No matter what you think about reality TV, the man who made it an art form is Mark Burnett. From SURVIVOR to ECO-CHALLENGE, he knows exactly what kinds of survival shows are eye-catching and addictive. His latest venture is EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE: KINGDOM OF MOROCCO in which he takes 13 teams of 3 on a one month adventure through the vast terrain of Morocco. Based on the idea that people would love to be a part of an “Indiana Jones” type adventure, Mark created the show to test their mental acuity and physical prowess back-dropped against one of the most beautiful and romantic areas on the world – and nothing was more perfect than Morocco which is not only feature-film friendly, it encompasses a wide range of vistas to draw from — there is the Sahara, camels, Bedouins (The Blue People of the Desert), canyons, mountains with snowstorms, plains, rivers –everything, including the ancient city of Marrakesh.
In Mark’s mind, it offers the “real experience” — so romantic and fantastic. To populate this adventure series, he deliberately chose participants from all walks of life from across the United States: New York City firefighters, sisters from Kansas, a grand-dad and grand-daughter, a blind man, Latinos from the Bronx, and even an ex-NFL football player. He thought such a cross-representation would make a wonderful mix of the average Americans from across the country. He also explained that the team number was set at 3 specifically because it provides an interesting dynamic of chemistry. This challenge demands amazing fortitude. For if one person drops out, the entire team is out. So the pressure every day is intense. Because everyone wants to quit at some point; and if was just one person or two people, they may just have done just that. But, as he noted, when people are part of a team who relies on you, it is much harder to quit. Thus, three was the magic number.
When asked if contestants with physical backgrounds perform better on this kind of show, Mark insightfully noted, “All that matters is the camaraderie. There’s an ancient saying: ‘Choose your companions before you choose the road.’ That’s so true in life — marriage, work, jobs — the people around you that will either give you or suck your energy — and that’s the key factor.”
While the 13 teams may struggle to complete the ten different legs of the competition, which includes castles with candle lamps, hidden messages, and dancing cobras, each team has the opportunity to out-wit and out-smart the remaining teams and race towards the prize. It is an endurance test and a test of ingenuity. Nobody wins simply by getting there first, they have to complete the challenges as a team. The treasure is not winning it is the journey getting there.
As explained by one of the contestants AJ Gibson, “It was not the lure of money and fame that drew us to the show. It was about pushing ourselves — about being successful in making it through the challenges.” Thus, it was all about proving to each other and themselves that they could do it. His teammate Ryan Carrillo added, “I definitely grew from the experience and took something away from it that I will always cherish – but it was definitely challenging!” When asked if they would do it again, both said they would not even hesitate to participate in another EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE. It was a great experience and one they will remember for the rest of their lives.
In sum, as Mark happily noted, he has wanted to do this kind of show for a long time and he is thrilled that ABC understood his vision and gave him a chance to bring it to television. He promises the show has a very Disney-esque feel and he invites you to see this marvelous world on June 23rd when it premieres at 9PM on ABC.
Mark Burnett, the executive producer and mastermind behind the show, will be LIVE TWEETING, and offering commentary and behind-the-scenes anecdotes on his new Twitter account @MarkBurnettTV on Thursday, June 23 from 9-10pm ET and PT, during the premiere of EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE.
In addition, ABC.com will host a live “Chat Party” during the airing of EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE, where viewers can come to the site, take a look at Mark’s tweets and chat with other fans during the show. The “Chat Party” will go live at 9pm ET/6pm PT tomorrow and remain live until the conclusion of the west coast airing at 10pm PT.
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).