Report: Les Stroud ending his 'Survivorman' Discovery Channel show
By Steve Rogers, 11/06/2008
After three seasons, Survivorman star Les Stroud is apparently all survival'd out.
Stroud, who has spent three seasons filming his attempts to spend a week living completely on his own with no supplies in various remote areas around the world, has reportedly announced the Discover Channel reality show's upcoming season will be his last.
"You can only do seven days surviving without food a certain number of times a year. I'm pleased with what I have done, I've been copied around the world, but 25 times I've not eaten anything for a week while sleeping on rocks. I need to move on," Stroud told Reuters in a Thursday report.
A Discovery Channel spokesperson had no comment on the report when reached by Reality TV World on Thursday afternoon.
Survivorman's third season -- which will consist of six episodes in which Stroud will attempt to survive in the Arctic tundra, the wilds of Ontario, the Australian Outback, the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Colorado wilderness, and an island in Papua New Guinea -- will premiere on Discovery on Friday, November 7 at 9PM ET/PT.
Stroud told Reuters the Papua New Guinea episode -- which he is reportedly filming this month -- will serve as his final Survivorman episode.
According to Stroud -- who has previously stated that he spends more than half his wilderness time setting up or taking down the 50 pounds of camera equipment he lugs around to film each episode -- Survivorman's production has taken a significant toll on him over the years.
"It takes a lot out of me as I really do what I do for real, with no camera crew, no nights in hotels like others do, and it takes a toll on my body," Stroud told Reuters in an apparent not-so-subtle jab at Man vs. Wild, Discovery's other wilderness survival series.
Last year, Man vs. Wild -- which stars British survival expert Bear Grylls and also airs on the U.K.'s Channel 4 as Born Survivor: Bear Grylls -- made headlines when a Channel 4 investigation revealed that the show had staged and faked some of the scenes shown in its first season episodes.
According to the investigation, Grylls -- who, unlike Stroud, is accompanied by a production crew while filming his wilderness adventures -- had actually slept indoors at local motels or resorts during at least two occasions in which the show had led viewers to believe he was actually spending the night outdoors.
In addition, the show had also allegedly faked numerous other scenes, including a scene in which Grylls had been shown building a raft that had already been built and then deconstructed for him, a scene in which he was shown skinning a rabbit he had falsely claimed to catch in a trap he'd built, and a scene in which he encountered "wild horses" that the show had actually been brought in from a trekking station.
Discovery denied any knowledge of the "isolated elements" that "were not natural" and re-edited the first season episodes. In addition to editing out scenes that weren't "natural to the environment," the network also added disclaimers that "[Grylls] and the crew receive support when they are in potentially life-threatening situations, as required by health and safety regulations" and voice-over acknowledgements in which Grylls explained scenes like the rabbit skinning had been staged.
Man vs Wild's subsequent seasons -- Discovery premiered the show's second season last fall and its third season in August -- have continued to use similar disclaimers to highlight the production crew's role in assisting Grylls.