Mention the word "antiques" to many people, and their eyes immediately glaze over.
That's probably one reason you won't find the "A" word in the title of "Buried Treasure," a four-week Fox series premiering tomorrow at 8 p.m.
The series follows contemporary treasure hunters and collectibles experts Leigh and Leslie Keno ("Antiques Roadshow") as they travel America to go into homes in search of hidden valuables. Some of the stuff trotted out by homeowners is valuable; some is, well, trash. But along the way, viewers also will get some engrossing insight into what makes an object valuable (or not) as well as a moving human-interest story about the owners of each piece.
LENDING A HAND Some of the Americans spotlighted in this series are long overdue for some good news.
"These are real-life situations with, in many cases, people in dire need of help," says Leslie Keno, who came up with the idea for the show with his twin, Leigh, and executive producer Tim Miller, a longtime colleague. "In some cases, their house is about to be taken away from them, or they can't pay for their daughter's operation that she needs to live, or their business has burned down and they've been left with almost nothing. We go into their home and find centuries-old heirlooms that bring them over six figures, giving them a chance to get started again. It's an honor to be chosen for this."
GOOD TIMING Creator and executive producer Joe Livecchi, to whom Miller brought the idea for the show about three years ago, says he is convinced the time is right for "Buried Treasure," with the economic downturn forcing many Americans to search everywhere for extra cash.
"The truth is that anyone out there could have something that is worth a lot of money, and we find it almost every time we go out on a story, Livecchi says. " 'Almost everyone has at least one thing in their home that they think holds some potential value, whether it's something as pedestrian as a baseball card or maybe some kind of bowl that could be from some ancient Chinese dynasty."