Former TV news reporter creates animal show

Camille Doty

April 23, 2012 at 5:02 p.m.
Updated April 23, 2012 at 11:24 p.m.

Jenny Fisher records video of Bright Eyes, a red ruffed lemur at the Texas Zoo.

Jenny Fisher records video of Bright Eyes, a red ruffed lemur at the Texas Zoo.   Todd Krainin for The Victoria Advocate

Friends of Jenny Fisher call her crazy or superwoman. She may be a little of both.

The former broadcast reporter's love for animals inspired her to take on an ambitious project: Creating an educational and entertaining show called "Fur Real TV."

A Texas A&M graduate, Fisher got her television start in Victoria, moved to Charleston, S.C., to further her career, and recently returned to her South Texas roots to fulfill her dreams.

"I wouldn't do it, if I didn't feel confident it would work," she said.

Fisher admitted to being both excited and scared.

She doesn't have the benefit of a full camera crew for the new show. Instead, she takes every shot and makes every edit, from start to finish.

The 30-minute program has been a three-year labor of love. It's scheduled to run once a week, with a new program broadcast twice a month. Broadcast details have not yet been finalized.

"It's been a long road for me, professionally and personally, but I'm excited to be here," she said.

This former broadcast journalist earned awards with the Associated Press and an Emmy nomination but decided to take her career in a different direction to pursue a lifelong dream.

Fisher has been drawn to animals since she can remember. She grew up loving animals, including snakes, because of her mother, Renee Wheeler, a founder of Adopt-a-Pet.

"I'm pretty sure I rode a horse before I could ever walk," she joked.

Fisher has traveled the Crossroads and beyond to find Houdini-like horses that escape their stables, pit bulls that are friends with guinea pigs, and rescue pets in need of a home.

She will continue to be in search of more unusual stories. The show is designed to help animals and teach humans, she said.

Animals' spontaneous nature provides a lot of material, she said.

"I just have to show up and capture it," she said.

Bright Eyes, a Texas Zoo lemur, was camera-ready for a recent shoot. He warmed up to Fisher right away.

She and the Madagascar primate bonded. The apple and cranberries she had with her probably helped.

"I met this guy not even an hour ago, and I'm attached," she said.

"It's impossible not to," said Michael Magaw, the zoo's animal curator.

Some animal experts said Fisher's show could be a hit in the Crossroads.

Victoria veterinarian Thomas Culberson said clients talk to him about what they learned on "Animal Planet."

"I think the show would go over well, potentially," he said.

Culberson said he would like to see Fisher talk about maintaining animals.

Fisher embraced the doctor's suggestion and is open to others as well.

"That just means people are interested in the show," she said.

This petite powerhouse said this vast undertaking begins with taking baby steps with a successful reception in the Crossroads. It would be ideal to expand to other Texas markets and abroad, she said.

"I have so many hopes for this show," she said. "I'm not sure what to expect, but that's what makes it fun."



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