Discovery drops “Man Vs. Wild” star Bear Grylls

The U.S. cable network has terminated all current productions featuring the charismatic British survival expert (pictured) following a contract dispute over new programming.
March 14, 2012

The Discovery Channel has severed its ties with bug-eating Man Vs. Wild star Bear Grylls (pictured) over a contract dispute.

Grylls, 37, has hosted the U.S. cable network’s popular adventure and survival show for the past six years, becoming a motivational speaker, author and international star in the process.

“Due to a continuing contractual dispute with Bear Grylls, Discovery has terminated all current productions with him,” a spokesperson for the network said in a statement given to realscreen.

Although the network did not specify the nature of the dispute, unnamed sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Discovery has been unable to get the British TV personality to participate in two as-yet-unannounced projects that he was contracted to do.

In a statement, Grylls’ publicist confirmed that a disagreement over “new programming” caused the falling out. “Bear’s goal has always been to make life-empowering shows for his many fans around the globe, and he has taken great risks to bring Discovery such award-winning programming over seven seasons,” the spokesperson said.

“Unfortunately, Bear and Discovery have not been able to come to mutual agreement on new programming, and he disagrees with Discovery’s decision to terminate current productions. Bear has loved the Man vs. Wild journey and looks forward to producing further cutting-edge content again soon for his loyal audience.”

Grylls has been actively tweeting in the wake of the termination to thank fans for their support. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” he wrote. “Don’t worry…I’ll be drinking my pee again soon!”

In 1998, Grylls became the youngest person to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, at 23. He then embarked a series of expeditions that included crossing the North Atlantic in an inflatable boat, para-motoring over the Himalayas and performing the world’s longest indoor free fall. Prior to his adventure career, he served as a member of Britain’s Special Air Service.

Man Vs. Wild debuted on Discovery in 2006. Its sixth season aired last summer and featured an episode in which actor Jake Gyllenhaal accompanied Grylls on a trip to Iceland in blizzard conditions, as well as survivalist trips to New Zealand’s South and North Islands, and the Utah badlands.

Produced by Diverse Productions, the series airs in the United Kingdom as Born Survivor and in 200 other territories. In the UK, the show originally aired on Channel 4 before moving to Discovery Channel UK.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.