‘Catfish’ host Nev Schulman got famous in Utah. And started on the road to fatherhood in Park City.

A new season of “Catfish” premieres Wednesday on MTV.

(MTV) Nev Schulman and Kamie Crawford are the hosts of "Catfish."

“Catfish: The TV Show” host Nev Schulman has a bit of history with the state of Utah. The 2010 film that started it all, “Catfish” — about Nev being deceived online — premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010.

That led to “Catfish: The TV Show” in 2012, and there have been several episodes featuring Utahns. Schulman, co-host Kamie Crawford and a film crew were recently in Provo for another episode, which will air with the next batch of new episodes. And his “Dancing With the Stars” partner, Jenna Johnson, is a Utahn.

“My life has really changed in a big way because of Park City twice,” he said. “The first time, obviously, was Sundance 2010.”

January 2016 was the first time he returned to Park City, “and that was actually the trip I got my now-wife pregnant with our daughter,” Schulman added with a laugh. “So I’ve had some major milestones in Park City.”

Well, there’s a local angle I wasn’t expecting. (No pun intended.) Schulman and his wife, Laura Perlongo, are now the parents of Cleo, 5; Beau, who’s about to turn 3; and Cy, who was born in September.

Schulman has spent about a third of his life working in or on “Catfish.” In each of 185 episodes to date, one person wants to find out the truth behind a person they’ve been chatted with/fallen in love with online — despite, in most cases, knowing little about the other person.

(New episodes of “Catfish” start airing Wednesday on MTV — 6 p.m. on Dish and DirecTV; 9 p.m. on Comcast.)

A lot of those people turn out to be catfish — a term coined by the movie/show that’s now in dictionaries and means they’ve assumed a fake identity.

“At the heart of every episode is the unpredictable nature of human beings. When you mix that with the desire to feel love and the wild things people will do to get that feeling, you have a recipe for ‘Catfish,’” Schulman said with a laugh.

There’s no end to the twists, turns and surprises. “I am thrown almost every episode by some totally unexpected, unforeseeable and often unusual twist,” Schulman said. ”You really can’t predict human behavior, right? If there’s one thing we have proven on the show in the last 10 years, I think it’s that.”

( Courtesy Rogue Pictures) Filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, and Ariel's brother Nev (from left) go in pursuit of Nev's online "girlfriend," in the 2010 documentary "Catfish."

Perhaps the most shocking turns are when the purported catfish turn out to be the people they claim to be, which sometimes happens.

“It is really so refreshing when a situation that seems from the onset to be absolutely destined for disaster somehow turns into something beautiful,” Schulman said. Although it’s more common to find “just absolutely insane internet romance-scam artists. ... And I feel strongly that for every one story that you do hear, there are probably another 10 that you’re not hearing, because people are too embarrassed to share them.”

A dozen years ago at Sundance, there was some almost immediate backlash by those who questioned whether the events in the “Catfish” movie were real. After 10 years of the TV show, it’s quite clear that people are getting catfished online every day. After almost 200 episodes, even people who clearly should know better when they’re getting catfished, don’t.

Staying calm in the face of crazy

Some catfish are shy. Some are not conventionally attractive. Some are not nice. And some are just terrible people.

Schulman almost always stays calm no matter who the show encounters. Part of it, he said, was growing up in New York City, where he had plenty of opportunities to “interact with strangers in high-stress situations. … But I’ve also worked really hard to remember that the show is not about me. I’m not there to exaggerate or in any way influence the situation.

“There’s plenty of reality TV out there for people who want to see big, over-the-top and — in my opinion — often fake and phony behavior. … I’m just there to try and process it so that I can then best serve the situation with either some advice or some sort of moderation to hopefully find some path forward.”

(MTV) Max Joseph and Nev Schulman in an early episode of "Catfish: The TV Show."

Hosts with the most

Schulman has been the host/star of “Catfish” since the show began, and the only time it was really about him was an episode when he got catfished a second time. Really. But the brother-brother relationship between Nev and his co-host for the first seven seasons, Max Joseph, and the brother-sister relationship between Nev and new co-host Kamie Crawford since 2000, has carried the show a long way.

“Max and I really did grow up together,” Schulman said. “We had a friendship and we had a history … and I think a lot of people connected with that and felt as though they were kind of friends with us.”

He didn’t have that history with Kamie, but they’ve formed a friendship. “And I think as we continue to spend more time together and make more episodes together, that that same chemistry will tie into the viewer.”

Working on “Catfish” remotely

The new batch of episodes haltingly steps back out into the real world after the show was forced by the pandemic to go online-only. Those episodes, Schulman admits, were “clunky” at first, as they tried to work out the technical kinks.

But he sees “something poetic” in getting catfish to come online instead of traveling to their hometowns and confronting them.

“There was something kind of simple and pure about, like, ‘Hey, let’s just try to get these people to video chat,’” he said — which is what the victims wanted in the first place. “Obviously, it won’t tell us if they are meant to be together and if there’s any chance of this relationship working, but it will at least get you one step closer.”

And it was nice to have new episodes of the show at a time when there weren’t a lot of new episodes of anything.

“Because we were all isolating and we were all quarantined and everyone was experiencing the same sense of solitude and loneliness and disconnect from their family and friends, it allowed people to be more empathetic to many of the people who are on the show,” Schulman said.

(Photo courtesy of Eric McCandless/ABC) Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson perform on “Dancing with the Stars.”

A humble guy

Schulman’s fame — he finished second on the most recent season of “Dancing With the Stars” — hasn’t gone to his head. Several years ago, he came up to me at the Television Critics Association Awards and introduced himself. He somehow didn’t think I would know who he was, and he looked dubious when I told him I watch “Catfish” all the time. Until, that is, my son happened by and confirmed I do.

Not that I blame Nev. I’m not a member of MTV’s target audience of 18- to 34-year-olds. But Schulman did say he’s often approached by people of “all ages and backgrounds” who watch the show.

“I think there’s no one demo that is more or less vulnerable to getting catfished,” he said. “In fact, I think, statistically, people in their middle age and perhaps even later are finding themselves even more susceptible to online romance and scams.”

And nobody wants to admit they’ve been deceived by a catfish. The show is “a great conversation starter,” he said, “and, hopefully, a way for people not only to inform themselves but also give themselves permission to admit they’ve made similar mistakes. And that they’re in a situation that could be leading them down a sort of dark and twisty path.”