No, Really: Discovery Series Strands Rival Senators on a Desert Island

Discovery Channel has announced that on Oct. 29 — not long before Election Day! — it will premiere Rival Survival, an unscripted series in which “two real world political adversaries,” Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.), are marooned on a remote island for a week.

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“Disconnected from the world on an uninhabited island surrounded by shark infested waters that mirror the seemingly treacherous terrain of the U.S. Congress,” the cabler’s press release reads, Flake and Heinrich — described as “polar opposites… often at odds in the Senate” — “must put their political differences aside and work together for six days and six nights to find common ground through compromise if they want to survive…. an utterly unforgiving deserted destination where the reefs alone are fraught with dangers that include venomous stonefish, lionfish and scorpion fish.”

Per Discovery, Sen. Flake is “a self-described reformer who attacks government spending and is vocal on hot-button issues like immigration reform. Last year, [he] and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) were part of the “Gang of 8″ who teamed up to try to change immigration policies in the U.S.”

Heinrich, meanwhile, is “a member of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee… a self-described conservationist and a strong progressive voice from New Mexico on issues that include education, health care and social security.”

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I usually don’t bother writing about such “reality” programs, but this seemed ripe for discussion and/or amusement. (I’m also procrastinating on a larger project.) Your thoughts? Any tax payers from Arizona or New Mexico want to chime in?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. TaMara says:

    Flake was on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me a while back and he’s a ringer here. He has spent many days “stranded” in remote areas to challenge himself.

  2. Susan Casler says:

    Oh, man…I was hoping for TEAMS of senators! Oh well. xD

  3. WeNeedRealReform says:

    Couldn’t we just take both the house and the senate and drop them directly into the shark infested waters with some chum? We could leave el Presidente on the island with some books and force him to edjumakate himself and the shark survivors on how to survive and escape. Maybe then we’d have some real reforms to immigration (trying to get into a 3rd world country with no papers- real life exp to know how illegals feel) and education.

  4. Ally Oop says:

    This is one reality show I might actually enjoy watching.

  5. Moment says:

    I doubt they will be marooned on the island, there will be a support team with them at all times incase of emergencies.

  6. Anne says:

    I assume they picked “polar opposites” for the shock value. I mean, would politics really be a problem in a situation like this? As long as they don’t start talking abortion or gun rights (and why would they in this situation) I would like to think they’d get along just fine. I assume the survival aspect would be more important than political views, but i’m sure it will turn out to be some sort of “look at how we learned about each other and how we managed to put differences aside” kind of B.S. As if ordinary people don’t manage to do that every day.

    • Emily says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m sure there are plenty of people in Congress that have polar opposite political beliefs but outside the government and in the real world they get along just fine. Sure at first it’ll be rough but for anyone in that position it wouldn’t be easy to get along right away. At the end they’re gonna be commended for working together like normal human beings but go right back to fighting each other in Congress

  7. Jonathan says:

    I wouldn’t vote for anyone stupid enough to go on this show.

  8. Simon Jester says:

    If we can put TWO of them on a desert island, can’t we put them ALL there???

  9. herman1959 says:

    PLEASE tell me this is a joke.

  10. Maggie says:

    These Senators have more important things to do than reality TV. If they want to be reality stars, they should resign the Senate and let people who actually want to work on the country’s problems become Senators.

    • Josh says:

      Heinrich is my Senator and I follow him pretty closely. A six-day reality show hasn’t gotten in the way of him doing a lot of other things. He’s very active in intelligence committee issues, has been quick to negotiate to keep NM from feeling the pinch from post office and military cutbacks and pushing proposals for clean energy expansion.

  11. CK says:

    Number 1 rule of not doing your job: Don’t avoid your work in such a public and frankly, attention grabbing manner.

  12. Margaret says:

    I’ve known Martin since I was 12, before he ventured into politics, he ran a wilderness camp in New Mexico, this is right up his alley.