Rival US Senators Flake And Heinrich Film Survival Show

Two US senators from rival political parties are taking bipartisan co-operation to a new level, starring in a reality survival show filmed on a desert island. Will this shrewd media manoeuvre spur a gridlocked Congress to stop bickering and start taking action?

Rival Survival - premiering in the US on 29 October - will show Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico enduring six days and nights together on Eru in the Marshall Islands.

Used to navigating the metaphorical shark-infested waters of Washington DC politics, the two men will encounter real life predators as they work together to stave off hunger and thirst.

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell says President Barack Obama has shrewdly adopted this type of outside-the-box media approach, appearing on daytime and late-night talk shows and discussing many things other than politics.

"These days we live in an HBO, TMZ, ESPN society," he says of the entertainment television channel, a celebrity gossip website and a top sport media brand. "Politicians need to get outside of the political media echo chamber. You've got to go where the eyeballs are."

The Discovery Channel has plenty of eyeballs. Their survival shows - such as Naked and Afraid, where nude contestants battle the elements - draw big audiences.

But how can watching two grown men spear fishing together help what many consider to be a hopelessly gridlocked Congress?

"Right now, in a lot of ways, America is soured on both parties," O'Connell says. "The idea of being able to show them [working] together toward a common goal is a good thing overall."

It can also increase the pressure to co-operate, he says, and encourage more "team building exercises" across the political spectrum.

O'Connell also contends that, barring any major gaffes, the move can offer positive brand recognition for both parties.

"Talking about anything other than politics is generally a plus," he says. "The fact is, if you can survive... the Pacific Islands, then you can pretty much survive anything."

Read more from Debbie Siegelbaum at BBC.com

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Analysis & Political Strategy