“American Grit,” the new fitness reality show from Fox that airs today, is one in the long line of such reality shows that have flooded television screens across the world. Anyway, when one is being tested to their limits of physical endurance and strength, having WWE star John Cena around as host and executive producer is necessarily not a bad thing. Despite Cena’s presence however, “American Grit” has been called derivative.
Brian Lowry of Variety posted a review of “American Grit,” praising the “energy and earnestness” that John Cena brought to the new show but called the reality show “too familiar and derivative – down to the pounding and relentless music.” He drew comparisons with various similar programs on Discovery channel and Fox’s own “Boot Camp” which Lowry said the new show resembled the most.
Fox has already ordered 10 episodes of the competition series. According to Fox.com, “Sixteen of the country’s toughest men and women will be split into four teams as they work together to face a variety of military-grade and survival-themed challenges. John Cena and an elite group of mentors from the nation’s most exclusive military units will push these civilians beyond their limits. The mentors, known as ‘The Cadre,’ include Rorke Denver, Noah Galloway, Tawanda ‘Tee’ Hanible and Nick ‘The Reaper’ Irving. These real-life heroes, who represent diverse backgrounds and top branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, will impart their first-hand knowledge and experience to help the competitors work together as teams to surmount near-impossible mental and physical challenges.”
The competitions are with no doubt hard or at least they are made to look difficult on television for the viewers. The higher the difficulty, the higher it climbs the ratings. However, one has to wonder, haven’t people seen enough of these shows already? It does not seem that anything new or fresh will be on display. Also, with a title like “American Grit,” one has to wonder whether this show will be much popular to non-US audiences. Then there are petty quarrels, bitching and fights between competitors to look out for, which may be exhausting for viewers after a certain time.
Jon Kroll, executive producer and showrunner of “American Grit,” certainly thinks the show is worth the time and money. He told Reality Blurred that “there are a lot of people who care, but we all know that there are some people who don’t know how to elevate a show. I think experience really brings you that. We were constantly, throughout the show, looking for what we could do to elevate it because we thought we had something kind of special.”
Kroll praised John Cena’s presence in the show. “I’ve never worked with talent that’s been as prepared and as in-control of their own voice as he is.” Kroll added, “John doesn’t want to just show up at the house and hang out with them, he wants his appearances to have purpose,” Kroll said. “He goes there when he’s going to reward the winning team, or he has his one-on-ones with them, but he doesn’t just show up.”