EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE predictions from host Dave Salmoni

Tonight on ABC, the summer adventure series EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE comes to an end after 10 grueling legs through Morocco!  The frontrunners, The Gypsies, will face off against inconsistent teams The Football Players and Fab 3, and  the blessed-by-something-spiritual-or-something team No Limits, who made it to this final leg with a blind team member (Eric – maybe my favorite), and a broken ankle!

The EXPEDITION’s host, Dave Salmoni, known for his time spent among the big cats of Africa, as well as his adventure seeking ways, spent some time chatting with My Take On TV about why this show was such a draw to him, and why he thinks any of these four teams could take the prize in tonight’s final leg!

Last week’s episode, the last 20 minutes of it, you’re on the edge of your seat, you don’t know what’s going to happen.
It was a nailbiter!

Every week has been like that, and it’s part of why I like the show so much.
Oh I’m so glad.  That one was definitely one of the closest, I think it might have been the closest finish we got throughout the whole season.  Even we sat there, because we hear from the producers. There’s always like, safety people, and the medics, and everybody else, out on the course, and they radio in.  It was like, “oh these guys are coming in, oh, nope, these guys are coming in,” and we were all trying to guess who was coming in first, fourth, last.

How did you get involved in the show when this was all coming together?
When the executive producers decided to go and make the show, Mark, and Lisa, the two execs, they went out looking for somebody who would sort of be believable in the adventure grid.  I think they wanted to get a host for the show who could act, as you know, a friend to them, but also someone who might able to be almost an authority figure in the fact that this is stuff I’ve been through, this is stuff I’ve done. Let me offer some guidance and advice.  They saw some of the work I’d done in the past.  I’ve been working with Discovery and Animal Planet for the last 10 years or so, and my free time is spent going up mountains, running through jungles, getting animal backgrounds, which forces you to go to the ends of the Earth to find the animals, so they felt like I fit what they were looking for.

Reading your background, and knowing what you’ve been involved in, you can understand a little more what these teams are going through in a world that’s not your typical competition reality series.
Yeah, in most occasions, I’ve had something to share with these guys.  Physical fitness is something I’ve spent a lot of time with.  I can at least console with them and say I know what you’re going through, but definitely from the outdoors, the adventure stuff – there were a lot of people there that didn’t have the background that they needed.  Some of them had never cooked over a fire, some of them didn’t know how to throw up a tent, some of them didn’t know about wind and weather.  There was always times around camp when everyone would come in, and I’d have to spend some time with them to say, guys, this is what you need to do to stay comfortable so you’re able to race again tomorrow.

Leading into the final leg tonight – I think with some of the teams in the last four, The Gypsies, you knew you’d see at the end based on how they’ve raced.  No Limits – broken ankle and blind person and they’re still going.  Is there a surprise in the top 4 that you didn’t expect based on what you’d seen out there?
I guess it depends on when during the Expedition you would guess.  At the very beginning, I would have never thought No Limits had a chance of making it as far as they did.  In the first couple stages, they were contenders.  They were fast, they were smart, and because they had so much experience outdoors, they were really people to worry about.  The Football Players, all along, I knew that they would be fast, and competitive.  But I sort of felt like their bodies would breakdown, and Akbar’s body did start to break down.  So midway through the Expedition, I didn’t really expect them to go that far.  Not to mention that the outdoor adventure stuff was not their cup of tea.  It really did, halfway through, start to weigh on them.  But they started to get the hang of it.  They started to pace themselves in a way that their bodies got to recover.  I think throughout the Expedition, there were times when I though, Oh, these guys are not going to make it.  Including The Gypsies.  When John rolled his ankle, the next morning, when I saw how big it was, I thought, Oh well that’s it for these guys.  I didn’t think that they had the mental toughness. I knew they were fast, but I didn’t think they could mentally keep it together and overcome because they really hadn’t had to at that point.  Each team surprised me at one point – I counted them out, and they did amazing, and it worked out.

What would you say, going into the finale, one reason why you think each of these teams could win, and one reason that you think each of these teams could cause their own failure?
The obvious things for Football Players is the fact that they’re athletic.  If you put the right things in front of them, they will be better at it.  They are probably the best athletes there.  They’re ex-professional athletes, so they could probably win, given a flat out footrace.  On the same token, we’ve seen the Football Players that they suck on the water.  If they get any water in front of them, which they do have some, it could be real trouble for those guys.  The Gypsies are expected, probably to win, because they’ve been winning so much, but once again, with that bad ankle and maybe it seems like to me, a little bit of over confidence could really get the better of them.  We’ve got Fab 3, who have both been the fastest team at times, and the slowest team.  If they keep the teamwork going, they, I think, have a great chance of winning.  If they start arguing, they’re done.  And then obviously, you’ve got No Limits.  No Limits is a team that you just can’t count out.  I think, you know, you would expect them to lose based on the fact that there’s a blind guy and a guy with a broken leg, but you know, I just think, seeing what they’ve done, counting them out would be ignorant.

Should the show continue for another season, will you be interested in continuing on, and do you have ideas about where the show could go?
Oh I love this show.  I’d be excited to see a season 2, and hopefully, we’ll be planning that as soon as this one ends.  We have to pick a country that is diverse in the fact that we need a lot of different types of habitats for these guys.  Going up mountains, through jungles, down ravines, it has to be very, very diverse.  I think, also, the cultural element that we have in all of these challenges, getting a sense of the country, has to be in place.  I think there’s lots of places.  I’ve been around the world a few times.  We have to sit down, and sort of pick our favorite countries, and see which one would win, right.  But definitely, I’d be excited to get another season.

What else do you have coming up besides the season finale of EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE tonight?
At the moment, I’m very EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE focused.  I’m still doing the animal stuff; I’ve got some tiger conservation things that I’m working on at the moment.  I will continue to work with Animal Planet.  I’ve got my usual stuff going, but right now, I’m very EXPEDITION IMPOSSIBLE focused!

A question about your background – how does someone decide that they’re going to be a big cat trainer?
You don’t! I think it sort of picks you [laughs], at least for me.  I don’t think it’s a very smart decision to make.  I always had interest in animals, and lucky for me, big cats are ones that interested me most, but never as a career goal.  I literally graduated from school, sort of didn’t want to do my PhD right away, and I went to a zoo, thinking maybe I could do research with animals there, and just happened to go to a place where animal training was something they did.  They had a bunch of big cats there, and I met them, and I happened to like them, and they happened to like me, and somehow that meant I was going to be a trainer.  It’s something I sort of fell into, but something that I really enjoy, something that I feel that I’m good at; something that I feel I’ll have in my life, most of my life.

Can’t wait to see how the show turns out tonight!
It’s a pretty exciting finale!  It’s got that cliffhanger, definitely.  Even us, in the finale sitting there, at one point, each one of the teams, we were getting reports that they were going to win.  We really had to wait until we had eyes on them.  So it’s exciting, but it’s also pretty emotional.  We really beat the shit out of these guys.  They really did get to bond really, really well, so the difference between it just being a nail biter like last week, is that it’s a pretty emotional finale, as well!



One comment

  • Kyle

    One thing I really like about this show is that there’s actually a lot of suspense and guessing as to what place people are going to arrive, whereas on TAR, they try to add some fake suspense, but you always know who is going to walk up next. One thing I don’t like about the show (and why I prefer TAR) is that all the challenges seem pretty much the same–row here, hike here, etc. This is one of the drawbacks of Survivor as well–trying to use the natural elements for challenges is very limiting and leads to little variety.
    As for the final teams, I think it would be amazing if the No Limits team won given their multiple handicaps, but I’m rooting for Fab 3.