Ex-CNNer Tony Harris thriving as host of History’s ‘The Proof is Out There’

The Atlanta resident gets to be Mulder and Scully in real life.
Tony Harris is host of History's "The Proof is Out There." The second season debuts Sept. 17 at 10 p.m. HISTORY



Tony Harris is host of History's "The Proof is Out There." The second season debuts Sept. 17 at 10 p.m. HISTORY

Atlantan Tony Harris said people still recognize him from his six years on CNN from 2004 to 2010.

But he said he long had an exit strategy from daily news, preferring long-form storytelling that CNN at the time did not embrace.

Currently, he is living that dream in multiple ways, via podcasts (”Monster: D.C. Sniper”) and TV programs like ID’s “Scene of a Crime.”

His most prominent role is host of History Channel’s “The Proof is Out There,” where he and a staff of 30 investigate video, photos and audio of possible paranormal or extra-terrestrial activity. Can the experts deem them real or fake? The title of the show evokes the classic Fox drama “The X-Files” and its slogan “The truth is out there.”

Harris chuckled when told he is a combo of Mulder and Scully. “I’m going to use that,” he said. “I’m stealing all the good lines.”

Season two debuts Friday at 10 p.m. with a deep dive into the recent federal report on UFOs. The show uses a coterie of forensic analysts, video analysts and historians to assess various videos.

“I’m fascinated by this stuff,’ Harris said. “There is a lot of focus on these unidentified aerial phenomena, but I’m as interested in what’s happening on land and in the seas as I am in what’s happening in the skies.”

Subjects that come up this season: teleportation, two-headed serpents and Bigfoot.

He said he is amazed the lengths some people will take to create convincingly “real” videos. “Let’s call them super elaborate hoaxes,” he said. “Part of the motivation is to create a moment, to gain attention. We’re able to reveal the tricks of that trade.”

Compared to season one, “I feel like we’re a more grounded, confident show,” he said. “The additional staff has been a godsend. We have a little more swagger. We bring a little more attitude. I get to laugh and smile more and goof on the hoaxes. We take the show seriously but I don’t take myself seriously.”

The show is shot in New York but he has no desire to return to live there again. “I own a home here in Atlanta and my mortgage is way less than anything in New York,” Harris said. “I have a house with a backyard and trees.” History instead puts him up in a nice hotel while he’s working in New York City.

Harris said having CNN on his resumé does not hurt him when he pitches shows and ideas. “It helps me get in rooms,” he said. “I may disagree with some of their choices since I left but it remains a powerful brand. I have no idea what real-world pressures they face as part of a public company and driving ad dollars. I’d make different decisions but I don’t know if they’d be more successful. I do believe you shouldn’t put folks on who deal in disinformation on cable news.”


“The Proof is Out There,” 10 p.m. Fridays on History starting Sept. 17