Beverly Hills, Calif.—WE tv will forge deeper into the reality genre with its new series The Locator, which is about a man who has “located” more than 40,000 people since 1990, spurred on initially by his mother’s hunt for—and ultimate rejection—by her biological mother.
Troy Dunn, who created a business connecting people with those they want to find—like their birth parents or separated siblings—participated in the WE tv panel Wednesday at the Television Critics Association summer tour.
Also at the session were his mother, Katie, and a young woman and the mother he brought together for one episode of the series, which debuts in September.
The Locator will follow the journey of people who come to Dunn looking for either their biological parents or other long-lost relatives.
Dunn told TV writers that he decided to start a business finding people after his experience helping his own mother’s find her biological mother. She is now a senior investigator for her son.
“Mom here is the reason that I started doing this,” Dunn said. “She’s adopted. I grew up listening to her talk about her desire to find her birth family. She searched for 17 years of my life, that I recall her aggressively searching.”
In an unusual turn, Dunn said that when he finally found his mother’s own mother, it was not welcome news to the woman.
“Her birth mother rejected her,” Dunn said. The woman told Dunn, “If I knew ‘it’ was going to call, I might have aborted it. So it was very tough, and very painful.”
But Dunn’s mother Katie told TV writers that despite her birth mother’s negative reaction, it was a good experience for her.
“It wasn’t a bad experience,” Katie said. “I think it was probably one of the best experiences…I hoped for a new beginning, and I wanted closure…I’d do it again in a heartbeat, because it gave me closure,” After finding her mother, she went on to meet her biological brother.
But Dunn said over 97% of the reunions he’s done have been positive.
The 10-part show, with its 30-minute episodes, will premiere Sept. 6.
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