberg disaster, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the story behind outlaw thief Jesse James.
This will be Wilson’s first televised concert.
He landed the show after landing a deal with an agent after his 2017 TED Talk titled “A Black Man Hiding in the Alt Right” went viral.
The agent liked his voice and his look. Wilson has experience using her voice as a founding member of a Denver slam poetry group that won the National Poetry Slam and as the current executive director of Shop Talk Live, an organization that uses the hair salon as a framework for community dialogue.
Wilson’s background also includes a connection to history. He is the grandson of a Tuskegee Airman and the son of an avid historian.
“Growing up in this, you learn osmosis,” he said. “You happen to know things. So you’re the kid who raises your hand in history class.
Wilson says “I Was There” isn’t just about telling stories from the past. It’s also about what we can learn from how history repeats itself.
A press release for the show asks two questions: “What would it mean to be transported to this time and experience it? What will we tell future generations about what we’ve been through when they say I wonder what it was like to…? »
Wilson hopes viewers will keep those two questions in mind as they watch.
“I hope people will be curious about it,” he said. “When you talk about history, you hope people get a clearer view of the present.”