In a throwback to the 2003 Mike Darnell boundary-pushing reality TV staple Man vs. Beast, Discovery Channel is doing Man vs. Bear, a competition series pitting humans against Grizzlies. The reality show, from Kinetic Content (Married At First Sight), a Red Arrow Studios company, has been filmed and premieres December 4.
It features three Grizzlies – Bart, Honey Bump and Tank – all free-range captive bears, some of them entertainment experience. They take on human competitors at a Utah sanctuary in challenges designed around the exercise routines the animals regularly follow, including a game of “tug of war” or rolling giant logs.
Each episode includes five distinct challenges inspired by what bears do naturally in the wild. In the final round, the top two competitors come face-to-face with Bart, who stands 8 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 1,400 pounds. The human competitor who earns the most points of the day is named champion.
The season concludes with the top three competitors with the most points returning one more time for the super-human showdown against the bears.
Anticipating potential backlash from animal rights activists, Discovery has posted s detailed account of how the bears were treated during filming.
Man vs. Bear features blow-by-blow commentary from CBS Sports Radio personality Brandon Tierney and wildlife expert Casey Anderson, the founder of the Montana Grizzly Encounter and has rescued seven bears from inhumane captivity situations.
Bart and Honey Bump were orphaned as cubs and discovered by an Alaska State Trooper. They were adopted by caretakers Doug and Lynne Seus. Along with Tank, the Seus’ have raised and cared for all three bears for two decades on a sprawling section of protected land.
Executive producing Man vs. Bear are Chris Coelen, Eric Detwiler, Vincent Cariati, Steve Kaufman, Paul Lima and Karrie Wolfe for Kinetic Content.