Political gridlock has spilled over into reality television, as Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona (a Republican) and Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico (a Democrat) announced on Thursday that they are the stars of a new Discovery reality show in which they will be marooned on a remote island for a week.
“Rival Survival” will be shown on Oct. 29.
“Polar opposites and often at odds in the Senate, these two men must come together to take on the island of Eru, Marshall Islands, an utterly unforgiving deserted destination where the reefs alone are fraught with dangers that include venomous stonefish, lionfish and scorpion fish,” Discovery said in their announcement.
The senators said in a statement, “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.”
Flake and Heinrich will be given a modest choice of items to live with, and they can select only three. The idea is that they must work together to survive, whether that means fishing for food, building shelter or finding enough water.
And this being Discovery, which invented Shark Week, Eru happens to be surrounded by the largest sanctuary of the predators in the world.
Neither senator is up for reelection in this year’s midterms.
A Discovery spokeswoman said that the senators approached the channel with the idea. It was shot during the summer recess in August and, for now, will be just one episode.
The senators’ press reps said that the show was done in their personal capacities outside their offices. The Discovery spokeswoman said that the show was done within Senate ethics guidelines, and that they were not paid for their work. But they will get a stipend that will go to each of their charities.