Wednesday, December 8, 2010

America’s hidden secrets are being decoded

New History channel show stars local Buddy Levy

Express Staff Writer

Courtesy photo Ketchum native Buddy Levy stars in the reality mystery-solving show “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded” on the History channel.

"There is no shortage of historical conundrums to decode," said Buddy Levy one of the stars of the History channel show, "Brad Meltzer's Decoded."

Levy is a Ketchum native who grew up ski racing, attended the Community School in Sun Valley and graduated from Wood River High School in Hailey. Levy said growing up in the Wood River Valley made him realize that anything is achievable.

"So many people from the valley have done amazing things," he said. "I set goals and go out and reach them."

Levy is a writer, author and professor and has worked on reality television show "Eco-Challenge." He has taught English for almost 20 years and is teaching at Washington State University.

His newest reality television adventure and his first television series, "Brad Meltzer's Decoded," is on the History channel. It debuted Thursday, Dec. 2. The show will have nine more episodes airing on Thursdays, at 8 p.m.

"Should I decode how I got the job?" Levy asked with a chuckle. "I think it had something to do with the history books I have written."

Levy's books, "River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon" (due out in February), "Hernán Cortés, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs" and "American Legend: The Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett," are a peek into history questioning what really happened.

Levy said that in the show, he's part of a team that solves historical myths.

< "Meltzer has a great handle on what we're trying to do," he said. "I've only met him once. He directs our searches from afar. He's like Charlie on 'Charlie's Angels."

Meltzer is the author of seven novels, including the nonfiction New York Times best seller "Heroes for My Son" and two acclaimed comic books. He is the first author to ever reach the No. 1 spot on both The New York Times and the Diamond comic book bestseller lists simultaneously. His newest thriller, "The Inner Circle," will be released in January.

The depth and accuracy of Meltzer's research is so widely respected that he was part of the Department of Homeland Security's Red Cell program, helping to explore new ways that terrorists might attack the U.S. Even former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush have aided him in his research.

Levy said each "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" episode is a stand-alone and self-contained mystery.

"We did an episode on Meriwether Lewis and the final days of what really happened," he said. "Viewers will be very surprised about what they didn't know about American history. It's very entertaining."

Levy said people interviewed in cases include relatives of John Wilkes Booth and D. B. Cooper.

"We whip around the country going from place to place," he said. "We met treasure hunters who believe they know where the lost Confederate silver might be. In the show, we think we have a handle on searching, but we end up needing to read more. Brad is always a few steps ahead, but he doesn't know the outcome."

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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