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Barack Obama to brave Alaskan wilds with Bear Grylls

By Kelly Lawler | Gannett News Service

President Obama is about to get a little wild.

Obama will appear on a special episode of the NBC outdoor adventure show “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” the network announced Monday. The president and the host will be trekking through the Alaskan wilderness. The episode, to be taped, will air on NBC later this year. It will highlight the effects of climate change in that area.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

“I will not deny your suspicion that there may have been some suggestions put forward by the Bear Grylls team that were not approved by the Secret Service,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One on Monday.

Now in its second season, “Running Wild” follows wilderness and survival expert Grylls as he takes celebrities — who have included Kate Winslet, Kate Hudson, Zac Efron and Channing Tatum — on journeys through the wilderness and teaches them survival skills. Grylls is a survival expert and former member of the British Special Forces, who formerly hosted the Discovery Channel show “Man vs. Wild.” The show is known for getting celebrities to do crazy stunts in wild locations, and recently featured Kate Hudson eating ants and Michelle Rodriguez eating a mouse soaked in her own urine.

“The fun bit is that it’s not planned too much. We do wing it. It’s a coil of rope and two [people] on a journey,” Grylls told USA TODAY of the show last month. “People are surprised by how rough it is. I brief stars beforehand. I think they believe there will be an ambulance on standby. They can’t believe it’s me, them, two cameras, two sound, a mountain guide for the crew. And a story producer to make sure it makes sense. That’s it. Five or six of us on the ground total. It has to be lean and light.”What you see on the show is “100 percent [real],” Grylls says. “If you try and not do it in a real way when you have stars there, it would be disappointing for them. They want that authentic journey. We’re just doing a couple of days of hard work, It’s all manageable.”This is not the first time the president has made an appearance on an entertainment program. He guest starred memorably on the Funny Or Die web series “Between Two Ferns,” and was recently featured on the popular podcast “WTF with Marc Maron.”