June 06, 2013 6:00am PT by Meena Jang
'72 Hours' Host Brandon Johnson Previews TNT's New Reality Competition
Time is short and the stakes are high in TNT's newest reality series, 72 Hours.
Brandon Johnson, former actor on Disney's Shake It Up and host of HGTV's My Yard Goes Disney, tells The Hollywood Reporter that 72 Hours is an authentic show "in a day and age where people are saturated with scripted reality." Contestants are followed through a three-day journey through the wilderness as they battle against physical, mental and emotional tests.
Nine strangers are catapulted into the wild "with nothing more than the shirts on their back and a bottle of water" to embark on one grueling mission: find a brief case loaded with $100,000 in just 72 hours. Ranging from firemen to tattoo artists to stay-at-home mothers, unique competitors from diverse backgrounds are split into teams of three to tackle the challenge of facing the unexpected in a strenuous search for the finish line. All three team members must place their hands on the brief case in order to successfully complete the task and ultimately win the competition.
"How they're able to communicate and work together as a team is either going to make them or break them," Johnson says. "Could you really make it through the 72 hours when the advancement and success depends on a total stranger you've never met?"
In contrast to the long-term focus of competition shows such as Survivor and The Amazing Race, each episode of 72 hours is set to feature a new set of competitors in a brand new location including, but not limited to, Fiji, New Zealand, and the Southern Rockies. According to Johnson, the “immediacy” of every individual journey is what sets the series apart from the rest.
All competing teams face the high risks and unpredictable results that come with trekking through a remote location trusting complete outsiders. With unexpected obstacles caused by severe weather, critical injuries and psychological battles, each contestant is confronted with a “morality choice” of either believing in a team of strangers and sticking through the race or choosing to drop out of the competition. As Johnson explains, there is a fine line between success and failure that depends on each team’s level of trust. “Though one person physically could do it,” he says, “what if the other teammate mentally can’t do it -- can’t emotionally take it?
Although only the winning team will be awarded the cash prize, all contestants will “walk away with a new sense of empowerment and confidence about themselves,” says Johnson. The show communicates a message that Johnson confidently believes will offer both competitors and viewers a new perspective.
“My whole philosophy is that if you’re not on the edge, you’re not close enough. When it comes to life, I want to squeeze the lemon as hard as I can,” the host tells THR. “The show is really a metaphor for life. I always say that the breakdowns are the breakthroughs.”
72 Hours premieres Thursday, June 6, at 9 p.m. on TNT.
Reporting by Sophie Schillaci