Bear Grylls is “hugely proud” of his Alaska adventure with President Barack Obama for Grylls’ show “Running Wild” on NBC, but he said there were some presidential roadbumps in making it happen.
“There are obviously quite a few hurdles along the way of trying to keep everyone happy,” Grylls said on a press call Monday, “including, you know, the whole Secret Service, presidential team and all of that. We did it and it’s an episode I’m hugely proud of and definitely this is the high point of our ‘Running Wild’ journeys.”
Obama approached the show because he’s a fan, and his team felt that Grylls has “strong international reach,” the British host told reporters. The show was part of Obama’s campaign to take a close look at climate change in Alaska. But before they could do anything, there was much to resolve.
“I thought initially they would have five or six Secret Service guys with us. That ended up like 50,” Grylls said. “You know, it’s a whole team with the press corps, and even a guy who’s there to make sure any food or drink [Obama’s] drinking is approved.”
In fact, the taster provided a couple challenges. First, he had already prepared food for the president. And anyone who has watched Grylls’ survival shows knows that’s not how things work. And second, the taster said that the president never eats or drinks on camera. “You know, I thought, ‘Oh, gosh, it will be a nightmare,’ but we just go with it,” Grylls said.
“I think he wanted to [taste everything first], but he didn’t,” Grylls said.
In the end, everyone followed Obama’s lead. Obama and Grylls devoured salmon that was half-eaten by a bear and tea made from berries found earlier in the adventure, and the president shared water bottles with Grylls.
Grylls did have one surivival technique that fans overwhelmingly wanted him to share with Obama: drinking urine for hydration.
“So it’s a big petition on the White House saying, ‘You got to get the president to drink his own pee.’ And I told him, ‘I’m not going to ask you to do that,'” Grylls said.
President Obama’s episode of “Running Wild” airs Thursday, December 17 at 10 p.m. on NBC.
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