'Strange …' & entertaining
Jamie Colby is the former co-anchor of the Fox News Channel's “America's News Headquarters” and host of the Fox Business Network's new program “Strange Inheritance.” She spoke to the Trib about the show, which focuses on real-life stories of unconventional inheritances and airs Monday through Thursday at 9 p.m.
Q: “Strange Inheritance” isn't your standard Fox Business Network fare. How did the concept of the show originate?
A: Fox wanted to do something at night that was a little bit more entertaining, (yet) definitely had financial implications. This is a great concept, to have something that (most) everybody experiences at least once in a lifetime — whether it's accumulating wealth and sharing it with a family member or finding out that you're participating in an inheritance.
Q: What drew you to the show?
A: When they approached me and said they had the idea for “Strange Inheritance,” I said: “You don't need to tell me what the show is about. I'm all in.”
Because I am a lawyer and accountant, I had helped many clients accumulate wealth but I had not really ever followed up what happened from there.
Q: What are some of the show's strangest inheritances?
A: Almost every one of them was so completely strange I had to see it to believe it, and I think viewers will have the same experience.
There was an 8-year-old boy who inherited a winery in Oregon.
I saw the largest insect collection in the world — you can't imagine what it's like to see 100,000 insects in film cans, in cases, in envelopes from countries I never heard of. Most of them are extinct.
The tractor collection was cool. I got to learn how to drive a tractor.
I got to wrestle an alligator. These people inherited 2,500 crocodiles and alligators, and they inherited them just at the time they came off the endangered species list. So now they have a booming business of meat and skins. The taxidermy collection — seeing all that animal stuff is not really every girl's dream, but it was mine and I didn't even know it.
There were legacies that were attached to many of these items, whether it was Civil War memorabilia, like swords or guns, Bonnie and Clyde's weapons, an amazing collection of classic cars and 600 Barbie dolls in original packaging that made me squeal.
I'm glad I got to see them, but the guy (who inherited them) wasn't so happy. He was like, “You've got to help me get rid of these damn dolls.”
Q: What do you hope viewers get out of your explorations of these offbeat inheritances?
A: That it's really about families, that the show is not about anything other than families whom I sat with at their kitchen table or in their living room. Many of them, they might have known who I am, they might have watched Fox already, but I was just someone who was there to care and be curious (about their inheritances).
It really was a different experience than what I had been used to doing, having people coming on the air because they have points to make. These people just had great personal stories.
These are real people who weren't cast. They just happened to come along with this stuff.
For me, the beauty was in helping them learn about their legacy and giving them a half-hour show to preserve it. What a gift.
Eric Heyl is a Trib Total Media staff writer (412-320-7857 or [email protected]).