Starvation has always been a staple of survival reality shows.
Adventurers struggle to feed themselves in the wilderness, often subsisting on whatever they can scavenge from the environment. (Remember back in 2000, when the starving Survivor contestants resorted to eating rats? It was water cooler talk for days. Those were simpler times.)
Despite the reality TV craze, It’s hard to remember anyone who has starved as much as the participants on The Wheel, the Discovery Channel’s newest survival show.
Unlike other shows that drop participants off in one location, the adventurers on The Wheel are periodically plucked from one harsh environment and dropped into an entirely new wilderness. They may go from a sweltering rainforest to a frozen tundra. Each domain is harrowing and unforgiving, and food is in short supply.
The result: Once participants finally figure out how to find food in their location, they’re uprooted and have to start all over again.
There are other sufferings, as well. We cringed when fitness model Lindsay Phenix chopped off her hair in the blazing heat because we knew that she would soon end up on a frozen mountaintop.
In an exclusive sneak peek at Friday’s episode, participant Shon Joyner tries unsuccessfully to find food. There are fish languishing at the bottom of a but Joyner, a 33-year-old former marine, is unable to catch them.
“I’m losing weight,” Joyner shares. “I haven’t gone to the restroom since stage 1.” (Note: Stage 1 was more than 2 weeks ago.)
Joyner lifts up his shirt and shows off his impressive washboard abs. “I’m so proud of this,” he says. “I may be dying, but at least I’ll look good while doing it.”
But leave it to the show’s narrator to rain on Joyner’s parade. “Shon’s six-pack won’t look good for long,” he helpfully points out, further explaining that after just three days of starvation, “muscle mass has to be consumed to keep the brain functioning.”
Will Joyner (and the other four participants) find any food? The Wheel continues Friday at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery.