Mark Burnett & Bear Grylls’ ‘Eco-Challenge’ Reboot Picked Up By Amazon

Mark Burnett Bear Grylls
MGM Television/Discovery

Amazon is bringing back Mark Burnett’s endurance race competition format Eco-Challenge with a ten-episode order.

The SVOD platform has commissioned Eco-Challenge 2019, to be hosted by Man Vs Wild and Running Wild star Bear Grylls and produced by MGM Television. The announcement comes three months after Burnett and Grylls revealed that they had partnered to bring back the classic format that put Burnett on the reality TV map and was a precursor to his CBS hit Survivor. It is Amazon’s most significant non-scripted entertainment order since it launched The Grand Tour with former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.

The show, which will air globally, will pit teams of four competitors selected from around the world against each other and nature’s harsh elements in a grueling 24-hours a day, multi-day race. If one teammate quits the entire team is disqualified. The 2019 location for the epic adventure will be unveiled later this year.

The original series, created by The Voice and Survivor producer Burnett, ran 10 editions over eight years beginning in 1995 on MTV. Later editions — in locales from Australia and Morocco to Patagonia, Borneo, Canada, New Zealand and Fiji — aired on ESPN and Discovery Channel, with the 1996 British Columbia race winning Burnett his first Emmy. The race aired on USA Network until 2002.

The competition previously featured a rugged 300-mile course featuring the likes of mountaineering, horseback riding, sea kayaking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, camel riding and canyoneering. Competitors had to carry out all trash, including solid human waste. If any team member quit, the entire team was disqualified.

Eco-Challenge 2019 is exec produced by Burnett and Lisa Hennessy alongside Grylls and Delbert Shoopman for Bear Grylls Ventures. Burnett’s race course design experts, Scott Flavelle and Kevin Hodder, also return.

“I owe so much to Eco-Challenge. I came to the competition after I spent a few years competing professionally in expedition competitions,” said Burnett. “I went on to produce Eco-Challenge for a decade. It started my entire TV career and afforded me my first Emmy. I’ve been asked one question over and over. When is it coming back? Now it is. With Bear Grylls at the helm and the Amazon Prime Video team delivering it to a worldwide audience, we will make an amazing team, and the audience will see that this little race eats Ironmen for breakfast.”

“Mark Burnett and Bear Grylls are a dream pairing when it comes to the world of ultimate survival.  The stakes and the emotions will run high for the teams on Eco-Challenge 2019,” said Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke. “Our Prime Video audience is in for a high-octane edge-of-your-seat experience as these fierce competitors find their limits and are asked to push beyond them in an adventure unlike any other.”

Eco-Challenge is the ultimate survival-adventure race, against the elements, against the clock, and against some of the greatest extreme athletes the world has ever seen,” said Bear Grylls. “Amazon Studios have such incredible global reach and the ability to unite so many countries and territories around this race, that shows human endeavor at its most powerful.”

At MGM Television, Burnett also is shepherding a revival of reality competition format American Gladiators with Seth Rogen executive producing.

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