Athletes compete in tribal competitions on Discovery’s Last One Standing tonight

Six athletes train with and then compete against tribal warriors in the Discovery Channel’s new reality series Last One Standing, which debuts tonight at 9 p.m. ET. The show follows “six athletes — three American and three British — [who] are immersed in the most remote tribes in the world, where they live alongside and train with indigenous tribespeople as they prepare to represent their host tribe in raw and intense competition,” according to the network.

For example, in one location, “[v]illagers prepped the chosen wrestlers by scraping their limbs with piranha teeth until they bled, then rubbing the wounds with salt and lime juice,” the Anchorage Daily News reports. One participant, Corey Rennell, “said it was morally difficult for him to execute the violent sports and the more gruesome village work, such as killing animals with his bare hands. But he said it’s important for viewers to understand that these athletic competitions all enhance survival skills.”

The 12-episode series “was filmed over a period of 14 months starting in June 2006,” according to the paper. “Contestants spent about two weeks in each location. Because their bodies deteriorated so rapidly on tribal diets and constant exertion, they would get up to a month off to recuperate before flying to the next village.”

For a preview of just how fascinating yet brutal this is, The Discovery Channel has released a one-minute trailer:

Last One Standing [Discovery Channel]
Young Anchorage man is a reality show star [Anchorage Daily News]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.