By: Jenna Zibton | WSLS 10
Published: August 12, 2012
ROANOKE, VA –People across the country have been anticipating Monday night’s premiere of NBC’s new show “Stars Earn Stripes”.
Ten On Your Side’s Jenna Zibton talked to the co-host General Wesley Clark when he stopped in Roanoke about what to expect over the next four weeks.
General Clark describes it as eight celebrities, paired with a military or law enforcement trainer being put through military missions with real ammunition, real explosions and real danger.
“I’m watching it, grading it, evaluating it bring them back in, coach them along the way if they need it. I watch the safety and keep it as authentic and safe and realistic as possible” says Clark. “I think there’s a gradually growing awareness about how important and how really intricate these skills are. When you see these special operations guys handle a rifle, you’ll be impressed. They’re really, really good.”
The teams jump out of helicopters, shoot targets and crawl through mud all for charity and bragging rights.
“When you look at these special forces guys, you see their personalities, you realize how good they are and how much fun they are and you realize we’ve got some terrific people in the armed forces” says Clark.
The eight celebrities competing include four-time undefeated world boxing champion Laila Ali, actor Dean Cain (“Out of Time,” Five Days of War”), actor and former National Football League player Terry Crews (“The Expendables 2,” “The Newsroom”), multi-platinum recording artist, actor, producer and television personality Nick Lachey (NBC’s “The Sing-Off”), Alaska businessman and four-time Iron Dog snowmobile race champion Todd Palin, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” trainer Dolvett Quince, Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street, and WWE diva, Eve Torres.
“I was impressed. They took a tremendous risk personally. Obviously, we did the best we could to keep them safe but they also took a risk reputationally because all of them are known for being physical and looking tough and things like this but if you’re doing it in the movies, it’s a lot different than doing it for real. There were no stunt men here. There were real bullets and you had to hit real targets. You had to go down real buildings and out of a real helicopter” says Clark.
“I know competition when I see it” says Quince. “I’m sizing up every single person in this competition. I don’t underestimate the ladies at all. I definitely don’t under estimate Todd Palin. He’s from Alaska, he’s shot many a things.”
Each celebrity is paired with the same military or law enforcement trainer for the length of the show including a Green Beret, SWAT Commander and Navy SEAL.
“The missions are definitely tough. They’re a gut check. They make you definitely suck wind” says Chris Kyle a Navy SEAL who is part of the show. “Initially I thought ‘Oh great, Hollywood celebrities come in here and be a bunch of prim donnas, whining got to be pampered on them and everything’ But it hasn’t been that at all. These celebs come in and they’re 100% supportive of the military” says Kyle.
“To me, meeting someone of that caliber, they’re the true celebrities here. These are men and women that put their lives on the line every single day. So if it’s someone who’s an Army Ranger or Navy SEAL, Marine, I’m just going to be honored standing next to someone who I can truly, truly count on and can learn a lot from” says Quince.
“There’s never quite been anything like it in terms of in depth, detailed look at how military action unfolds” says Clark. “I think it will generate respect for every man and woman who ever wore a uniform in service to this country.”
Clark says the executive producer, Mark Burnett asked him to be a part of the show through email. One of his staffers mentioned the email, excited about the opportunity and Clark said “Who’s that?” Once he learned more about the show he says he was hooked.
“It’s educational and young people who get a lot of their education thru social media and thru reality TV shows, this is the way they get educated. So for me it’s entertainment plus it’s education. I think it’s good for armed forces, builds respect for the armed forces and maybe we’ll even get some great young people to come in as a result of this” says Clark.
Each of the teams is competing for a cash prize on behalf of a military, veterans or first-responder charity.
You can catch the two hour premiere of Stars Earn Stripes on WSLS at 8 p.m. Monday.