How is ABC's 'Expedition Impossible' Different From 'Survivor?'
Super-producer Mark Burnett is one of those people whose work you know even if you don't know who he is. In fact, you know his many reality shows even if you don't watch reality TV: "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" remain two of the biggest titles in the genre, and shows like "Shark Tank" and "The Voice" are on the rise. And yes, Burnett is a producer on all of those shows.
Burnett's newest venture, "Expedition Impossible," might sound like familiar territory at first: sending a bunch of big personalities into the Moroccan desert to tackle the terrain doesn't sound too different from "Survivor."
But Burnett insists that it's a whole new game. "I have an obligation to the contestants to give them a real adventure and not a pretend adventure," he says. "If it wasn’t a real adventure they would have been cheated."
The three teams of 13 compete for a new car and $50,000 a piece, which (in the days of "The X-Factor" and its $5 million prize) seems a little sparse. Apparently the thrill of the game and the bragging rights for winning is its own reward.
The idea of the show is to send a group of thrill-seekers of all shapes and sizes into the Morrocan terrain to see how they fare in dealing with craggy mountains, fast-flowing rivers and ornery camels.
One of the more interesting aspects are the observations of the locals, who observe the odd behaviors of the contestants and are sometimes asked for comment, with one Berber tribesman asking why a particular group of tourists are wearing knee-high socks in the desert heat. Somehow, despite the cultural distance, these locals end up asking a lot the same questions and making the same observations that we do.
They know an image-obsessed, attention-hungry American (you know, the usual reality TV fodder) when they see one, just as we do.
The show debuts tonight at 9:00 EST on ABC. Check out the show page for clips, and keep your eyes peeled for new episodes to watch online.