Bear Grylls Returns to Discovery on Company's International Networks

Bear Grylls Auckland New Zealand - P 2012
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Bear Grylls Auckland New Zealand - P 2012

The British adventurer and TV personality gets a new unscripted series, "Ultimate Survivor."

Apparently it didn’t end so badly between Bear Grylls and Discovery after all. Less than a year after Discovery's U.S. flagship channel terminated its relationship with the British adventurer and TV personality, the company’s international distributor has announced a new series starring Grylls.

Bear Grylls: Ultimate Survivor, which will run on Discovery Networks International’s 26 international brands, retells the stories of ordinary people stranded in devastatingly dire situations using archive footage and interviews with the survivors. In a twist on Grylls’ former Discovery channel series Man vs. Wild, Grylls will pit himself against the same dangers and scenarios -- a plane crash in the Amazon, the remote crevasses of the European Alps, the unforgiving North African desert -- ostensibly showing viewers how to survive in such conditions. 

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Discovery Networks International has ordered six one-hour episodes of the series.

“I am super-excited to be working with Discovery again -- the channel where the Man vs. Wild journey began,” Grylls said in a statement. "Bear Grylls: Ultimate Survivors, and any future endeavors, will be intense -- but that’s where the fun is! Man vs. Wild took me to some of the toughest climates and terrains out there, and this new series is an exciting evolution of that. The aim is to follow incredible real-life survival stories and demonstrate dynamic life-saving know-how along the way.”

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Added Luis Silberwasser, chief content officer and executive vp of Discovery Networks International: “We are thrilled to welcome Bear back to the Discovery fold. He is a true game-changer in the survival genre, integral in shaping it into the programming powerhouse that it is today. We are now poised to push the limits even further for our international audience.”

In March, Discovery’s U.S. channels terminated what had been a long-standing relationship with Grylls after network executives allegedly were unable to get him to participate in unannounced projects he was contracted for, said sources. The sixth and final season of Man vs. Wild wrapped in August. Since then, Grylls has sealed a deal with NBC for an unscripted Survivor-esque adventure series called Get Out Alive, which is co-produced with Ben Silverman’s Electus and Bear Grylls Ventures. NBC has ordered eight episodes of the program, which is in production and set to debut later this year.