Bear Grylls has just finished paragliding in the Swiss Alps -- "I've still got my boots on," he says toward the end of our conversation -- when he jumps on the phone to talk up his new show, Face the Wild. The prospect sounds a lot less exciting than paragliding in the Swiss Alps. He puts it more diplomatically: "I do struggle with the press side of it. I really do so little of this," the "this" referring to discussing his television work with people more comfortable in a swivel chair than climbing up and/or jumping off the Matterhorn.
But the television work and the press duties that come with it are what keep the adventures going for Grylls, who now has more than a decade of TV under his belt, starting from the premiere of Man vs. Wild in 2006. He's remained, remarkably, himself, which is certainly not true of TV. In the 12 years since Grylls' Discovery Channel series introduced American audiences to his wry British humor and gross-out meals of enormous grubworms that burst like Gushers, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, Facebook, and probably dozens of others have launched streaming platforms hungry for original programming.
Face the Wild debuted March 21 on the most controversial of those platforms, at least for the moment: Facebook. It's part of the Facebook Watch slate of programming, which includes shows like Ball in the Family (about the family of Lonzo Ball, the Los Angeles Lakers point guard); Humans of New York (based on the photoblog); and Returning the Favor (hosted by Grylls' one-time Discovery Channel colleague Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame). The hook for Face the Wild is similar to Grylls' NBC show, Running Wild, in which Grylls invites celebrities along on his survival adventures; in the case of Face the Wild, the guests are Facebook users Grylls and his team selected because of their inspirational stories, including a veteran who lost his legs in combat, a blind woman, a Hurricane Harvey survivor, and seven others in the 10-episode run.