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Where Is 'Race To Survive: Alaska' Filmed?
In what parts of the 49th state is the upcoming survival competition series "Race to Survive: Alaska" filmed?
From "America Ninja Warrior" to "Survivor," competition reality shows are where audiences go to watch the bravest and most physically conditioned competitors challenge one another to be the very best. But so many shows in this genre take place in relatively contained spaces, with standing sets or locales. What makes USA Network's upcoming competition series "Race to Survive: Alaska" so unique and extraordinary is that it takes place in the wilds of Alaska with no central set. It's just eight teams of two dropped amongst the state's notoriously beautiful but ruthless landscapes, weather, and native species.
"Race to Survive: Alaska" premieres on Monday, April 3 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network and will chart the adventures of its contestants over the span of 40 days as they cross huge swaths of the Alaskan wilderness. Considering the 49th state is comprised of 663,268 square miles, finding just the right wide open spaces to host the series meant months of on-site research, location scouting, and collaboration with the state.
In an exclusive interview with "Race to Survive: Alaska" co-executive producer Alan Bishop, he tells USA Insider that the ultimate answer of where they ended up shooting the show came down to making sure every single episode had a different look, tone, and feel.
"We scouted so many different locations," he explains. "We had 15 different locations on the board when we started the show."
Taking into account weather, logistics for the production of the series, and the safety considerations for the cast and crew, Bishop says they ended up selecting areas for the teams to navigate that span from Ketchikan to Cordova, up through the Aleutian Alaskan islands.
"There was no off button for the cast in this series," Bishop emphasizes. "They had some downtime when they were waiting for production to move, but they were still in the elements. They were still surviving. We wanted the cast in the game from the moment they started until the moment one of them ended up winning the competition."
That meant the producers, production crew, and competition teams had to roll with the unique and unpredictable environmental challenges that crept up almost every day.
"A lot of times, we would have weather come in and the area we were going be in, we weren't able to use," Bishop explains. "Like when our [equipment] airplane is flying, and you only have so much fuel that you can put into that airplane and the area you're supposed to land on is completely inaccessible for seven days, then you have to switch runways. And you have to say, 'OK, where can we do what we wanted to do, knowing that we can access this?'"
As a veteran of many competition reality series, from "Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge" to "Survivor," Bishop says "Race to Survive: Alaska" really achieves the pure expression of man vs. the wild environment like no other series.