I wrote this in response to a post in a forum about how Man vs Wild is a hoax. I thought I'd post it here, since my rant of a reply became a lot longer than I anticipated.
The BBC canceled Man vs Wild in Europe. It's still going to play in the US.
The article about it being a hoax has been over played. It's not a hoax. True, the camera team assembled a life raft on the island before filming it to make sure it would actually float and be relatively safe (they floated out into an ocean with sharks, I would have done the same!).
The other thing that was overplayed is that he stayed in a hotel a couple of times while on one of the islands (they never said he stayed in the hotel instead of outside... he probably stayed in a hotel the first day they arrived before going out on the adventure). And even if he stayed in a hotel a few times, WHO CARES? Good for him. He could use a couple of comfortable trips. People love making up things and overplaying news when the details are not clear. Don't believe everything you read!
He states in the beginning of every show that "a camera crew will follow me". Obviously the camera crew has protective gear and tents. Where do you think they sleep when he sleeps in a tiny hole in the ground during a blizzard? Every time he starts a fire, he's using nothing but flint and his knife... even when its raining! I don't see him using matches or a lighter or showing us the fire without showing him lighting it!
The thing about Man vs Wild is that Bear Grylls can take risks that might be necessary in a survival situation, but that he would never do alone simply to get it on video. That's what makes Man vs Wild exciting.
On the other hand, Survivorman is unique in the way that he must carry all his camera equipment with him. Every single camera angle you see he had to setup beforehand. When you see an angle of him crossing a river, you know he had to cross it a second and third time just to get his camera back. It's also unique in the way that you know if something goes wrong, he really is alone (of course, if something went really wrong, you probably wouldn't be watching it on TV -- that's TV Reality).
If he doesn't reach his rendezvous point by the stated time, the crew has to come looking for him. Its very cool to know how alone he really is when you're watching him. But that's not exciting. He can't take great risks and show you cool things that you might need to do in a survival situation. He can't jump into a big pool of quicksand or risk hypothermia by crossing a frozen river, relying only on the pools of volcanic hot water he sees in the distance to keep him alive.
Entertainment is about risk and excitement, which is why Man vs Wild is more popular. Survivorman is more realistic, but who watches TV for realistic things? Anyone who believes a reality show, no matter what kind, is entirely unscripted really needs to get their head out of the dark area its in.
I personally like watching both, because the both have their good points. Man vs Wild is definitely more entertaining and if two new episodes of each were playing at the same time, I'd be watching Man vs Wild.
Bear Grylls is no wimp. If you read a little about him I'm sure you'll agree.
Here is the original BBC article I read about the hoax.