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Mark Burnett, Bear Grylls to reboot “Eco-Challenge”

MGM head Mark Burnett has teamed up with survival and outdoor adventurer Bear Grylls to reboot the competition series Eco-Challenge, the endurance race series that was the precursor to Survivor. “The most asked question in ...
June 8, 2018

MGM head Mark Burnett has teamed up with survival and outdoor adventurer Bear Grylls to reboot the competition series Eco-Challenge, the endurance race series that was the precursor to Survivor.

“The most asked question in my entire career is ‘will you ever bring back Eco-Challenge?’ and I’d always known we needed the correct authentic figure head to lead us forward effectively,” said Burnett (pictured), in a statement. “Bear Grylls is that leader.”

Created by Burnett in 1992, the series ran for 10 editions over eight years. The first Eco-Challenge began on April 25, 1995, in South Eastern Utah and lasted 11 days with the French team winning first place. It was held each subsequent year in a new location, including Australia, Morocco, Patagonia, Borneo, Canada, New Zealand and Fiji.

The competition was often comprised of 50 international teams of four (with a mandatory mix of both men and women) who would race for 24 hours a day over a rugged 300-mile course. Teams had to train to become proficient and pass assessment tests in activities, including whitewater rafting and mountain biking. If any team member quit, the entire team was disqualified.

Burnett and Grylls’ will executive produce along with Delbert Shoopman who is Grylls’ producing partner for the series which will select a location and television partner as production looks to rev up in late 2019.

Grylls, who also takes up hosting duties on the series, starred in seven seasons of the Discovery Channel’s Emmy Award-nominated Man vs. Wild television series. He currently stars in and produces the NBC prime-time show Running Wild with Bear Grylls.

Eco-Challenge is the ultimate global survival-adventure race, against the elements, against the clock, and against some of the greatest extreme athletes the world has ever seen,” added Grylls. “I am so proud to have partnered with MGM Television & the legendary Mark Burnett to bring this incredible adventure series to the world. This is raw human endeavor at its most powerful.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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