Dating is hard enough, but then to throw nature into the mix seems downright insane. That's the premise of NBC's Love In The Wild. Backstage at America's Got Talent, the show's host, Darren McMullen, talked with me recently about the scary perils of nature and his interest in reality television (including our mutual affection for one show in particular!)
We've seen dating shows before, but this is a particularly weird concept for one.
Oh, I could probably think of a weirder one, but it's good. It seems to work. We have legitimate couples going on, which is more than can be said for a lot of the other dating shows; I believe they don't really have the best track record.
And it's heating up. The whole end of the show had to change because of what went down in [last week's] episode. And we really realized that people are in it for the right reason.
And as the host, you're doing a lot more than just putting out exposition and leaving.
I'm quite a hands-on host, much to the annoyance of a lot of the producers. It's obvious when you watch these shows and the host doesn't know what's going on. After my job was done, I'd be straight into the video village and watching everything unfold - what was going down, who was fighting with who, who was hooking up with who.
I was a fan. That's the best compliment I can give the show. I hate dating shows, but I love this show. And I'm not just saying that because I'm in it. I'm going back to watch the show at ten o'clock and see what happens, because I don't know how it's all been edited together and stuff. I've only seen set parts of the raw footage when I was there. So I'm excited.
If you're not really into dating shows, what made you want to host one then?
When they said, "Do you want to do a reality dating show?" I was like, "Hell, no. Absolutely not. Are you crazy?" And then they told me the premise: "It's kind of like Romancing The Stone with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, and you should see this couples choice ceremony, and people can get ditched and not know they're being ditched and it's crazy." That kind of sold it to me.
And I loved Romancing The Stone when I was a kid. This episode [last week] we had the big mudslide from Romancing The Stone as well, and I was so jealous. I couldn't do it, because I only had one set of clothes. I was like, "Come on, please let me do it," and they're all, "No way, you've got to host the show." So I didn't get to have any of the fun.
Was there anything out there in the wild that freaked you out?
The weird thing for me was that we actually had crocodiles. Real crocodiles. I was like, "We're just teasing them, though, right?" and they're like, "No, there's actual crocodiles." They showed me this photo of this fifteen-foot croc they pulled out the night before.
I was like, "What if they get eaten?" They were like, "We've got safety guys on standby if they see one." I said, "What are they gonna do? It's a crocodile." Living in Australia for many years, we're just taught that you don't swim where crocodiles are, but Costa Rica, they're a little looser, I guess.
I imagine the lawyers love your show.
Yeah. God bless waivers. I'm sure I probably signed one as well.
We're backstage at a whole other reality show, so I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you about it. Have you seen America's Got Talent before? What did you think?
I've seen the show many times, but I hadn't ever had the pleasure of coming and watching it in the audience. It's brilliant. What a wicked production they have here. I thought it was fantastic.
I'm a huge fan of The Voice. It's probably like my favorite show on television. I really love what they've done there. I think it's absolutely brilliant.
Something we share in common then. I love that show myself. But of course, then I have to ask you what team you're on.
I'm Team Adam. I love that guy [Adam Levine]. He seems like a lovely guy.
He is. He's very sweet. So would you call yourself a fan of the reality TV genre, then? Is this sort of your thing?
I guess I am, because I love The Voice, I do love Love In The Wild.
There are so many bad [reality shows]. I'm not into the tragic ones or the Jersey Shore and things like that...although I have watched Jersey Shore a couple of times.
I tried watching The Hills once and I couldn't get through it.
Yeah. You get 20% stupider as a result of watching that show.
What do you watch outside of reality? What would you recommend to our readers?
I love my dramas. My HBO and Showtime dramas. Curb Your Enthusiasm; funniest show on television. I love Californication. I think Hank Moody is living maybe not every man's dream, [but] certainly mine. And Minute To Win It, because I host that in the UK and Australia.
My thanks to Darren McMullen for this interview! Love In The Wild returns tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on NBC, following America's Got Talent.