‘American Grit’: Meet The Mentors of Fox’s Reality TV Show

Last night during the premiere of Fox’s new reality TV show American Grit, Chris Krueger, the Hollywood personal trainer with an enormous ego, was the first of the 16 contestants to be let go from the show. His fate came after a failed attempt of surviving “The Circus,” a treacherous obstacle course where the only way to lose is to be the first one to ring out.

It appears that little love was lost with Krueger’s elimination from the game. He described himself as “cocky” and while that is not always a likable trait, it might be one of the characteristics needed to survive American Grit.

Filmed in the wilderness of Eatonville, Washington, American Grit is unlike any other reality TV competition show and it makes the challenges the contestants face on Survivor child’s play. But Krueger’s biggest downfall was that he was disrespectful to both his teammates and his team adviser: Tawanda Hanible.

Hanible recently retired from 20 years of service with the U.S. Marines where she was stationed at Quantico, VA. She showed amazing restraint when Krueger blamed her for his team not winning an earlier challenge. Most people would have given the woman more respect, something that did not go unnoticed by show host John Cena. During last night’s episode, Cena pulled Krueger aside and set him straight. American Grit’s advisers are not just celebrities. They have done the hard work protecting our country and deserve respect. They each have their own stories to tell as well. Hanible is joined by Rorke Denver, Noah Galloway, and Nick Irving.

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Before American Grit, Commander Rorke Denver led Special Forces missions around the globe and has trained Navy SEALS. In 2006, he was the officer in charge of BRAVO Platoon in Iraq for what the show’s press release describes as “the most combat-heavy deployment of any SEAL team since Vietnam.” More recently, Denver starred in the movie Act of Valor which chronicled real-life adventures of Navy SEALS. He is also the author of Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior where he describes his own stories.

American Grit is actually Noah Galloway’s second reality TV program. Last year, he and his partner came in third place on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. Though he didn’t win the mirror ball trophy, he is a Purple Heart recipient. Galloway served in the first battalion of the 502nd infantry with Army’s 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Galloway lost his left arm above the elbow and his left leg at the knee when the Humvee he was driving hit a tripwire which detonated an IED back in 2005. Since then, Galloway started the No Excuses Charitable Fund which raises funds for wounded veterans.

Nick Irving was the first African-American sniper in the U.S. Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion. He is known on American Grit as “The Reaper,” a nickname he earned for his skills as a sharp-shooter. While on tour in Afghanistan, Irving had 33 confirmed kills in the span of under four months. Not surprisingly, Irving has suffered from PTSD. To help overcome it, he wrote down all of his thoughts which later became the New York Times Best Seller The Reaper.

As for American Grit’s host, Cena is a 15-time WWE World Champion. More importantly, Cena is known for his charitable work. In 2009, Cena received the highest honor given from the Make-A-Wish Foundation where he has been involved in more than 500 “wishes,” the most of any athlete. He has also raised more than $1.5 million for Susan G. Komen.

While Chris Krueger learned things the hard way, hopefully, the remaining contestants of American Grit have learned from his actions.

American Grit airs on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. on Fox.

[Photo courtesy of FOX]