TV Survivalists – How Good Are They Really?


Yesterday, as I was cruising the survival and prepping hashtags, I noticed that Les Stroud is promoting a new reality TV show that he calls ‘SOS- Island’. I looked at the promo-reel for this proposed show with a bit of dismay and disappointment!

Five months ago (April, 2013), I sent a direct communication (proposal) to both Bear Grylls and Les Stroud inviting them to participate in a TV show concept of my own origination called ‘Island Survival Face-Off’.

Links to that proposal, were posted to their Twitter accounts, on their Twitter hastags, and re-tweeted and republished all over the Internet and on blogs for several weeks, so it’s certain that Bear Grylls, Les Stroud and their agents saw the proposal.

There was also a press release way back in March suggesting my idea for the same island-survival TV show concept, ‘Survival Island Face-Off’: 

Looking at the ‘SOS-Island’ TV concept, it looks to me like, Les Stroud took my idea and made a few tweaks to make it his own and my proposal to him was the catalyst for his very similar project? Any way you scramble the eggs, it’s one heck of a coincidence, considering I was promoting the concept to him directly and indirectly nearly half a year ago.

So I have to ask this question of Les Stroud; why not simply work with the originator of an idea? Doesn’t that seem fair and reasonable? We already live in a world where morals and the unspoken rules of ‘fair-play’ are eroding fast, and from my chair, TV role models should be holding the line on those virtues since many of our children are looking-up to many of them.

So maybe there’s a logical reason that guys like Bear Grylls and Les Stroud don’t want me on a survival contest show competing against them? Is it possible that they want to control and set all of the terms and conditions of the contest, thereby possibly tilting the playing field in their favor; creating a show where they always come out looking-good and on-top? Could this be why they won’t allow anyone else to set the conditions for the survival contest? These are legitimate questions that people besides me may be asking.

Real heroes win and lose in life, and continue on, so there’s nothing wrong with not being the top-dog all the time.

Another well-known survivalist [Dan Shrigley], who is listed in an online ‘top-ten’ survivalist pole said; being that Capt. Bill holds the title of the ‘Best Prepper’ from the National Geographic show Doomsday Preppers, it would make sense to have a survival contest between him and someone like Bear Grylls or Les Stroud. Dan Shrigley went on to say that; from a business and promotional standpoint it made sense; the combination of Capt. Simpson’s appearance on Doomsday Preppers and earning the title ‘Best Prepper’ has given him enough notoriety and fan base to be a drawing card for the show, which checks that box on the business-side of the equation.

So what is it that would keep someone like Les Stroud or Bear Grylls from competing with me in a survival face-off?

Even though I am in decent shape, I am still giving up about 20-30 years age advantage, so that certainly can’t be it. Are they worried that my actual long-term off-grid survival experience and experience as an inventor would give me an edge that might allow me to show them up? If this did happen, wouldn’t it create a fresh outcome, where the audience would benefit by seeing some alternative survival methods first hand? This is a question that readers and fans may be asking too.

If I were in their shoes (Grylls/Stroud), I could think of nothing better for attracting a huge TV viewership than possibly showing-up National Geographic’s ‘Best Prepper’ in a TV survival competition. Such a TV show competition would draw both the traditional survival-show audiences as well as the massive National Geographic Doomsday Preppers audience, which is arguably larger than the TV audience for Bear Grylls or Les Stroud. This combined audience would be unprecedented in size! This alone is a great business reason for doing such a show, and it should make sponsors like Samsung think again! In fact, given my age, I could envision AMAC (or AARP) being another show sponsor. As you see, I am not ashamed of my age; I see it as my advantage as a function of a life spent gathering experience. Real survival is about months and years not 48 minutes! Therefore, in real survival, a person’s best asset is a well developed ‘mind’ that allows invention and adaptation that transcends the conditions.

As of this writing, I have not received any response from Bear Grylls or Les Stroud or from any of their people with regard to my proposal.

Even though I am busy with Rob Underhill developing two other shows; ‘Missionary Wars’ and ‘Bunker Diaries’, as well as writing, I am still hoping to hear from Mr. Stroud (or even Bear Grylls) about participating in a survival competition that pits a younger TV survivalist (Grylls or Stroud) against a much older Survivalist/Prepper (me).

I hold no hard feelings whatsoever towards Les Stroud (or Bear Grylls); in fact, I respect their skills and look forward to applying my survival skills in a legitimate competition, as outlined in my original proposal:

All of that said, I think there are a lot of people at home who would like to see if these TV Survivalists are as good as they make themselves look on TV, and if an older man with real-world experience can make-up for the age difference in such an island match-up.

Cheers! Capt. Bill

Capt. William E. Simpson – USMM

Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

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About William Simpson

Capt. William E. Simpson II is a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer with decades of boating and expedition sailing experience, having logged more than 150,000 miles at sea. Capt. Simpson has successfully survived long-term ‘off the grid’ at sea and at remote uninhabited desert islands with his family for years at a time. In early 2013, Capt. Simpson appeared on National Geographic's hit TV show DoomsDay Preppers (Season-2 'A Fortress At Sea') and received the highest score ever given for disaster preparedness and survival, earning the title of 'Best Prepper’. He holds a U.S.C.G. 500-ton captain’s license for commercial-inspected passenger vessels and he is also a commercial airplane and helicopter pilot.. In 1987 Capt. Simpson received a commendation from the U.S. Coast Guard Honolulu Sector for his assistance in the successful rescue of two sailors lost overboard at sea. In 2010, Capt. Simpson was again instrumental in the successful rescue operation of an American sailor lost over-board in the Sea of Cortez in hazardous seas. Capt. Simpson is also an accomplished writer covering disaster preparedness. His work has been featured and republished via numerous magazines and websites and he has been a featured guest on various disaster preparedness radio talk shows. All Rights Reserved - Copyright 2013 - William E. Simpson

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