UPDATED: EJ & Jeff gracious and likeable, but just not finding the connection with fans, yet? Read more and give us your thoughts here on TVRuckus!
Last night, the new hosts for Discovery Channel series “Dual Survival” made their debut, with Army combat veteran EJ Snyder (above, right), and wilderness survivalist Jeff Zausch. Discovery Channel was taking a chance, rolling the dice that fans would buy these fan-favorite cast members from “Naked and Afraid,” also a top-rated show on the network.
Jeff is a world-class hunter, experienced survivalist, and peak climber from the mountains of Idaho, while EJ–who carries the nickname “Skullcrusher”–is the show’s new resident military man, a decorated 25-year Army combat veteran and survival instructor. They bring the necessary “opposite” styles and personalities to be entertaining, but will fans accept them after losing two hosts they overwhelmingly seemed to love to watch?
After a long drought of any true fan-host connection on “Dual Survival,” former U.S. Army Green Beret Weapons Sergeant Grady Powell, who tended to adopt a strong-willed and impetuous approach in order to overcome any obstacle, and Josh “The Kiwi Bushman” James, an experienced outdoorsman from New Zealand’s South Island who took a more patient, balanced approach to survival than his partner, seemed to fit the bill. The two did not always agree, but they respected each other, could work together, and were fun to watch.
What about new hosts EJ and Jeff?
Well, we admit, we were not familiar with EJ and Jeff from “Naked and Afraid,” since we do not frequently cover the show here at TVRuckus (no particular aversion to the “naked” part, just don’t see any point of being naked in a survival show, other than shock value). So, we met them as well-seasoned partners last night on their “Dual Survival” debut. Our perspective?
We liked EJ and Jeff, but we still have a bad taste in our mouth from the sudden and unexplained exit of Grady and Josh, which decreased our enjoyment of the show.
It puts EJ and Jeff in a bad spot, we think, because they really are a likeable duo. They are, individually, interesting and fun to watch; as a duo, same thing. They could be the team that turns “Dual Survival” into a long-time success story, finally.
But, with the experience we’ve had watching “Dual Survival” along the way, we are reticent to trust that will happen; it seems there is always another shoe just waiting to drop with this series, and it is discouraging to get to know a team, whether it be Cody and Dave (still our favorites), Cody and Joe (who we liked a lot, despite all the rumors that followed their demise), Joe and Matt (we thought they worked well together, with Matt taking some of the edge off of Joe), Grady and Bill (no, wait, glad that one DIDN’T last; that season was a total wash-out, in our opinion; the only one we actually stopped watching, in fact; just could not do it) and, finally, Grady and Josh, the first team to rival our love for the show with its original hosts.
Last night, however, we really did like EJ and Jeff. But, why should we trust that, if we invest our time and trust in the pairing of EJ and Jeff, it will end any other way than having the rug yanked out from under us again after a season or two? That is the dilemma that all of this host-dropping and swapping has created for viewers who WANT to love the show again, but just don’t know if they should bother; at least, that is the dilemma it has created for us.
So, while we think EJ and Jeff have high potential to be great “Dual Survival” hosts, we think their challenge is, simply stated but not so simple to accomplish, gaining the trust of the audience–not necessarily a mess created by them, but one they will have to overcome, nevertheless.
What do readers think? Were EJ and Jeff good hosts last night? Did you know them from “Naked and Afraid,” or were they new to you, like they were to us? Did you like them? Hate them? Lukewarm about them? Where do you see “Dual Survival” going from here? And, will you be watching? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!
“Dual Survival” is produced for Discovery Channel by Original Media, where Glenda Hersh and Steven Weinstock are executive producers, and Brian Nashel is executive producer and showrunner. For Discovery Channel, Christo Doyle, Mitchell Rosenbaum and John Slaughter are executive producers with Lisbeth Lozano Coordinating Producer.
“Dual Survival” airs on Discovery Channel on Wednesday nights at 9/8c.
Image: Courtesy of Discovery Channel, Used with Permission