President Obama and Bear Grylls... Bet no one expected to see those names appear in the same sentence on a Monday morning -- or any day thereafter. But they have now: The president will appear in a "special edition" of "Running Wild with Bear Grylls," his celebrity-based edition, which airs on NBC. [Update: PETA has criticized the president's appearance here; see below].
The network -- which just announced -- offered further elaboration on this oddest of pairings:
"President Obama will meet with Grylls while visiting Alaska to observe the effects of climate change on the area. The two will then come together in the Alaskan Wilderness. President Obama will become the first U.S. president to receive a crash course in survival techniques from Bear Grylls. The visit will be taped and aired on NBC later this year."
No further details (airdate, TBA), but from this brief description, it's unclear whether Obama will actually rappel/hike/scale/or ford (the lot of other celebrities who have come on the show). The president is in Alaska today, and per a report in the New York Times, the Obama cameo will be taped Tuesday from Exit Glacier, in Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaskan glaciers have receded in recent decades, in some places dramatically).
President Obama has appeared on other reality series -- notably "MythBusters" in 2010 -- but doesn't make a habit of it. With this unusual appearance, he's doing a program that at least one other president would have (probably) declared a "bully" good time had he been alive when TV actually existed: Teddy Roosevelt.
Meanwhile, PETA took a hard shot at this unusual presidential announcement late Monday:
The abreviated statement:
"Bear Grylls' shows are known as the bottom of the barrel in demeaning sexist, speciesist, and who knows what other "-ist" TV reality shows...There are far better ways to get the message about global climate change out than by appearing on this disgusting, degenerate show."