• Discovery Channel’s Nude Reality Series

    by  • June 19, 2013 • Cable Choice • 19 Comments

    For many years, the Discovery Channel was home to genuinely educational programming which was never tawdry or exploitative. But not anymore — as the network’s new program Naked and Afraid shows.

    The days when Discovery Channel offered documentaries about everything from housecats to flowers to steam locomotives are long gone. Today, the network is home to allegedly “educational” programs like Amish Mafia, Pot Cops, and Texas Car Wars.

    Nudity also seems to be an interest of the Discovery Exploitation Channel, with the program Naked Castaway already on the schedule. And now, the network is moving beyond merely tacky names into making nudity an integral part of a program.  The new program Naked and Afraid, which premiered Sunday, June 23 at 10:20 p.m. ET, strands a man and a woman who have never met on an island without food, water, or clothing, where the two are left to fend for themselves for three weeks without assistance.  

    While the premise of enduring exile on an island is hardly a new one – the program is essentially a rip-off of CBS’ Survivor, though with a cast of only two people – the nudity element is particularly gratuitous, not to mention humiliating. “It was extremely difficult, the whole being naked in front of a stranger,” states contestant Clint Jivoin. Nor is Discovery ignorant of the sleazy potential of the program: “Will the nude castaways have the brains and brawn to endure the harsh conditions? Or will the challenges prove to be overBARE-ing?” smirks the show’s website.

    The program also titillates viewers with the possibility of sex between the strangers: “These brazen and bold couples will get acquainted with each other and their new surroundings very quickly,” says the website. And while video clips show pixilation of breasts and genitals, the point remains: the entire premise of the show is two total strangers forced to be naked with each other for an extended period of time.

    Discovery may claim it is providing programming about survival in the wild; but a genuinely serious program would not need nude cast members to make for compelling viewing.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    19 Responses to Discovery Channel’s Nude Reality Series

    1. John
      November 2, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      See my email to the Chairman of the FCC. I now realize it doesn’t have the correct information to be an official complaint. I need the time and date of the airing. Does anyone know it? This is just unbelievable. What happened to us? I’m glad I found this organization. I hope we can make a difference.

      Tom Wheeler
      Chairman FCC

      Dear Mr. Wheeler,

      Some time ago I recall a spokesman from the FCC being asked during an interview why the decency standards for broadcasting had deteriorated so much. His answer was that no one complains. Therefor I am officially complaining about a specific incident. As a husband, a father, a voter and a tax payer who pays your salary I am asking why your organization has given the show called “Naked and Afraid” aired on the Discovery channel a rating of TV-14 and not TV-MA.

      My 11 year loves the Discovery channel which used to air educational family oriented shows that kids in particularly love to watch and learn from.

      During your interview you said that you have three grandchildren. At the age of 14 would you allow your grandchildren to watch a show where a married man is required to strip naked and spend 21 days with a naked young woman who is not his wife in the wilderness? Would you let your grandchildren watch as they slept together in the nude and “spooned” to keep warm? Spooning is when the man presses the front of his body including his penis against the woman’s back and bare buttocks. In this actual incident, after the second day, the man commented that he felt there was just something wrong with what he was doing and refused to do it anymore. This infuriated the female who was not married and wanted him to keep her warm.

      Does your organization and the federal government feel that our 14 year olds are now ready to watch soft porn on the Discovery channel? I believe this show now airs at 4:00 PM just before family dinnertime?

      I would very much like a reply to my questions and I believe I am entitled to answers. I am 57 years old and I cannot remember an assault on marriage, the family, children and common decency worse than this.

    2. Donna Warnick
      March 18, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      Appalled by the needless killing of animal on discovery channel. I’m now boycotting the channel and anything it’s linked to including products who endorse the network.

    3. AT
      December 10, 2013 at 6:30 am

      Discovery channel is now permanently blocked on our TV. TV service will be cancelled and we will be moving to on demand streaming or ClearPlay. This was the last straw for us. Parents, don’t be gutless cowards addicted to your TV. Do the right thing.

      • John
        November 2, 2014 at 8:55 pm

        I applaud you AT we need about 5 million more of you. I stopped that smut from coming into my house years ago because I have kids. I use Netflix. I just found out about Naked and Afraid. Family show??? My god they have lost their minds.

    4. amycsewell@yahoo.com
      July 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      I just sent a complaint to Discovery Channel. They are airing commercials for this show during programs rated for children 9+!! I had to cover my small children’s eyes in shock and dismay when they ran a commercial with naked people during their favorite Animal Planet show. Absolutely shocking!! How stupid can these people be. I thought “Top Hooker” was bad, but this is oh so much worse and the final straw for our family. I used to think Animal Planet was safe for my kids to watch. Now they will NOT watch any discovery shows. Please write letters! Please complain!! Most parents assume the discovery channel shows are safe for children. It is horrifying and repulsive to me that it is no longer safe for children to watch this network.

    5. George Cordova
      July 11, 2013 at 3:06 am

      In my opinion, the quality of the shows on cable TV will only get worse. In the early days, there were a few good channels (even commercial-free) with quality content. Now we have a ridiculous number of channels that compete for ratings and their shows are mostly based on the cheapest production possible (reality and talk shows). We also have to pay for watching commercials and shopping networks. I don’t believe consumers wanted all these bad channels. A few corporations dictate what we watch on TV or hear on the radio. The same is starting to happen online, for example HULU plus, where you pay a fee and you still have to watch ads. So far, I’m happy with Netflix.
      I almost forgot to say that the Discovery Channel has become another reality show clone not worth watching (or paying for).

    6. W@illiam Hughes
      July 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      I’ve been Cable-Free for 6 1/2 years now. I do not miss anything at all. All four walls in the TV Room are chock full of DVDs of Movies, TV Shows, Serials and Documentaries, enough to last at least 25 years (at the rate of four hours each evening). All were purchased using the money I USED to pay my Cable Provider each month. From what I’ve seen or heard about what’s being shown on Broadcast or Cable TV I’m glad I pulled out.

    7. Lisa
      June 29, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Plain & simple. We Will Not watch this. What’s the point?

    8. Sherry Stoffel
      June 28, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Dumb move Discovery Channel! Sometimes I wonder if networks are run by adolescent boys (no offense boys).

      • John
        November 2, 2014 at 9:50 pm


        I understand you are kidding but the producer of the show is a female Denise Contis. This organization wants to prevent sexualizing women. What about men. My 21 year old tells me that all girls want is sex. In the first episode it was the man who said this isn’t right when the women wanted him to spoon with her to keep warm. I am a married man and I don’t know what the hell he was doing there in the first place. I heard someone suggest a new title. Naked and Stupid. It’s not the show that bothers me it’s the fact that they are calling it a family show. It is a war on the family.

    9. Mr Lou J Apa
      June 28, 2013 at 10:09 am

      This “concept” is just silly..and offensive to the eyes! Dumb show…take it off the air so our kids don’t get the wrong ideas!…lja/JMJ

    10. Marie Barney
      June 28, 2013 at 9:52 am

      I have been so disappointed and sometimes downright disgusted with the current programing of your channel. It used to be a very informative channel to watch – seldom with violence and never with nudity. Now you have taken a step way too far and I will not be checking the channel for ANY programing now.

    11. Mary
      June 28, 2013 at 9:22 am

      I have been of the opinion for a very long time that the Discovery Channel was one of which I could depend on for good, clean and highly moral programing. This new “reality” show is demoralizing and disgraceful. This will be the end of my admiration for this channel.

    12. Dorothy Arndt
      June 28, 2013 at 7:54 am

      Since when did the Discovery channel become a pornography channel. You just lost a faithful viewer by choosing to show gratuitous sex.

    13. June 28, 2013 at 7:16 am

      The Discovery Network has evolved from a group of learning channels “delivering quality content designed to inform, entertain and inspire the world” to a purveyor of vulgarity, obscenity and filth. The comment in quotation marks is from their own corporate site. They have even managed to smear the Animal Planet channel to include sickening abuse of animals. The Learning Channel now includes child exploitation stories like Toddlers and Tiaras and Dance Moms.
      This newest show, Naked and Afraid, is an example of the depths to which the Discovery Channel will go.

    14. Bruce Carter
      June 28, 2013 at 6:53 am

      Occasionally – my faith in mankind is restored: A clean, family sitcom beats a bunch of exhibitionists!!

      Sam and Cat premiere – 4.2 million


      Naked and Afraid premiere – 4.16 million


      And – this is with the best lead-in Discovery could possibly have, Nik Wallenda’s stunning success walking over the Grand Canyon, which was viewed by close to 13 million! So where did all those massive numbers go? They tuned out, not interested in Naked and Afraid – probably to watch Ice Road Truckers. At least Lisa Kelly has the class to keep her clothes ON.

      I cannot express how disgusted I am at the new crop of naked programs on Discovery. They pixellate out the private parts, but – I don’t want to see that. I don’t call that “discovering” anything, or remotely scientific. Clothes are meant to protect people. Keep ‘em on. And – with more people watching the premiere of Sam and Cat than watching Naked and Afraid – there are a lot of folks who feel the same as I do. I hope the ratings numbers wake some people up at Discovery. No more naked bodies, please! I got tired of that when
      I was 10 years old watching National Geographic specials on native tribes.

      • N
        November 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm

        Indeed. I agree wholeheartedly. Especially as the nudity exhibited by native tribes means something completely different to them than it does to us. It’s rather akin to modern day nudists claiming that they are ‘freeing’ themselves…when in reality they were raised in a culture that mostly tries to shun full nudity and therefore will never be able to look at it like the very people they emulate.
        Discovery Channel sucks now…

    15. Tricia
      June 28, 2013 at 6:24 am

      My family will not be watching this show. This is television at its worst and not worthy of viewing by anyone. There are many good shows on Discovery, please do not stoop the the low level that Hollywood tries to push in order to improve ratings.

    16. ML
      June 28, 2013 at 3:47 am

      What bothers me most about this and other inappropriate shows and movies we choose not to watch is the fact that we cannot filter the commercials without completely turning off the television. I don’t want my son to see this and become curious because of the commercial. I hope as we move foward and are able to purchase only the channels we want to see, eliminates some of this, but I’m not sure that it will; in fact Im afraid the TV moguls will use commercials to still entice the young and older ones of our country. Thank you for all you.

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