Wrongful Conviction on Reality TV: Ryan Ferguson and Dusty Harris have been “to hell and back” | Local


Dusty Harris has always been loyal to his best friend, Ryan Ferguson.

When Ferguson was wrongly convicted in the 2001 murder case of Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt, Ferguson said his high school pal Harris was one of the few people who never gave up on him.

So when the reality show “The Amazing Race” reached out to Ferguson to see if he wanted to appear on the show with a teammate, Ferguson said only Harris was on his mind.

“They contacted me and wanted to know if I was interested in applying for ‘The Amazing Race’ with a friend of mine, and who better than Dusty, one of the few people who stayed with me all the time where I was in jail, “Ferguson said. The two have been friends since eighth grade.

This is not Ferguson’s first experience with national television. He has appeared on “The Today Show”, “48 Hours” and “Dateline”. He also hosted the MTV series “Unlocking the Truth”.

He said he prefers national television when it comes to talking about his wrongful conviction experience and is delighted to be back with a new approach.

“’The Amazing Race’ is just going out and being yourself, being a jerk and running around the world, and you can really show your personality and be silly,” Ferguson said.

Despite this being Harris’ first foray into reality TV, he said he couldn’t have done the show with anyone else. Harris helped Ferguson get through prison, and now Ferguson has the opportunity to help his friend experience national television.

“We went through hell and we came back together, and hell brought us back and we came together again,” Harris said. “We’ve been trying to wreak havoc and do our best for everyone who’s going to watch, and we hope everyone likes it.”

The first episode airs Jan. 5 on CBS at 7 p.m.

Sydney Poppe contributed reporting for this story.


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