By DON KAPLAN
July 24, 2007 -- Discovery Channel he-man Bear Grylls, the host of the survival-skills show "Man vs. Wild," is barely the man he seems to be on TV.
...In the last two seasons, he and producers have contrived other scenes to make it appear as if Grylls is more skilled than he really is, a consultant for the show told The Times of London.
...Discovery Channel officials declined to comment, but in the U.K., where the show airs with the title "Born Survivor," stunned network officials at Channel 4 said they are conducting an internal investigation.
"Discovery Communications has learned that isolated elements of the 'Man vs. Wild' show in some episodes were not natural to the environment, and that for health and safety concerns the crew and host received some survival assistance while in the field," a spokeswoman for the network said.
...According to Weinert, while filming in California's Sierra Nevada mountains - an episode in which Grylls, 33, is seen biting off the head of a snake for breakfast - Grylls actually spent some nights with the show's crew in a lodge outfitted with television, stone fireplaces, hot tubs and Internet access.
...In another instance, where Grylls was supposed to be surviving on a desert island, he was actually in Hawaii and spent nights at a motel, Weinert said.
The same episode had Grylls building a Polynesian-style raft using only materials around him, including bamboo, hibiscus twine and palm leaves for a sail. Weinert said he actually led a team of builders to construct the raft.
..."I'm in luck," he told viewers, apparently coming across four wild horses grazing in a meadow. "A chance to use an old Native American mode of transport comes my way. This is one of the few places in the whole of the U.S. where horses still roam wild."
In fact, Weinert said, the horses were not wild but were brought in by trailer.
[I now no longer believe everything I see on tv!]
(Thanks to Kate for alerting me)