(UPDATE–Former Dual Survival host Joe Teti has addressed recent speculation about his Dual Survival firing in a Facebook Q&A; click here to see what he had to say.)
Wait a minute–why did Matt Graham leave Dual Survival? For that matter, why did Joe Teti leave Dual Survival? Fans of the popular show have been asking themselves these questions for twenty-four hours: Dual Survival Season Seven premiered last night on Discovery–but a great many fans were dismayed to find that their show’s beloved hosts, Matt Graham and Joseph Teti, were long gone. The two new hosts, Grady Powell and Bill McConnell, did not get a warm reception from long-time viewers, many of whom found themselves repeating their question, as if it were a mantra: Why did Matt and Joe leave Dual Survival? We’ve managed to put together some of the puzzle pieces…
Discovery has been billing Dual Survival‘s new hosts–Grady Powell, a former Green Beret who’s also hosted Ultimate Survival Alaska, and Bill McConnell, a wilderness expert who’s taking over the role of show hippie–as “the new generation” of the show. In responses to separate questions on the show’s Facebook page, the official Dual Survival account defended the double replacement, saying “With new hosts, you’ll see different survival techniques in all new places. That’s what we want to show” and “We’re constantly trying to get new perspectives on survival scenarios. As new hosts, Bill and Grady will show their special skillsets and approaches to give us new insight.”
What’s less apparent, however, are the allegations that Joe Teti was fired from Dual Survival following an incident last May in which he killed a dog during the filming of the Season Six finale. According to a TMZ report from last spring, a group of stray cats ran on set, fleeing from a stray dog. When the dog nabbed one of them, Joe went after it, and managed to rescue the cat while either killing or injuring (there are conflicting stories on this point) the dog.
And, according to a separate, non-TMZ report from around the same period, Joe was banned from all Discovery Channel offices while the network decided what to do about Dual Survival. Apparently, the channel’s higher ups feared some sort of retaliation from Joe, and distributed a memo that included the following instructions: “The network is currently evaluating [Dual Survival] and has requested that Teti not be admitted to any Discovery office during this evaluation. If seen: Do not grant access. Call Security and the office manager immediately.”
Indeed, Dual Survival was canceled for a brief period this summer. The result of the above evaluation, though, was that Discovery overturned its decision, and brought in two new hosts.
Joe Teti hasn’t addressed his rumored firing from Dual Survival directly, though he is an active Facebooker. One particular post from late last May, though, has some fans wondering whether he was trying to bid them farewell without being specific:
As for fan favorite Matt Graham, someone claiming to be the now-former Dual Survival co-host has stepped forward on Twitter, and promised good things to come:
— Dual Survival Matt (@Checkmate2160) January 13, 2016
Twitter, as you might expect, responded to Matt Graham and Joseph Teti’s unceremonious replacement and last night’s Dual Survival Season Seven premiere with disbelief–and displeasure:
new dual survival!!!but it’s without Matt graham and joe tedi????????????????????what’s the point — Max Karkos (@maxkarkos11) January 8, 2016
I’m so pissed off @ Discovery Channel for getting rid of Joe Tetí & Matt Graham from Dual Survival. The 2 new dudes suck 🙁 — DeeDee Duncan (@duncan_deedee) January 14, 2016
So, who are Dual Survival Season Seven’s new hosts? Grady Powell (pictured above) is not only a former Green Beret–he “passed selection at only 21 years old,” according to his official Discovery bio, “and is among some of the youngest soldiers to have made it into the elite brotherhood of Special Forces Operators.” The network is leaning heavily on Grady’s military background in order to deepen the contrast between he and Bill. Before we get to Bill, though, here’s the rest of Grady Powell’s Dual Survivor bio:
With tours in Iraq and northern Africa, Grady is a small arms, mobility, and survival expert. Before joining the Army, Grady studied graphic design, but ultimately decided to follow in the footsteps of other family members who have served, including his grandfather, who was in the 11th Airborne Division during World War II, and his father, who was a Green Beret during Vietnam. In 2011, Grady competed in the NBC series Stars Earn Stripes, ultimately winning alongside his partner Eva Torres. After serving with distinction in the Army for five years, he left and began training military, law enforcement, and civilians in tactical skills, such as defensive firearm implementation. Drawing on his expertise in shooting, evasion, field medicine, and urban survival, Grady has also run protection details for high-level U.S. dignitaries overseas. In 2013, he competed in a survival race for National Geographic’s Ultimate Survival Alaska.
You can follow Grady on Twitter at @gradylpowell. Bill McConnell, by contrast, is the aforementioned hippie element that Dual Survival Season Seven is trying to emphasize. He’s a “primitive survivalist” who grew up in Cleveland, spent time in Pennsylvania’s branch of the Appalachian mountains as a youth, and was taught the ways of the forest by his grandfather. He is also–in keeping with his back-to-nature ways–completely off of social media; none of Dual Survival‘s official tweets link to any account of his, though they all include his name, and Grady’s Twitter account is always included. In any case, here’s the remainder of Bill “The Hippie” McConnell’s bio:
As a young adult and art student, he was homeless for a time and adapted the lessons of his grandfather to hunt for his own food and practice a form of urban survival. Eventually, Bill found his way to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where he studied under and taught alongside Tom Brown, Jr. for nearly a decade. His lifelong devotion to the outdoors led Bill to explore primitive skills, including the tool manufacturing and hunting techniques of indigenous and ancient societies. He now lives in Montana where he runs the PAST Skills Wilderness School, leading courses on primitive camouflage, fire by friction techniques, Native American hunting traditions, and many other related topics.
Dual Survival Season Seven airs Wednesdays at 9 PM EST on Discovery. (Photo credits: Dual Survival Season Seven via Twitter)