Top Shot casting director wants couples, self-taught marksmen for season three

Top Shot, the surprisingly good History Channel competition between marksmen, is now casting for its third season, as its second season debuts Feb. 8, and will be once again hosted by Survivor‘s Colby Donaldson, who told me before the first season debuted that its crew was “hoping we take this thing as long as Survivor has gone on.”

For its third season, the series is looking for couples, though Pilgrim Films and Television’s casting director told me that a couples-themed season isn’t necessarily a given. Semi Aboud said that it “depends upon what we find and how it works out,” and added that “both of them have to be pretty decent shooters.”

Although the show has a requirement that people know how to shoot, he said that “ideally, we love a healthy balance of both skill and personality.” Because “its a reality television show, chracter and story and interaction is important,” so they’ll select “the best personalities, the most well-spoken of the most skilled people,” he said, but added, “We’re not casting Rock of Love.” Plus, “folks in the gun community who do this well tend to be pretty even-tempered.”

Aboud wants people of “all skill levels to apply,” and said that they’ve had “a lot of military, police officer, and competitive shooters on the show–which is great, but I want to hear from people who consider themselves self-taught,” people who are “confident enough that they can hang with the pros.”

He pointed out that “it’s not just a shooting competition; it’s very physical,” so that means “there are a lot of great marksmen out there who are not necessarily in physical shape to take on these challenges.” Those who apply “don’t have to be an ultimate fighter” but should be able to “climb and swim and jump.”

We discussed how non-gun enthusiasts, including me, like the show, and Aboud said, “it surprised me how broad of an appeal the show is getting.” He told me, “I knew very little about guns before I started casting Top Shot,” and added, “I’m very impressed by the gun community and the really upstanding, respectable people who’ve applied for the show and have opened my eyes to a whole new community.”

Aboud told me that for season one, they had less than 1,000 applications, but close to 5,000 for season two. Applications are due Feb. 1, and Top Shot‘s third season films for six weeks starting in April and going through mid-May, so they’ll miss American Idol‘s final weeks (bonus!).

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.