TBS’s ‘I Survived Bear Grylls’ challenges contestants to recreate his hairiest moments
Bear Grylls has become the avatar for all wildlife survivalists the past two decades, breaking big with “Man vs. Wild” and pumping out reality show after reality show.
Grylls’ latest reality show will feature him doing none of those things. Instead, he will play host of TBS’s “I Survived Bear Grylls” with comic Jordan Conley. This new reality competition show is shot in Georgia. Each episode features five different people attempting to replicate scenes from some of Grylls’ wildest and wooliest moments in the wild. The winner pockets $10,000 and bragging rights to their friends.
“This is a really fun one,” said Grylls in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to promote the show, which debuted last week and will air weekly and on demand. “People come up to me all the time as the ultimate armchair survivalists who say, ‘If I were in that situation, I’d be great. I’d smash it!’ But you never know the truth about that until you’re under pressure and cold and scared and hungry.”
Grylls said he and his team came up with hundreds of possible bits. The ones that made the cut “are shorts, sharp and intense,” he noted. “You could be on a climbing wall blindfolded and being blasted with ice cold water or eating truly horrendous things.”
The first episode featured a simulated avalanche, consumption of raw ostrich eggs mixed with fish eyes, ox lips, cow penis and uterus and plucking puzzle pieces out of worm-infested raw meat without using their hands. The show also provides vintage clips of Grylls doing similar things in the past.
For the challenges, he and the producers built what he dubbed a “wilderness arena, a mini-Hunger Games dome. Enter at your own peril! We had four different areas and built these mini-disaster environments. I’d give the crew these designs, and they did an amazing job.”
He had a hard timing guessing who would ultimately win the money each episode: “You’d think it’s the big brawny dude but he ends up panicking and bumbling while a low-key woman does amazing work and becomes the unsung hero. Courage is often quietly held and slowly emerges and surprises the person themselves.”
Grylls said his long-standing philosophy is stay humble in the wild. “Mother Nature is like your mama,” he said. “If you respect her, she’ll treat you right. If you disrespect her, you’ll get a lesson you’ll never forget.”
Now 48, Grylls said he has become more cognizant of the angel on his shoulder. “Young guys sometimes charge in when they should have stopped and listened to themselves saying that something isn’t quite right,” he said. “I’ve ended up in flash floods and avalanches. I now listen to that inner voice.”
He said he has already been able to sell the “I Survived Bear Grylls” concept to multiple countries beyond America. “We’ll have local hosts on different shows,” he said. “Sometimes a show has an energy. This particular one I think is inspiring and empowering.”
“I Survived Bear Grylls” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on TBS and is available on TBS on demand.
Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.