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Emmy 2015 Unstructured Reality: 'Naked and Afraid' producers fearless in the field

EJ and Kellie trying to make a fire on the Discovery channel's ``Naked and Afraid.
EJ and Kellie trying to make a fire on the Discovery channel's ``Naked and Afraid."
Steve Rankin

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The Discovery channel's bold launch of the unique survival show, "Naked and Afraid," has paid off as a ratings success, a trend-setter, and an Emmy nomination this year for Outstanding Unstructured Reality program.

In the one-hour, primetime, cable show, complete strangers - one woman and one man - are challenged to survive the world's most extreme environments, all in the buff. As is the case with other survivalist shows, producers find remote locations with barely enough water, scant food sources, and tough weather conditions - except instead of participants fighting to eliminate each other, they try to help each other survive for 21 days.

Viewers learn about survival techniques, gender dynamics, and personal endurance. The crew themselves endure swampland, wild jungles, and desert scarcity that have led to a near-fatal snake bite and other dangerous encounters.

AirTalk is taking a deeper look at this year's Emmy category of Unstructured Reality, and we have two show-runners of "Naked and Afraid," Stephen Rankin and Mathilde Bittner, in studio to divulge more about the casting process, the blurring process, and the limits of human endurance in the wild. Which locations presented the greatest obstacles? What have they learned about human nature? Why didn’t the producers dangerous encounters spur them to “tap out?”


Stephen Rankin, Emmy-nominated Executive Producer of Discovery’s “Naked and Afraid”

Mathilde Bittner, Emmy-nominated Co-Executive Producer of Discovery’s “Naked and Afraid”