Shatner balances busy schedule with 'Weird or What?'
Host William Shatner holds on to his wife Elizabeth Anderson Martin on the red carpet at the Juno Awards in Ottawa, Sunday April 1, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Saturday, June 2, 2012 9:27AM EDT
TORONTO - From hosting the Junos in Ottawa to a multi-city U.S. tour of his Broadway show, William Shatner has been a man on the move for much of 2012 with a red-hot career that leaves little time for respite.
The week ahead is no exception as the Canadian pop culture icon prepares to head to Johannesburg for work with plans to eke out a few days for a photographic safari in the interior.
"I'm really excited by that. What I'm not excited about is a 22-hour airplane ride," the affable actor said candidly from his home in Los Angeles.
Despite his stacked schedule, the tireless 81-year-old continues to have a hands-on role with "William Shatner's Weird or What?" which is in its third season airing Mondays on History Television.
Shatner is host and executive producer of the series which explores true-life tales of the unknown and unexplainable, and features first-person accounts, expert commentary and reconstructions of the mysterious events in question.
In addition to narrating "Weird or What?" and delivering tongue-in-cheek quips onscreen, Shatner said he's active behind the scenes, consulting on stories and looking at scripts.
"It's more than just a couple of weeks of working on the show as the wraparound. I'm intimately involved in the show, so there's no telling how much time that takes," he said.
Monday's spine-tingling second episode, which will air at 10:15 p.m. ET, chronicles real-life accounts of human encounters with beastly creatures, including a New Jersey mother and son seeing the fabled Jersey Devil. The episode also features the story of the Lizard Man terrorizing the South Carolina small town of Bishopville, and sighting of the werewolf-like Bray Road Beast in Wisconsin.
The June 11 episode, the third of the season, will be return to its original 10 p.m. timelsot, and delves further into the paranormal with a focus on "aliens" living among us.
The "massively interesting" stories featured on "Weird or What" all pique the interest of the inquisitive Shatner. Even as he peruses scripts, Shatner said he tries to seek out his own explanations for unusual happenings. He's also fascinated by the notions of multiple and alternate universes and the bending of time.
"Since we know nothing and everything is mysterious, the explanations for mysterious events assume an even more unknown quantity," said Shatner. "So we try to explain scientifically what may have happened in a mysterious event, but we can't be sure that that is the explanation."
As if his stage and screen exploits weren't enough to keep him occupied, the famed "Star Trek" captain continues to make time to forge personal connections with his fans.
While on the road in Charlotte, N.C., in April in support of his acclaimed one-man show "Shatner's World: We Just Live in It," the actor shared a meal with his millionth Twitter follower, Troy Pound, and Pound's wife, Wendy.
"We took this lovely, middle-aged couple to dinner, and they were a hard-luck couple," he recalled. "They had a series of bad-luck runs, and this was -- as they said -- the best thing that's ever happened to them.
"It was just lovely to be able to provide for them something they had not done before."
With a recent guest role on homegrown cop drama "Rookie Blue," Shatner is eyeing another potential project north of the border, saying he is in the process of reading and considering something for TV.
The Montreal native admitted with a chuckle that he hankers for poutine while away from his hometown, and said he'd relish the chance to take on more work in Canada.
"I love to work in Canada. It's beautiful, and the people are great and the crews have become wonderful," he said.
"I hope to work in Canada a lot."