Fox Special: When objects impale people



LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) -- Eric Schotz has a dream.

For more than a decade, the veteran producer of nonfiction and reality fare and the staff at his LMNO Prods. have combed the country for true-life stories of everyday people thrust into extraordinary situations and for inspirational tales of the human spirit beating the odds when adversity strikes.

After years of research, hundreds of interviews and a long quest for a sympathetic ear for the project at a network, Schotz is only days away from seeing his dream become a reality -- a reality special, in fact -- that premieres at 9 p.m. Thursday on Fox.

Schotz's labor of love carries an unusual disclaimer, even by Fox standards: "The people profiled all survived."

It might have been called "Extreme Impalement," but in reality, the hourlong special's title couldn't be more precise: "101 Things Removed from the Human Body" is not for the squeamish.

"There are a lot of orifices in the human body, and there are a lot of accidents that happen," Schotz says. "We've spent years compiling this show. ... Sometimes you'd just come across a picture that would just stop you, and you'd go, 'That's so wrong."'

The special blends shudder-inducing footage and still photos of accident scenes, X-rays, objects in formaldehyde jars, etc., with interviews with victims and the doctors and emergency medical techs who saved their lives.

In addition to the freak accidents, the special explores a whole subcategory of self-mutilation, ranging from the jewel thief who hides a diamond necklace too well to an array of kinky experiments gone awry.

"It's one thing when a 2-by-4 gets picked up in a hurricane and it hits you in the head," Schotz says. "When you start getting into handlebars and Ivory soap, it gets more complicated."

For sure, it took a twisted mind to devote years to researching a documentary on freak accidents and other mishaps. But LMNO's reputation in the medical community as a producer of numerous documentary series and specials for the Discovery Channel and TLC helped open doors to doctors and their case files.

"Some producers who do these kind of things are sort of shy about them, but not Eric," says Fox alternative and specials chief Mike Darnell. "Even I had trouble looking at some of this stuff. ... But Eric always brings enough passion as a producer that when he got excited about a 300-pound tumor, I got excited about a 300-pound tumor."

With "101 Things" finally poised to reach a national audience, Schotz will fulfill a longtime professional goal, but there's still one more thing he'd like to make happen for his "101 Things" baby: A coffee-table book.

"You'd have picture of the person and a picture of the item on each page," Schotz explains. "The best part would be their excuse of how the item got there."

Speaking of strange things that happen to body parts, FX made a splash last week with the premiere of the truly cutting-edge drama "Nip/Tuck," about a pair of very different plastic surgeons in Miami. Series star Dylan Walsh admits it took some time to get used to filming the show's intense surgical scenes.

"The pilot was really hard to get through," Walsh says. "Now we are just on this wild ride. The arresting visuals are really the star of this piece, but for me, it's also an intense character study."