When I first heard that there was a new TV show called Kicking & Screaming premiering on Thursday, March 9 at 9 p.m. ET on FOX, I thought to myself, they made a small-screen adaptation of that terrible Will Ferrell movie? Well, no, they haven't — not yet, at least. No, this Kicking & Screaming is a reality competition where 10 expert survivalists are paired with 10 people who really shouldn't be in the great outdoors to see which duo can not only survive but thrive in the wilderness in order to take home a cash prize of $500,000. Now that sounds much more interesting to me. So who's up to the challenge and will be a part of the Kicking & Screaming cast?
The survivalists are no joke. This is a group that features former members of the military, martial artists, and people who make a living out of teaching others how to survive in the wild. The novices, on the other hand, well, they're probably going to make you let out a few — OK, many — giggles throughout the season. The people in this crew, made up of a fashion blogger, etiquette expert, and a NBA cheerleader, just to name a few, have never camped outside in their backyards, so let's just say that they're going to find Kicking & Screaming to be a bit of a difficult experience.
When you put completely opposite people together, you know that drama and hilarity are basically guaranteed. But could I be judging the novices too harshly, and do the survival experts have more hardships ahead of them than I may realize? Let's get to know the Kicking & Screaming cast on a deeper level, shall we?
Well here's a familiar face. No, actress Hannah Simone is not going to be getting down and dirty like the Kicking & Screaming contestants; she's hosting this reality competition. Simone is best known for playing Jess' (Zooey Deschanel) BFF and Schmidt's (Max Greenfield) wife Cece on the FOX comedy New Girl. On Kicking & Screaming, Simone will be there doing what reality competition hosts do, you know, introducing challenges, checking in with the contestants, and all that jazz. Simone is apparently a big reality TV fan. "The reason I wanted to host Kicking & Screaming is because I did not want to miss a single second of this show," Simone says in this preview clip of the series. "I just wanted to be here, on set, and to watch everything go down." Simone certainly has the best seat in the house on Kicking & Screaming.
If Brady Cervantes looks tough, it's because he is. Brady is a former U.S. Marine Scout Sniper, according to FOX. That means, "people are terrified of him," his novice partner, Claire Schreiner, says in this preview clip of the new series. Brady is also the CEO of an outdoor training and gear company called Level West Integral, according to his LinkedIn profile. How very apropos.
Claire Schreiner will be looking to Brady to help her survive in the jungle and ultimately win the game of Kicking & Screaming. She introduces herself as a fashion blogger from Hollywood, California in this video, which is true, but you might know her as Miss Wyoming USA 2010. She's also married to stand-up comedian and TV personality Michael Yo. The couple just welcomed their first child into the world, son Oliver Yo Simmons, on March 5, Yo announced on Instagram.
Ben Domian is an Air Force Reserve SERE Specialist, he says in a preview clip of the show. That acronym stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape, all things that should come in handy on Kicking & Screaming. But don't be too intimidated by this Oviedo, Florida native. He actually describes himself as a "very regular kind of person" in this interview with Florida Today. In fact, when he's not working as a SERE Specialist, Ben attends Seminole State College and the University of Central Florida. He also has hopes of attending med school one day.
Ben will be paired with novice Juliana Herz, a model who aspires "to prove that models are more than just a pretty face," as she says in one behind-the-scenes clip of Kicking & Screaming. Originally from Costa Rica, Juliana has worked with the likes of Bebe, Old Navy, and Bloomingdales. She also grabbed headlines last year when it was rumored that she was dating Joe Jonas.
John McPhee is a former U.S. Army Sergeant Major, according to FOX. He also says that he helped capture Saddam Hussein in one Kicking & Screaming sneak peek. These days, John is the founder of SOB Tactical, which offers firearm gear and training.
John will be paired with NBA cheerleader Nakeisha Turk on Kicking & Screaming. Nakeisha lives in Atlanta now, cheering for the Atlanta Hawks, according to her LinkedIn profile, but she originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee. She's gotten some recognition for her beauty in publications like JET magazine. And fun fact: She has a twin sister.
As a fourth-degree black belt, Hakim Isler describes himself as a ninja in one clip previewing Kicking & Screaming. He owns a gym and martial arts facility in Fayetteville, North Carolina called Elevo Dynamics, which has some awesome-looking photos of Hakim and the rest of the staff on its website. Kicking & Screaming won't be the first time that Hakim has put his martial arts and survival skills to the test on TV. He previously appeared on Discovery's Naked and Afraid. So surviving in the wild with clothes on this time should be a piece of cake for Hakim.
Of course, Hakim's success in the game also depends a great deal on how his novice partner, Angelica Bridges, fares. But Angelica is no stranger to being outside. She starred as Lieutenant Taylor Walsh on Baywatch, so we already know that she can run on the beach and look good doing it. Angelica has kept busy starring in projects like The Bold and the Beautiful, gracing the cover of magazines, and filming commercials since her Baywatch days. Angelica also seems to have quite the culinary talent, which is good since she's probably going to need some recipes for bugs on Kicking & Screaming.
Terry Fossum is a jack of all trades. He describes himself as a scoutmaster, author, speaker, and philanthropist in one preview clip for Kicking & Screaming. He was also the executive officer for the U.S. Air Force's 92nd Operations Group, according to his LinkedIn profile. Terry, who has also worked in direct sales, prepared for his Kicking & Screaming experience by traveling to Guyana to learn survival techniques from South American experts, he recently told The Spokesman-Review. We'll have to wait and see if that training paid off.
Natalie Casanova may be very different from her survivalist partner, Terry, but just like this expert, she has a ton of jobs. Natalie describes herself as "a gamer, online personality, host, voice actor, all of the above" in one video previewing Kicking & Screaming. She's known as the "Zombi Unicorn" around the Interwebs, and you can find her on YouTube, Twitch, and the like. Natalie's personality is as colorful as her hair, and it's sure to be as vibrant as ever on Kicking & Screaming.
Caleb Garmany is a special ops veteran, according to FOX. There isn't much more info available on Caleb's life before Kicking & Screaming, but I'm looking forward to getting to know more about him on the show.
With that suit on, Samuel Shankland does not exactly look ready to battle the elements. Luckily, he'll have survivalist partner Caleb Garmany by his side to help him make it through. In Sam's life outside of Kicking & Screaming, he's an American Chess Grandmaster on the U.S. National Chess team, the reigning champs of the Chess Olympiad. Sam also boasts a photographic memory, or rather, as he put it in one Kicking & Screaming sneak peek, "When people talk about a photographic memory, they're talking about people like me." And humble, too!
Tamra Hyde describes herself as a "primitive living wilderness survival instructor and a backcountry guide" in one video for the FOX series. But is it just me, or is she giving anyone else some serious P!nk vibes with her look? Nevertheless, there are some pretty badass photos of Tamra getting her survival on on her Facebook profile. I'm excited to see her survival skills in action on Kicking & Screaming.
But Tamra is certainly going to have her work cut out for her with her novice partner, Maxwell Carr. Clips of Kicking & Screaming show Max sipping champagne and holding a cute, tiny, little dog in an effort to portray him as not-your-typical mountain man. In previews of the show, we also learn that Max is a self-proclaimed "amateur fashion student and a professional clubgoer," he's "very dependent on [his] mom and her credit card," and he's "no good at movement, in general." Max hails from Buffalo, New York, according to The Buffalo News, so at least he knows how to endure harsh weather conditions, right?
Jason White used to be a combat diver in the military with a recon unit, according to FOX. Considering that steely look on Jason's face in the above photo, it should come as no surprise that he has no time for the novices in this competition. "The worst thing about being in this jungle is having to deal with all the young, immature, bratty novices," he complains about in one preview clip of the show. Good luck to his partner!
And that would be Elaine Swann, who is an etiquette expert, according to FOX. One rule that Elaine quickly learns on Kicking & Screaming is that "eyelashes and the jungle do not mix," according to one sneak peek of the show. Elaine has had a ton — and I do mean a ton — of media appearances prior to joining the Kicking & Screaming cast, from The TODAY Show to The Meredith Vieira Show to HLN, her official website lists, so it's quite possible that you've caught her on TV before. She's even helped coach beauty pageant contestants. Elaine is also the author of a self-improvement book, and she can often be seen speaking at events. Hopefully, Elaine will be able to keep her poise and motivation during this intense competition.
Jessie Krebs is a very special kind of wilderness field guide. She is a senior field instructor with Open Sky Wilderness Therapy, which helps teens, young adults, and families deal with their personal struggles and life's challenges in the great outdoors, according to the program's website. It sounds like Jessie and her partner could make it out of the Kicking & Screaming experience having done some healing, too.
In fact, Jessie's novice partner, Michael Forbs, is in need of his spirits to be lifted. The Atlanta-based football player-turned-delivery truck driver says that he has entered the competition in an effort to prove to his wife that he can do it, he says in one preview clip. Or make that ex-wife, "who found him too unadventurous," according to this recent interview with AJC.com. In that same interview, Mike also describes himself as "a big ol’ scaredy cat" and "totally not an outdoors person." Let's hope he ends up proving us all wrong.
FOX describes Ras Vaughan as a survivalist who's living off the grid. But Ras does have a Facebook page, so clearly he hasn't completely given up today's technology. Ras describes himself as an "Adventure Runner, Thru-Hiker, Biped, Hominid" on his LinkedIn page, which also says that he's based in Coupeville, Washington. But he and his wife, Kathy Vaughan, do plenty of traveling, which they document on their blog, UltraPedestrian.
Ras grabbed headlines last year for climbing the Mount Rainier Infinity Loop route. He wasn't always in such good shape for all of this activity, though. Ras remembered a time in his life when he would eat a 24-pack of ice cream sandwiches a shift as a frozen food delivery truck driver in his 20s, he told The News Tribune. His wife finally turned his life around when she encouraged him to join her in hiking the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier. He's been hooked ever since. Perhaps Ras can inspire his Kicking & Screaming partner to love the outdoors, too.
Ras' novice partner will be Kirsten Kozak. She seems to have an affinity for the finer things in life, like wine and Louis Vuitton bags, according to her Facebook profile, which also says that she is married. If I can just be superficial for a second, Kirsten really does seem to be the complete opposite of Ras. However, she posted a sweet note on Facebook praising him for being a "truly and amazing and kind soul" who changed her life. Maybe these two will get along better than I thought.
Watching the way these various individuals from all walks of life interact is what Kicking & Screaming is all about, after all.