The History Channel’s series Alone is back for a second time in Labrador.
Season 9 of the series, which drops survivalists off in a remote location to see who can last the longest, was set in Labrador and aired earlier this summer. After 78 days, Juan Pablo Quiñonez won the $500,000 prize.
Now the show is back with an eight-week spinoff, Alone: Frozen, in which six former contestants return for another chance to win $500,000. But for this series, said executive producer Ryan Pender, there’s a twist: contestants have to last only 50 days and anyone who does gets to split the money.
The six contestants were dropped off along the coast near Big River last fall before the frost set in, Pender said. It was a natural choice as the show was already filming in the area, he said.
“We had never done an East Coast on-the-ocean experience. We wanted to, you know, put some of the best people we know out there and let them have another go,” Pender said. “There’s fish and clams and, you know, the prospect of seeing a polar bear or having one come to camp. All of that is, it was right there.”
But zoologist Susan Crockford, in a post on her blog Polar Bear Science, says despite the show’s marketing suggesting the possibility that the survivalists could encounter a polar bear, the timing made it virtually impossible.
Bears travel south on pack ice to feed on harp seals off Labrador’s southern coast and northern Newfoundland, she wrote, but when the show finished filming, in late December there was no pack ice off Labrador yet.
“Hence, no possible threat from a polar bear attack while the survivalists were there,” she wrote, “unless a very determined bear walked the entire shoreline and meagre shorefast ice all the way from Hudson Strait, which might be technically possible but highly unlikely.”
While some may be shivering at the thought, trappers in the area have done similar stints for decades, and that’s something the show took into consideration when picking the location, Pender said.
“The prospect of getting animals in snare traps was very, very intriguing to both of us and I think the cast, too, because, you know, in theory, it’s all there,” Pender said.
Survivalists Greg Ovens, Woniya Thibeault, Callie Russell, Mark D’Ambrosio, Amós Rodriguez and Michelle Finn are competing for their share of the prize.
Pender said people will get to know the contestants on a deeper level this time around. He said the show delves into what happened after their original experience, how they adapted and what they learned.
“There’s never a villain in this series. It’s just everybody, you know, is worth their salt,” Pender said. “And I think because of that, you know, we can just really kind of throw back the doors and get this great look of who these people are.”
The show airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. AT and 10:30 p.m. AT on the History Channel.