NBC announced this afternoon President Obama’s visit to Running Wild With Bear Grylls will air Thursday, December 17 at 10 PM. In terms of the presidential election cycle, the broadcast falls two days after CNN hosts the final GOP debate of the calendar year and three days after CBS’ Dem debate. Sadly, the visit was taped ages ago, so debates will not be among the things the two men discuss while running wild, nor will NBC’s recent broadcast of Saturday Night Live hosted by GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Another missed ratings opportunity for the network, Obama also will not drink his own urine in the episode – a Grylls “survival technique.” Some viewers demanded to know why, including one who created a petition on the WhiteHouse.gov petition page:
“President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Bear Grylls during his visit to Alaska, who will give the president a crash course in survival techniques. If there’s one thing we all know about Bear Grylls’ techniques, it’s that they mostly involve drinking his own urine. And so: We ask that Obama do the right thing and drink his own urine during a taping of Running Wild With Bear Grylls. For science. The people demand it.”
Tragically, it had received just over 700 signatures by the time it hit the deadline when it needed 10K signature to trigger a White House response. Next best thing: White House Press Secy Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One as Obama was heading to Alaska to hook up with Grylls, “I will not deny your suspicion that there may have been some suggestions put forward by the Bear Grylls team that were not approved by the Secret Service,” which was taken to be a reference to presidential pee-drinking.
Way back in August, NBC first announced Obama had become the first U.S. president to decide a Grylls made-for-TV visit was a good idea. News of the stunt casting came the morning after Obama announced he was using his executive power to restore the name of the tallest mountain in North America, in Alaska, to “Denali.” It officially had been called Mount McKinley for the past century, to the chagrin of local Native Americans. Obama met with Grylls during his three days in that state, watching the effects of climate change. Grylls’ show is known for celebrity visits, Obama joins a list that includes Kate Winslet, Drew Brees, Kate Hudson, Zac Efron, Michelle Rodriguez and Channing Tatum.