Dan Cortese Goes for the Record
by Ronald Sklar
America’s favorite dudebro is back with a hit show and a shout out to the iconic MTV Sports.
TruTV bills itself not as reality TV, but as “Actuality.” True that. Its new hit series, Guinness World Records® Gone Wild, scored a whopping 1.4 million viewers in its debut episode, featuring daring and fearless recordholder hopefuls attempting to make witness and secure their place in history.
The host of this series knows his fill about actuality mixed with wild. As host of MTV Sports back in the Nineties, Dan Cortese helped forge a new kind of X-treme television. Here, he keeps that legacy alive as he introduces us (again) to some truly outrageous and jaw-dropping stunts. Examples: most panes of glass run though in one minute. Highest dive into twelve inches of water. Most kicks to the head in one minute.
The show is indeed a real kick in the head.
“It’s big, it’s loud, it’s fun, it’s really cool to watch,” Cortese tells me. “[The contestants are] ordinary people who are intrigued by this and want to be the best in the world. They get a Guinness World Record certificate and they’re proud of it. They take these records extremely seriously. They’re not just out there jumping around and wanting to be on TV. They are unique, real people who actually want to be a world record holder.”
Cortese holds his own record as well. The son of a Sicilian immigrant (who became a suburban Pittsburgh school principal), Dan shot to stardom with the groundbreaking MTV Sports in 1992.
He recalls, “I went from being a production assistant on MTV on a Tuesday, and on Friday I shot the pilot for MTV Sports. It was not an overnight success. It was more like 72-hour success. There is nothing that can prepare you for it. And that show was highly visible.”