Survivorman moves to YTV, Cartoon Network with teen version, Survive This

Survivorman Les Stroud, the survivalist who actually stranded himself in the wild with no camera crews or support for his Discovery Channel series, is moving to the Cartoon Network after ending his Discovery series because, as he told me, he didn’t want “to do survival for the next three years straight, another 26 episodes.”

Survive This features Les Stroud teaching eight teenagers how to survive in the wild. It debuts tonight in Canada on YTV, and will air later this year on Cartoon Network. Stroud told the CP that “It was full-on survival. They have to worry about getting food, making shelter, getting water, traipsing across through treacherous territories, being together, being in smaller groups, being alone, personal dynamics, group dynamics. They had to go through it all when it comes to wilderness survival.” YTV’s web site has video from the new series.

Stroud ended his Discovery series after three seasons because, as he told me when I interviewed him during a session at the RealScreen Summit earlier this year, he was ready to move on, even though the show was in the “strong and enviable position” of being in demand.

“Could we do another 40 shows? Sure. Could we come up with the ways to go around the world and many people said, we don’t care, just do the same thing in the same locations? Sure. And I’d get bored to tears. For me, it’s been seven years, and the idea was in 1986. I’m very big on doing something as well as you can, but progressing,” Stroud said. “I can’t do seven years of 26 episodes of one thing; I’d slit my wrists. I need to be productive and progressive and morph. So Survivorman itself will morph because it’s me, it’s still whatever I happen to do on screen.”

He also told me, “I feel very, very proud of where we are with this, to have the show as it is, and the fact that I think it was first [in the genre]. But, to me, I want to kick back and go, come on, folks, what’s next, what’s more exciting? Going to do survival for the next three years straight, another 26 episodes? Not for me. I need to move on an upward. And, we didn’t jump the shark.”

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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.