James "Bobo" Fay
|Narrated by||Ken Scott
|Theme music composer||Raney Schocke|
|Opening theme||Roaring "Sasquatch"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||76 w/specials (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Keith Hoffman (for Animal Planet)
Brad Kuhlman & Casey Brumels (for Ping Pong Productions)
Chad Hammel (co-executive producer for Ping Pong Productions)
|Producer(s)||Ping Pong Productions|
|Running time||60 minutes (some 120 minute specials)|
|Original network||Animal Planet|
|Original release||May 30, 2011– present|
Finding Bigfoot is a documentary television series on Animal Planet. It premiered on May 30, 2011, and began its ninth season on January 3, 2016. The program follows four researchers and explorers investigating potential evidence of Bigfoot, a cryptid hominid allegedly living in the wildernesses of the United States and Canada. As of January 2016, the team has discovered multiple hair samples, which DNA shows as a 'unidentified primate', however they have failed to find any hard evidence of Bigfoot's existence.
The team consists of Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) founder and President Matt Moneymaker, researchers James "Bobo" Fay and Cliff Barackman and skeptical scientist Ranae Holland. The series never questions the existence of bigfoot, but rather documents the team's futile search efforts and study of potential evidence in an attempt to prove the existence of the elusive creature.
Over the course of the series, the team has introduced many new bigfoot related terms into the American vernacular. For example, the term "bigfoot" is rarely used in favor of "squatch" (short for sasquatch). Their nighttime investigations are referred to as "squatchin". The areas they investigate are often described as "Squatchy", with Washington having been described as "the squatchiest state."
Moneymaker is the founder and president of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (founded in 1995). Moneymaker was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and moved to Ohio in the 2000s. He has been researching bigfoot for 25 years.
Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Barackman currently resides in Portland, Oregon. The evidence analyst of the group has been a dedicated sasquatch field researcher for the past two decades who has been known to spend over 200 days a year in the field. He is also an accomplished jazz guitarist holding a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach.
James "Bobo" Fay
The field caller was born and raised in Manhattan Beach, California, and has been interested in bigfoot since the 1980s. The tallest and burliest member of the team, he is the one most often used to stand in for bigfoot in reconstructions. Fay is known for his "Keep it squatchy" hat, and often wears other bigfoot-related attire. He and Barackman are close friends and searched for Bigfoot together before the series started.
The skeptical member of the cast is a Field Biologist born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While she is not a member of the BFRO, and does not believe in bigfoot, her interest in the creature was fueled by her father's fascination with the phenomenon. As a child, she and her father spent quality time together squatching and watching bigfoot movies.
An episode begins with the Finding Bigfoot team driving to a location on the trail of photographic, video, audio, or eye-witness evidence of a Bigfoot. The team will go to the location where the evidence was gathered from, and will speak to the person who gathered the evidence. If it is a photograph or a video, the team will perform a recreation and a size comparison of the event, using the same camera that the witness used. The team then performs their first night investigation at that same location.
Starting with the second season, one member of the team will almost always remain at the location for a solo night investigation for several more nights. The other three (or four in the first season) members will them head to a 'town hall meeting' to which members of the public are invited to come and share their Bigfoot encounter stories. In some heavily Bigfoot reported areas, such as Washington, these events are sometimes invite only.
After the witnesses tell their encounter stories, they are asked to mark their sighting locations on a map, which the team then uses to look for a pattern of sightings. The team will then visit three of the best reported encounters, that are usually close by one another. After visiting all three witnesses, the team will collect the member who was doing the solo night investigation, and will select an area to do their final night investigation.
For the final night investigation, the team usually devises a unique plan to try and attract a Bigfoot, usually involving noise or light, by using boats on a lake, or silent electric ATVs. They also do wood knocks, which mimics the bigfoot's communication. Night-vision technology and forward looking infrared (FLIR) cameras are used to document these investigations. They will then evaluate what they learned and announce that during the ending credits. Occasionally, they will show their trail cam pictures or DNA results following the credits/summary.
In the third season, the team expanded their search from North America to investigate the sasquatch phenomenon known as "yowies" in Australia. Later in the season, they traveled to Indonesia searching for the "orang pendek" and Vietnam to search for the "wildman". In season four, the team traveled to China in search of the "yeren", and Nepal in search of the "yeti".
Season 5 of Finding Bigfoot debuted on June 8, 2014, as opposed to November when the last two seasons started.
Animal Planet has received criticism for Finding Bigfoot and Mermaids: The Body Found for their "outlandishness", however, Fay is quick to defend Finding Bigfoot, and draw a line between the two programs. "You can't equate bigfoot with mermaids."
Several episodes of the first season received heavy criticism from the four 'Finding Bigfoot' members themselves, for the editing style that Animal Planet used, to make it appear that a horse and a person were unidentified by the team, and what they were remained unknown. The second event, involving the horse, lead the team to threaten to quit the show if such techniques were used again.
Regardless, Finding Bigfoot is one of Animal Planet's top rated programs. It has spawned two spin-offs, Finding Bigfoot: Further Evidence and Finding Bigfoot: Rejected Evidence. Finding Bigfoot: Further Evidence is similar to VH-1's Pop-Up Video. Episodes of Finding Bigfoot are re-aired with "info nuggets" from the team members. Finding Bigfoot: Rejected Evidence is an on-line only series in which executive producer Keith Hoffman airs videos deemed not worthy of inclusion on the show.
- "Ken Scott". Voices.com.
- Regina Avalos (December 10, 2015). "Finding Bigfoot: Season Nine Coming to Animal Planet". TV Series Finale.
- "About Finding Bigfoot". Animal Planet.
- "Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization Official Website".
- "Matt Moneymaker". Animal Planet.
- "About Cliff". The Official Website of Cliff Barackman.
- "James "Bobo" Fay". Animal Planet.
- Ben Cartwright (January 6, 2012). "VIDEO: Lesbian biologist on cult hit "Finding Bigfoot" spills the beans". San Diego Gay & Lesbian News.
- Guy Edwards (August 2, 2012). "Animal Planet: "Finding Bigfoot" Season Three will be BIGGER!". Bigfoot Lunch Club.
- Jim Vorel (July 17, 2012). "Mermaid body found? No, bad TV". Quad-City Times.
- Jen Harper (August 2, 2012). "'Finding Bigfoot': Is Animal Planet damaging its rep with shows about Sasquatch and mermaids?". Zap2it Blog, Tribune Media Services, Inc.
- Sharon Hill (August 3, 2012). "Finding BigRatings: Animal Planet ditches reality for docudrama dollars". Lithospherica, LLC.
- "Finding Bigfoot: Rejected Evidence". Animal Planet.