Senators cross the aisle for US survival TV show

GMT 07:27 2014 Friday ,19 September

Arab Today, arab today Senators cross the aisle for US survival TV show

John Harris from Politico (L), Senator Martin Heinrich (C) and Senator Jeff Flake (R)
Washington - AFP

Two US senators from opposing camps took their shared interest in spearfishing to the South Pacific for a reality TV show intended to teach gridlock Washington a lesson in teamwork.
"Rival Survival" finds Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, and Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, sweating it out for a week on a desert island with a camera crew in tow.
"If you want to see a Republican suffer and a Democrat suffer, you're going to be happy" when Discovery Channel telecasts the one-off program worldwide, Heinrich said Thursday.
"I can assure you, we were very afraid -- but not naked," added Flake in a nod to the network's more risquee tropical survivalist series "Naked and Afraid."
At a preview in Washington, the senators said they came up with the idea 18 months ago when, during breaks in a marathon budget vote, they discovered they were both into spearfishing.
Their original plan was to film their adventure themselves using GoPro cameras, before Discovery came on board with a full production crew that commuted daily from a nearby island.
Pitting themselves against nature, Flake, 51, and Heinrich, 42, struggled to ignite a fire in the rain, build a shelter out of palm leaves and fish for their dinner in a turquoise lagoon.
Flake brought with him a raft of experience: he's twice visited the Marshall Islands, where "Rival Survival" was filmed, for solo and family survivalist holidays.
"Early on, I thought, 'This is a crazy idea'," recalled Heinrich.
"But then the more we both experienced where the Senate is today, and the frustrations we have making it a more functional place -- then we thought there was huge potential."
Both men returned home with sunburns, swollen limbs and a fervent desire never to taste coconut juice again, after consuming about 20 coconuts a day to stave off dehydration.
"Everybody's into this coconut water fad," Heinrich quipped. "Jeff and I are so over that."
"Rival Survival" airs October 29 in the United States. It's also set to be telecast in Discovery Channel's more than 200 overseas markets.

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