Is Discovery’s Man vs. Wild a hoax? Find out Friday

This past Summer, Bear Grylls — star of Discovery’s Man vs. Wild — came under fire in a NY Post expose which claimed he “appears to camp out in quickly-built shelters deep in the wilderness while battling hypothermia and dehydration. But when the cameras stop rolling, Grylls has actually moved to luxurious hotels.”

When we covered the story, our readers responded with mixed feelings. “I don’t really think its a big deal, bear still does alot of stupid things and has proved his worth with his accomplishments,” wrote Gadling reader Adam. “The fact that he gets to kick back and relax during shooting doesn’t mean the information is any less useful, its not meant to be a documentary, more of a how to.”

Not everyone felt the same. “I see that a lot of people don’t care about the lies,” wrote another reader. “Let’s [not] fool ourselves, that is what they are…lies.”

This Friday, new episodes of Man vs. Wild will air that promise to “have more revelations about Grylls’ survival tactics in desolate places,” which will end up giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how the show is made, according to the AP.

Can Bear save his reputation?

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Is Discovery’s Man vs. Wild a Hoax?

Just the other day, my girlfriend and I were watching Bear Grylls on the Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild and commenting on how crazy he was — eating spiders, sleeping with snakes, and climbing up and down waterfalls while battling a massive case of diarrhea. Maybe he’s not so crazy?

The New York Post is running an article that questions the reality of Man vs. Wild, saying, “On the program, Grylls appears to camp out in quickly-built shelters deep in the wilderness while battling hypothermia and dehydration. But when the cameras stop rolling, Grylls has actually moved to luxurious hotels.”

Mark Weinert, “an Oregon-based survival consultant,” is claiming that producers for the show hired him as a consultant. “According to Weinert, while filming in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains – an episode in which Grylls, 33, is seen biting off the head of a snake for breakfast – Grylls actually spent some nights with the show’s crew in a lodge outfitted with television, stone fireplaces, hot tubs and Internet access.”

I don’t doubt Grylls’ ability to sever the head of a snake with his teeth for a quick snack — that stuff seems true enough — but what goes on behind the scenes is anyone’s guess. Here’s what Discovery had to say:

“Discovery Communications has learned that isolated elements of the ‘Man vs. Wild’ show in some episodes were not natural to the environment, and that for health and safety concerns the crew and host received some survival assistance while in the field.”

Previously: Gadling writer Erik questions the reality of the show almost a year ago.

Sad really. [via]

Bear Grylls Breaks Himalyan Paraglider Record With “Petrol-Powered Paraglider”

BearBear Grylls — otherwise known as the filthy British guy in Man vs. Wild — literally soared into the record books yesterday after he completed a “petrol-powered paraglider” flight over the Himalayas. Wonder if he saw Conrad Anker?

Shivering through mind-numbing temperatures of -76°F to pass the 29,500-foot-mark — almost 10,000 feet higher than the previous powered paraglide record — the adventurer/explorer had to carry his own air on his back, as the oxygen is too thin to supoport life at that altitude.

Promising that he’ll never do anything as dangerous again, Bear told The Telegraph, “It was the hairiest, most frightening thing I have ever undertaken in my life.” Think he’s exaggerating? Check out the photo gallery and video The Telegraph is hosting, and I bet you believe him!

If you want to learn more about the record, check out GKN Mission Everest, which chronicles the preparation and adventure.