Grin and Bear It, Grylls Fans

The next season of The Island With Bear Grylls won’t screen in HD.

That’s because the Survivor-style series is switching channels, from TVNZ 1, where the first three seasons aired, to Duke, where season four will screen 8.30 Wednesdays from June 7.

It only went to air last month in the UK, where The Guardian reports it “kicked off with a new twist: old against young. As usual, I’m sadly and guiltily hooked: this is my spring hate-watch, viewed only to shout at the plasma, with surprisingly cathartic results.”

Concurred Radio Times: “If you were to believe Bear Grylls at the start of the brand new series of The Island, you’d be mistaken for thinking this show would give a deeply psychological analysis of the differences between older and younger generations, and how they cope in testing circumstances.

‘“Will the energy of youth trump the wisdom of age?’ ponders Bear, as the concept for this fourth series sees a bunch of 18-30 year-olds abandoned on one island and a group of oldies dropped off on another.

“In reality, The Island has all the subtlety of a tidal wave. It’s just about getting a perverse kick out of seeing people break down as they can’t find water, fight over a morsel of crab and come under strain from heat, torrential rain and each other. And we can’t get enough.”

TVNZ presumably thinks the show, with its new emphasis on youth, makes a better strategic fit for the male-skewing Duke than it does for the broader-appealing TVNZ 1 — even if the series will lose much of its outdoor action appeal in SD.

Unlike other Duke series which wind up in HD off-peak on TVNZ 2, there are no plans for The Island With Bear Grylls to resurface in TVNZ 1.

The Island With Bear Grylls isn’t the only property Duke will pick from another broadcaster next month: it’s also going to air earlier episodes of Three’s American Dad on a twice-weekly double-bill with Futurama (7.30 Sundays and Tuesdays from June 4).

American Dad will screen from episode one of season one but newer, first-run eps will continue late-night on Three, as TVNZ doesn’t have the rights to more recent seasons.

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