Discovery Channel is putting on a real life Hunger Games. At least that’s what the network’s new show, Survival Live (WT) sounds like to me — without the killing, of course. Eight contestants will compete for 42 days in the wilderness on what the network is billing as the first-ever live broadcast survival show.
The network describes it as a, “24/7 real time, multi-platform viewing experience where viewers will play a large role in each survivalist’s success or failure. The survivalists struggle will be streamed live, day and night, from the moment they are abandoned into the remote wilderness with only the clothes on their back. Viewers will have the ability to check out the survivalists biometric data to see who is physically struggling, and can elect to help them out. The survivalists will be able to build a relationship with the audience by talking to them through the cameras. That relationship could be the difference between failing to succeed on the first week or making it the full 42 days. To prosper, these survivalists will need the audience in their corner if they want to stay alive.”
In addition to pre-recorded episodes, there will be live ones where the weakest survivalist will be “extracted,” based on “how well they have demonstrated their skills and how well they have maintained themselves physically,” according to the network. At the end of 42 days, only one will remain.
Frankly, this set-up gives me the heebie-jeebies. (In my head I’m saying this like King Julian.) It sounds just a touch sinister…but these people are competing willingly, and it’s not actually deadly. Discovery is no stranger to survival shows: Naked and Afraid, Dual Survival, and Bear Grylls: Escape from Hell…who knew there were so many ways to strand people in the wild with video cameras? But, this one sounds like something you won’t want to miss, so be ready for it to hit later this year.
The Hollywood Reporter, who first broke the news, spoke to Eileen O’Neill, group president of Discovery and TLC Networks, who said that the show would likely be filmed somewhere in the Pacific Rim. I hope it’s somewhere balmy.
Discovery Channel has terminated its relationship with Bear Grylls, the British television personality and star of the network’sMan vs. Wild. The severing of the relationship, which began back in 2006 when Man vs. Wildlaunched on Discovery, comes after the network has allegedly been unable to get Grylls to participate in two unannounced projects he was contracted for, say sources. The sixth season of Man vs. Wild wrapped in August.
“Due to a continuing contractual dispute with Bear Grylls, Discovery has terminated all current productions with him,” a network spokesperson tells The Hollywood Reporter.
A representative for Grylls confirmed that theMan Vs. Wild star has parted ways with Discovery.
“Bear’s goal has always been to make life-empowering shows for his many fans around the globe, and he has taken great risks to bring Discovery such award-winning programming over seven seasons,” said Heather Krug in a statement to THR. “Unfortunately, Bear and Discovery have not been able to come to mutual agreement on new programming, and he disagrees with Discovery’s decision to terminate current productions. Bear has loved the Man vs. Wild journey and looks forward to producing further cutting-edge content again soon for his loyal audience.”
This is not the first time Discovery has had a disagreement with its talent. In 2010, the network suedDeadliest Catch Captains Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand for allegedly failing to complete work on the spinoff Hillstranded. The $3 million lawsuit prompted the Hillstrands and Captain Sig Hansento quit, though a month later the dispute was settled, the suit was dropped and all three returned to work on the show.
Grylls, 37, has parlayed his fame as an extreme outdoorsman into an international media career. He’s written nearly a dozen books, many of them survival guides. His memoir Mud, Sweat and Tears – due to be published in the U.S. in May – already is a best-seller in England and Australia. He’s landed numerous endorsement deals including with Dockers and Degree deodorant. There’s a Man vs. Wildvideo game, he has an iPhone app, and his clothing line is sold at REI and Walmart.