Kinetic Content has been commissioned by Discovery to produce major new unscripted series Man vs. Bear.
For thousands of years, Grizzly Bears have stood at the top of the evolutionary food chain with unchallenged dominance. Now for the first time ever, humans will be entering the bears’ territory and take them on in a competition like never attempted. Man vs. Bear, an all-new competition series pitting humans against powerful Grizzlies, premieres Wednesday, December 4 at 9pm et/pt on Discovery.
Each week, three Grizzlies – Bart, Honey Bump and Tank – will take on three new human competitors at their Utah sanctuary to test the limits of strength, speed and stamina. All challenges will be based on the bears’ natural instincts as well as predatory skills and actions – whether it’s engaging in a monumental game of “tug of war” or using brute force to roll giant logs.
Bart is the largest, most powerful grizzly on the mountain with no other bears matching his strength and versatility. Topping the pack as the fastest is Honey Bump, who is the only female on Bear Mountain. She brings a level of ferocity and predatory instinct that her male counterparts cannot beat. Bart and Honey Bump were orphaned as cubs and discovered by an Alaska State Trooper. After a nationwide search for a loving home for the rescued cubs, they were adopted by caretakers Doug and Lynne Seus. Along with Tank – known for his voracious appetite – the Seus’ have raised and cared for all three bears for two decades on a sprawling section of protected land.
Each episode will include five distinct challenges inspired by what bears do naturally in the wild, pushing these brave men and women to their absolute limits. In the final round, the top two competitors will come face-to-face with Bart, who stands 8 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 1,400 pounds. The human competitor who earns the most points of the day will be named champion.
But the competition isn’t over yet. At the end of the season, the top three competitors with the most points will return one more time for the super-human showdown against the bears.
“Competing against bears is both scary and exciting,” said Ira, an MMA fighter and competitor from Dallas, Texas. “It’s competing against the unknown. This is a completely new challenge for me.”
The series will also include blow-by-blow commentary from on-the-ground experts Brandon Tierney and Casey Anderson.
Brandon is an Emmy Award-winning sports commentator and host of CBS Sports Radio’s nationally syndicated show Tiki and Tierney. He’s no stranger to live sporting events – hosting game coverage for the New York Knicks and serving as a commentator for college basketball for the last 20 years.
Casey is a wildlife expert with 25 years of experience and has lived with bears nearly his entire life. After graduating college, he became a wildlife filmmaker and expert on animal biology and behavior. He’s also the founder of the Montana Grizzly Encounter and has rescued seven bears from inhumane captivity situations.
Grizzlies are extremely clever and lightning fast animals. Do these humans stand a chance? And will the humans be able to prove that they’re the ultimate predators… or simply prey?
In addition to watching the series on Discovery, viewers can stream new episodes each week on the Discovery GO app. Viewers can also get to know the bears and discover more about their lives on Bear Mountain. And while learning more about these fiercely talented grizzlies, viewers are encouraged to find out which bear matches their own personality with an interactive quiz. Viewers can join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #ManVsBear and follow Discovery on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.
Man vs. Bear is produced for Discovery Channel by Kinetic Content, a Red Arrow Studios company, with Chris Coelen, Eric Detwiler, Vincent Cariati, Steve Kaufman, Paul Lima and Karrie Wolfe as executive producers. For Discovery Channel, Joseph Boyle and Bill Howard are executive producers and Jessica Mollo is associate producer.
More about the Show
A Bear’s World – Behind-The-Scenes Of Man Vs Bear
All bear participants in Man vs. Bear are free range captive bears who would die if returned to the wild. Their caretakers are responsible for exercising them as part of a daily routine to ensure their health. Competitions have been designed around the bear’s natural instincts and actions. No bear is ever forced to compete.
Bart, Tank and Honey Bump are all free-range captive bears who’ve lived there entire lives with humans. Bart and Honey Bump were rescued from the Alaskan wilderness as tiny cubs after their mother was killed by poachers, and Tank was born into captivity. Because of their human upbringing, they rely on the exercises and routines of their caretakers to remain happy and healthy at the Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife Ranch.
The competitions for Man Vs Bear were designed around the exercise routines they regularly follow – a combination of encouraging natural Grizzly instincts and actions. They were never given action that they could not accomplish easily and safely. The bears were never forced to compete, and they were rewarded handsomely with their favorite treats before, during and after every event.
Like true Hollywood Divas, Bart, Tank and Honey Bump called all the shots. They were allowed to return to their trailers if they did not want to perform an action. They all received 45-minute breaks in between challenges, and rotated so they would not work in consecutive challenges. During breaks they rolled around on the grass and dug holes in their holding areas. We didn’t let these stars break a sweat – they only worked early mornings and wrapped by noon to avoid heat. The ground and air temperatures were monitored with a temperature gun to evaluate the temperature of the ground.
Bart, Tank and Honey Bump were rewarded with specially prepared and favorite foods, vegetables, fruit, salmon, steaks, meatballs, and whipped cream along with verbal praise. The bears were brushed daily, and fire hydrants with clear clean water were brought to each course to give them showers (which they enjoy, and helps them cool down). Ice was also provided, and huge fans for keep them cool on set. Along with the showers, water was provided and accessible at all times to keep our stars hydrated.
The bears holding area was close to set and provided a safe environment for bears to rest and engage in normal behavioral activities. Since Star Trailers aren’t really the bears preferred comfort zone, they had shaded and covered holding areas where they were free to walk, and all-access grass, where they enjoyed smelling, walking, digging, playing and rest.
A Movie Animals Protected (MAP) representative was present on location throughout the entire filming of Man Vs Bear, to ensure our stars remained safe and well-cared-for. They observed every interaction from start to end.
Before the show, the bears gained trust and comfort on the set through positive reinforcement, giving the bears control in their environment, and basic training principles of trainers subtly adjusting their body language in response to the bears’ body language. The affection and trust between trainers and bears was clear, and the bears were not fearful or aggressive in response to humans.
It was important to make sure our stars were physically and mentally sound to compete against their human challengers. Bart, Tank and Honey Bump had their own personal veterinarian on site, and a Division of Wildlife Resource Officer to advocate for their protection and the protection of any other resident wildlife on the set.
Emergency plans were put in place for the safety of bears and crew and wildlife. All crew were advised on how to behave to ensure they did not stress or startle the bears. Humans were not allowed to bring food or beverages to set, nor were they allowed to smoke, drink alcohol, or create any unusual smells. Sudden movements, running, making distracting sounds, operating vehicles or any unplanned stimuli were also banned for the human cast and crew. The set for Man Vs Bear was constructed with the safety of bears in mind, and all nonessential cast, crew, and guests (and even pets!) were removed from the filming location for safety. The production cast and crew were instructed not to call the bears, make noises or gesture to get looks or reactions from them.