Adventurer, survivalist and outdoor guru Bear Grylls is the star of Running Wild with Bear Grylls, now in its second season with NBC. On each episode, viewers watch Grylls take A-list celebrities, TV stars and even a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Drew Brees, into untamed and untouched areas around the globe for a two-day journey. As discussed in our feature "Defending the (Modern Caveman)," this is one of several survival shows that land people — some skilled and some not — in situations where they're forced to make their way back to society.
And in episode four of season two, Grylls comes to Colorado, taking comedian and actor Ed Helms into the serene Eldorado Canyon State Park (and onto undisclosed private property), an area frequented by avid climbers and hikers about forty minutes northwest of Denver. Helms and Grylls were flown in by helicopter despite Helms’ unease with heights. The two spent the trip tromping around in the canyon, rappelling, building a survival shelter, starting fire with flint and hunting small game.
In the beginning of the resulting episode, Helms talks about how nice Colorado is and jokingly pledges to buy the whole state. After worrying about "crapping in his adventure pants," in the end, he does not.
“The terrain allowed for an exciting and difficult journey,” Chris Grant, one of the show's producers, says in an e-mail. While a shoot takes only two days, the crew’s stay in an area can last up to fifteen days, depending on weather. But the stay in Colorado was short.
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Running Wild with Bear Grylls has an average viewership of about 4 million people, and those viewers — who average approximately 47 years old — are younger than most prime-time audiences. Vikki Cacciatore, also an executive producer for the show, says she understands the demand for survival shows: “It seems like we have become such a technological society that putting people in survivalist situations is the ultimate fish out of water.”
Colorado offered great and challenging terrain, the producers agree. Adds Grant: "Bear loved it and would like to shoot there again."