Sean Riley: Wildlife Host?

blog post photo

by Craig Zwolak
Associate Producer

You never know what to expect while filming an episode of World’s Toughest Fixes. During our stay in Salt Lake City our story looked more like a page from Mad Libs than a script for an engineering series. Riley drives a snowmobile  to go feed a zebra, then installs a 140-foot skywalk bridge, blows up a minivan to relieve some stress, and ends the week watching a NBA game with the crew of Jacobsen, SME Steel and Mountain Crane. Except this isn’t Mad Libs… it’s life on the road for the crew of WTF.

Snowmobile: If you ever need something in Salt Lake City there is one person you can call for just about anything: Paul Belcher of Mountain Crane. When we needed a snowmobile he called a friend and the next morning we were filming in the mountains near the city. The Utah horizon was serene and beautiful but we had other needs to tend to…

Meeting the animals: It’s not everyday you have a chance to feed a zebra and bison but then again many of the projects we are assigned to are out of the ordinary. We expect the unexpected but in this case the unexpected was abnormal. Remember what I said about Paul being able to get anything you need? Well it runs in the family… Dave Belcher, Paul’s father, owns the animals and invited the crew to see them up close on his ranch. We felt like we were working on a natural history show but reality came calling in the form of a 140 foot pedestrian bridge that needed some lifting…

Skywalk Bridge Lift: As the dueling cranes began their dance up and over the electrical lines crossing Main Street the question of everyone’s mind was whether or not clearance between the two buildings would cause a massive crumble of steel onto the city street. During the actual lift sequence the crew of World’s Toughest Fixes split into two teams. With the exception of a few workers no one was permitted to cross the street during the lift. Each crew filmed one crane during the move shooting as much material as possible to put together sequences. After the pins were put in place and the bridge was secure there was only one way to celebrate…

NBA game: Salt Lake City, Utah has one of the most famous sports franchises—the Utah Jazz, and the workers of the City Creek Reserve (CCRI) project bleed purple and blue. After opening back up the street in early hours of the morning the crew of CCRI had one last surprise for WTF: tickets to see the Jazz take on the Boston Celtics that evening in a suite. The crew didn’t need to wait long for the game (we slept for about 14 hours after the lift). Rather than standing out in the crowd like a sore thumb we bought purple t-shirts and watched the game with 19,000 fans…

You never know what to expect from WTF—and that’s why I love this show.

Video Preview: “Riley Takes a Drug Test” — Before Riley can get to work on a giant bridge, the crew has to make sure he’s clean.

World’s Toughest Fixes
“Salt Lake City Sky Bridge” premieres October 14th at 8P et/pt.


  1. Laleh
    August 17, 2012, 6:53 am

    Where does Sean Riley (Natinal Geography ) works now?