This is real: Discovery Channel is stranding Republican and Democratic U.S. senators on a deserted island and filming what happens.
In an aisle-crossing new reality series titled Rival Survival, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) must put their political differences aside and work together for six days and six nights in an harsh isolated environment.
The senators released this joint statement about the surprising venture: “Both of us know just how frustrated people are with Washington right now. We can both attest that no one is more frustrated than those of us trying to get things done in this environment. We recognize how difficult it can be to cut through the partisanship. So we decided to do something completely out of the ordinary and frankly a little extreme to show the world and our colleagues that even if you have serious differences, if you want to survive you have to work together.”
We’re told the senators, weary of partisan politics, actually approached Discovery about the project rather than the other way around. Neither man is up for re-election.
Flake, deemed “a true conservative Republican” by the network’s release, served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six consecutive terms from 2001-2013 prior to his election to the U.S. Senate and “attacks government spending and is vocal on hot-button issues like immigration reform.” He was part of the “Gang of 8” who teamed up to try to change immigration policies. Sen. Heinrich, a member of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is a “conservationist and a strong progressive voice from New Mexico on issues that include education, health care and social security.”
They were dropped on the island of Eru, Marshall Islands. More from the release: “Using only these limited resources and their wits, the pair must work together as they attempt to spear fish, build shelter and find enough water to survive for one week.”
At least, unlike on other cable survival reality shows, they’re not naked (we assume). Rival Survival premieres Oct. 29 at 10 p.m.