NBC Looking For Contestants For New Show Hosted By Bear Grylls

NBC has put out a casting call for a new reality show that promises to be quite an adventure. The unnamed show will be hosted by Bear Grylls of “Man vs. Wild” fame and features a large cash prize, although just how large remains to be seen.

The show’s format sounds vaguely familiar with the premise being that teams of two will be dropped in a remote location and will have to learn to exist in the wild while racing against others towards a finish line. The description indicates that the competitors will need to work together as a team, while maintaining their courage and determination, in order to avoid being eliminated. That seems to indicate that there will be distinct stages and challenges for the competition, not unlike CBS’s popular show “The Amazing Race.”

To audition for the show simply email the names of the two people on your team as well as the nature of your relationship, to bearshowcasting@gmail.com. The email should also include brief bios, occupations, contact info, photos and a note as to why you should be picked to be on the show. Contestants must be legal residents of the United States and 21-years of age or older on February 2013. A valid U.S. passport is also a requirement, which seems to indicate that this adventure will take place in a foreign country.

In the press release info that I received, the show is being billed as the “Ultimate Outdoor Adventure Competition.” If that sounds like it’s your cup of tea, than blast out that email ASAP. Now if only we can get a “Team Gadling” into the competition.

[Photo credit: Bear Grylls]

Flavor Flav’s House of Flavor opens today in Las Vegas

Yeah, boy! The iconic rapper and “Flavor of Love” reality star Flavor Flav will open his fried chicken restaurant in Las Vegas today, in case you needed another reason to visit Sin City. The take out restaurant features recipes and secret spice rub mixtures developed by Flavor Flav himself over the years. Yes, that’s right. Flav has a cooking degree.

The menu includes fried chicken, fried shrimp and Flavor Flav’s signature red velvet waffle. We’re told to also expect celebrity sightings.

Not sure who Flav is? Apparently you’re not into quality TV (his “Flavor of Love 2” finale was the highest rated VH1 telecast ever). Most recently, he appeared with Elton John in the Pepsi Super Bowl commercial.

Flav wants to make sure everyone understands that this is not the same restaurant that failed in Iowa a few years back. Well, it is, but this one is going to be different, he told Business Week.

Let’s hope so – if you make it to Vegas and check out the chicken, be sure to let us know.

[Flickr image via Back9Network]

Kimpton lets you buy a leg up on the competition with Gordon Ramsay MasterChef package at Palomar DC

So you think you can … cook? Kimpton is making it easier for those with a hunkering for reality TV fame to have their shot at tryouts with FOX’s MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay with an exclusive Friday night package.

Kimpton’s Palomar hotel in Dupont Circle is offering a limited amount of special “MasterChef” packages, which offers an overnight on Friday, November 11th and a VIP pass that allows them to skip to the front of the line at MasterChef Auditions at Trinity Washington University on Saturday, November 12 to give the best audition possible.

There are only five available and each package comes with only one VIP pass – so if you want to show off your skills, we’d suggest booking soon. The package starts at $339 for a deluxe room and can be booked with code MCHEF online.

Want inspiration? We’d suggest having dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Urbana, on Friday. It’s one of our all-time favorites, filled with Mediterranean-inspired and seasonally-influenced dishes (try the pork belly – it’s amazing). Don’t skip the house-made gelato for dessert, especially if the mint flavor is on the menu!

Gordon Ramsay to host new hotel makeover show

While mostly known for his angry outbursts on reality cooking and restaurant-themed shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, and Kitchen Nightmares, the screaming Scottish chef apparently also has talent in hotel management. While no air date has been set, Gordon Ramsay has been chosen to host a new Fox reality show called Hotel Hell where he will partner with hospitality experts to revive struggling properties around the United States. Apparently, Ramsay has taken college courses in hotel management and has also been in charge of several hotel-based restaurants.

According to Entertainment Weekly, in a statement about the new project Ramsay said, “These are stories that everyone can relate to, because virtually all of us have had a bad hotel experience that’s turned a holiday or business trip into a total disaster. It’s time to put the hospitality industry to the test.”

Why I hate The Amazing Race

I love TV travel porn. Turn on a little Rick Steves traipsing around Europe’s back doors, Ian Wright of Globetrekker getting hamstrung in a Turkish hammam, or Anthony Bourdain slurping up Pho in Vietnam on No Reservations, and I am fixated. Hell, I’ll even watch the awkwardly matched foursome of Gwyneth Paltrow, Chef Mario Batali, food writer Mark Bittman, and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols just to see them thump melons and gobble down salty pig parts as they ramble through the markets and kitchens of Spain on PBS’s Spain…on the Road Again.

As much as I adore armchair exploration, however, there is one program that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth – the wildly popular CBS reality travel show The Amazing Race. If you’ve never seen it, the show consists of 11 two-person teams that fly around the world to compete in challenges, typically based on the local culture, such as roping a llama in Peru or driving a snowplow in Siberia. Since it began in 2001, “Race” has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards and has been franchised to include versions in Asia, Australia, and Latin America. In Israel, The Amazing Race is called HaMerotz LaMillion, which translates roughly as “Race to the Million,” because teams compete to win $1 million (or, in the case of Israel, one million new Israeli shekels).

In sum, the Amazing Race is an adrenaline-fueled travel adventure show beloved by millions of TV viewers worldwide. So why do I hate it? Here are three reasons:1. Travel shouldn’t be about numbers. “Five continents, 25 cities, and more than 40,000 miles” was the tagline of the final episode of Race’s Season 7. To many travelers, the dream is to rack up visited destinations like trophies. But should travel be boiled down to just numbers? Should quantity trump quality? There’s a certain hollow materialism to counting countries and treating cities like personal stats. It reminds me of a saying that was popular in the 1980s, “He who dies with the most toys wins” and leads me to my next point…

2. Travel is best when you slow down. Were every moment not recorded, would Race’s contestants even remember the difference between Peru and Chile or South Africa and Botswana? Filming for the Amazing Race typically takes place over one month, during which time participants travel to as many as a dozen countries. One of the shortest seasons, The Amazing Race 12, had contestants traveling 30,000 miles to 10 countries within 21 days. I understand that such a breakneck speed makes for great television – it is a race, after all. But I feel that The Amazing Race sends the wrong signal to travelers that it is okay to speed through airports and train stations and villages. Travel should be one of those activities where you allow yourself to slow down and take note of the details. Travel deeply not quickly.

3. Travel should, in itself, be the reward. The $1 million prize is why The Amazing Race gets tens of thousands of applications each season. Who can fault would-be contestants for wanting to race around the world for that kind of cash? Not me. Though, what if The Amazing Race made travel the reward? There are so many quotations about the benefits of travel that I could use here, but I actually think a recent tweet from Gadling friend and Twitter’s favorite nomad Andrew Evans (@wheresandrew):

In its defense, The Amazing Race bills itself as a “reality program” and not as a “lifestyle program,” the Emmy category under which most travel shows are classified. And, I also applaud Race for shining a spotlight on destinations that many travelers may never get to see (Burkina Faso!). But I fear I will never quite understand why a show that puts personality above place and discord above discovery is so beloved by travel enthusiasts. The Amazing Race stresses me out; give me Rick Steves any day.

The 19th season of The Amazing Race premiers on Sunday, September 25.

Photo from Wikipedia