Contenders push their limits with help from a Wild man

By Nuzhat Naoreen
June 07, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

Former Man vs. Wild star Bear Grylls has taken on his share of dangerous terrains — and now he’s looking for a worthy travel companions. The new adventure competition will follow teams of two as they wade raging rivers and scale glaciers across New Zealand to prove they’ve got Grylls-level survival skills (and, hopefully, to win half a million dollars). ”We picked real people who had a real reason to be there,” explains Grylls. ”I don’t need the politicking and the arguing because the wild does that for me. The wild strips them bare.” Grylls signed on to host only after NBC assured him he’d do more than hold a ceremonial torch. ”I said to NBC, ‘I’d love to do a show with you, but my condition is I want to be doing it,’ ” says Grylls, who will serve as guide and mentor. ”I don’t want to be standing around trying to look pretty.” Among the tasks the contestants will face: transporting fire across glacial water, jumping from a helicopter, and climbing a waterfall. But the most frightening challenge may involve the menu. Contenders will have to dine on maggots, worms, and fish eyeballs, and chug their own pee. Reasons exec producer Chris Grant, ”When you’re in the wild and there isn’t any water around, what would you use to hydrate yourself?”