The Return of ‘Man vs. Wild’

According to Discovery Channel, Man vs. Wild will be returning with six new episodes starting Friday, May 2.

Man vs. Wild was one of Discovery’s most popular programs, though the revelation that some of the scenarios were staged and that the crew occasionally received outside assistance threw a wrench into the show’s production.

After the scandal, Discovery re-edited the old shows to better reflect the nature of what was going on, and shot new editions of the series using a different format. Bear Grylls, the host of the show, now openly meets with locals to learn how to survive, and instead of an hour-long program, usually ending with Bear hitchhiking by a road or knocking on a strangers door, each location was split into two hour-long episodes, no hitchhiking necessary.

For the first two new episodes, Bear will travel to Southern Africa, with stops in the Namibian Desert on May 2 and Zambia on May 9. Next he will hit Indonesia’s “Ring of Fire” May 16 and 23, followed by the Siberian tundra and Sayan Mountains May 30 and June 6.

Man vs. Wild gives viewers the opportunity to experience some of the most extreme conditions in the world – with Bear Grylls as the ultimate adventure expert,” said John Ford, president and general manager of Discovery Channel, announcing the new shows. “These latest expeditions truly portray the all-out gumption Bear possesses, as he throws himself into the harshest of situations using his vast knowledge of life-saving techniques.”

The new season is timed to the release of Grylls’ new book, called, not surprisingly, Man vs. Wild, which will be in bookstores April 29.

Man vs. Wild is one of Discovery’s most interesting shows, even if it was less that honest when it first premiered. The revised format of the show works nearly as well as the original, and is still league’s ahead of most cable programming on Friday nights.

Discovery has had a wave of quality non-scripted programming over the last few years. The success of Mythbusters, Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs, as well as Survivorman, among others, has given the network a wide-reaching audience as well as credibility, making mistakes such as the first season of Man vs. Wild a hiccup in the grand scheme of things.

By quickly acknowledging the mistake and taking steps to fix the problem, the network was able to salvage a promising series. Here’s hoping Grylls still has the energy to keep it going.

Photo Credit: Discovery Channel