'72 Hours' preview: Reality thrills of the 'worst thing you can think of'

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"72 Hours" is not messing around.

The new reality series, premiering Thursday on TNT, takes the scenery of "Survivor" but does away with any of the trappings of civilization and guaranteed survival. And thank goodness for that -- the results are stunning in intensity, beauty and flat-out fear.

At its most basic level, "72 Hours" is a simple show. Three teams of three strangers are dropped in some exotic and remote location. They have no equipment and nothing but a water bottle to keep them going. After that, the teams each have three days to traverse jungles, oceans and mountains in the hopes of winning a $100,000 prize.

It's grueling, and it makes for great TV. This is an especially good show for those of us who don't like the manufactured drama of much of what passes for "reality" television these days. Sure, there is drama, but it's more the drama that comes from someone thinking he or she is actually going to die than from wealthy people back-stabbing each other.

But there is really only so much that a critic, sitting comfortably in a chair can tell you about "72 Hours." A more thorough description comes from Corey Cotten, a personal trainer from Texas who is one of the contestants in the show's first episode. Corey talked to Zap2It after he braved the jungles of Fiji in his attempt to win $100,000. Check out his interview below!


72-hours-corey-premiere-tnt.jpg What did they actually tell you before you were literally dropped on an island?

Corey Cotten: What's funny is they really didn't give us too much information. We knew what we were going for basically -- the motivation. But when it came down to exactly what was going to happen ... We just went through a little ...  Hey, when I say a little bit of training, I mean a tiny bit of training. "Hey, we're going to throw you out of this helicopter!"


What kind of training did you get then?

Corey Cotten: Just training on how to take falls, to make sure that we can swim, to make sure we can just basically do the basic things. I mean, if we were in a pool for training, we kind of figured we'd be in some water. You know, just little stuff like that. But when you actually look at it, when you actually see what we went through ... Training didn't have a d*** thing to do with what we got.

And I'm a pretty tough dude. I'm in shape, I run, I'm muscular, the whole nine. And it kicked my a**.


Once you were in Fiji and mountain-climbing and island-hopping and all, what was the best part for you?

Corey Cotten: I would have to say the fact of just being in Fiji. I understand it's a competition and everything like that -- I never lost sight of that.

But when you're standing on a mountaintop that you just bulldogged to the top of, with nothing but basically the clothes on your back. You make it to the top, and you're in a place like Fiji on the top of a mountain on an island ... I mean, you can't help but just stop. And I made sure to do that. I was like, "D***, look at everything!" So I would say the scenery of it all -- that's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I tried to take that in as much as I could.


So what was the worst or most challenging thing for you?

Corey Cotten: I'm freaked out about spiders. I will level small, cute kids to avoid some spiders! And they didn't even have regular spiders! They had some steroid, Arnold Schwarzenegger spiders! It's like, my God. One of them spiders was like the movie, "Eight-Legged Freaks." It looked like it was going to drag you into a bush. They were huge.


Would you ever consider doing something like this again?

Corey Cotten: H*** yes! In a heartbeat! That's my thing, you know. You always see these people and they're getting praise for all this bulls***. It makes no sense. I'm like, "Yo, you've got to get some people that are the real deal."

I was so amped, I was like "Seriously, I could go flat-out Bear Grylls right now! I'm that pumped."


What would be your advice to someone who wanted to go on a show like "72 Hours"?

Corey Cotten: I don't even know how you would train for that. Because once you're depleted of nutrients and water, all the training really is irrelevant. It takes something deeper than that. You can run all day, but when you're in that kind of heat and depleted that much, it comes down to heart -- who wants it the most. So "Eat your Wheaties and prepare for the worst thing you can think of."


"72 Hours" premieres Thursday at 10pm on TNT.

Photo/Video credit: TNT