So it's 3AM and freezing, you're huddled inside a makeshift shelter next to a waning fire, and the wind isn't the only thing howling? Sounds like just another night on Season 6 of the History channel hit Alone, which embeds 10 male and female contestants in Canada's unforgiving Arctic region to see who can last the longest and pocket $500,000.
A survival series unlike any other, Alone gives each player a 5-to-10-square-mile area to live in and enough hunting and fishing resources to take down angry-but-edible bears, deer and elk. Participants also receive 65 pounds of filming equipment to record their journey, entirely on their own. "We literally put people in the wilderness, give them cameras and say goodbye," says exec producer Ryan Pender.
In other words, if the lynx doesn't get you, the loneliness just might. "You get this weird inside look at the person 100 percent alone, yet millions are watching this experience [afterward]," Pender says. "As a viewer, you put yourself in their shoes. You always find someone you're amazed by."
It's the show's first time in the Arctic, where things get particularly harrowing and exhausting due to the wintry mix of conditions. "I don't wanna die out here, but it's a very real possibility. Accidents happen," says one participant, and he's not kidding. After triumphantly killing then roasting and eating a rodent, another player spends the next 24 hours redefining the phrase "gut-wrenching."
Make one wrong move along the rocks or with your knife, as two others do, and you may consider "tapping out" (that is, dialing your emergency phone and giving up). The waiver each player signs, Pender says, is "extensive, because it has to be." It's just you and your 10 chosen items (from a preapproved list of 40) in a marathon versus Mother Nature.
Is there any chance this season's victor will top Season 3's Zachary Fowler, who lasted 87 days alone in the Andes? Seems unlikely in a place that can hit minus 40 degrees at night. "A lot of things happen this season — and probably faster," says Pender. "The Arctic won't disappoint."
Alone, Season 6 Premiere, Thursday, June 6, 10/9c, History