Traveller, action man and survival expert Bear Grylls is set to appear on ITV for the first time. The channel hopes the popular presenter will help attract male viewers and fill the gaping hole left by the loss of its football rights.
Grylls will star in three 60-minute programmes, provisionally named Britain’s Biggest Adventures with Bear Grylls. Made by UK production company Nutopia, the show will see the adventurer explore geology, botany and history around Britain.
“It’s brilliant to be reunited with Bear, years after working together on Man vs Wild for Discovery Channel,” said Nutopia chief executive Jane Root to Broadcast magazine. “It’ll be amazing to see Bear getting personal with the British countryside – and we promise this time we won’t make Bear sleep in a dead camel as Man vs Wild once did.”
The failure of ITV’s bid to screen Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup football in 2015 has left a 110-hour gap in the network’s schedules. Last summer ITV director of programme strategy David Bergg admitted he was on the lookout for series that would boost the channel’s revenues and male viewers.
It’s believed a reality series akin to The Island with Bear Grylls could follow Britain’s Biggest Adventures, but he already has commitments with Channel 4, which is currently making a second series of The Island.
Attracting an average of 3.1 million viewers, The Island with Bear Grylls challenged 13 men to survive on a tropical island after being stripped of the luxuries of modern life. After negative press accusing the show of sexism, the adventurer said he was keen to do a female-only version.
“I wanted to do a study of masculinity, of man, of what the struggle is for modern men. What I’d love to do next is exactly the same with women,” Grylls said during publicity for the show. “I think there is an equally big challenge in what makes a modern day, empowered, strong woman.”
Britain’s Biggest Adventures with Bear Grylls will air on ITV in 2015 and The Island 2 will air on Channel 4 in 2015.