72 Hours

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
72 Hours TV Poster Image
Fast-paced survivalist challenge with bickering, stress.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series is more about greed than adventure. The importance of team work and making smart decisions to survive the wild are highlighted.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some folks are team players, others aren't. The contestants are from all walks of life. Some players make sexist comments.


Bickering often breaks out between teammates. Illness and injuries are frequent; folks are shown vomiting and coping with other physical issues as a result of eating poorly and/or pushing themselves too hard.


Contestants are sometimes shown shirtless and in skimpy bathing suits. Some contestants make sexual references about their teammates (like referring to their "bouncing bottoms").


Words like "ass," "piss," and "bitch" audible. Words like "f--k" are bleeped.


Logos for athletic wear like Under Armor are occasionally visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No drinking or smoking, but alcohol-based products are often used for survivalist purposes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 72 Hours features folks from all walks of life competing in a survivalist race for a major cash prize. It contains occasional strong language, some sexual (and sexist) references, and plenty of bickering. Contestants are often shown getting sick and/or injured due to pushing themselves too hard, which can be hard to watch.

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What's the story?

72 HOURS is a competition series that challenges folks to navigate through remote, rugged locations to a major cash prize. Each episode, hosted by Brandon Johnson, features three teams of three motivated competitors who are dropped off in the wilderness with a single bottle of water and a GPS tracking device that will lead them to supply drops that offer gear that can potentially help them. It also provides coordinates for each leg of their journey, which can only be traveled between sunrise and sunset. They then have three days to figure out how to get to a hidden briefcase containing $100,000. Getting there isn't easy, and throughout it all they must make difficult survival choices, including when to call for a relief drop in exchange for time penalties. But they must keep the team together while pushing themselves to the limit if they want to make it to the winning destination.

Is it any good?

72 Hours travels from the Yasawa Islands in Fiji to the American Southwest, offering an action-packed race full of physical challenges in exotic places. Not surprisingly, the show capitalizes on the remoteness of the regions by using helicopters and dramatic music to enhance the drama. But what makes the show interesting are the various ways that the teams cope with the natural obstacles that arise when navigating these areas, most of which are more grueling than they originally appear.

There are lots of tense moments, especially when contestants make bad decisions or struggle with each other's leadership style. Watching them succumb to heat exhaustion and dehydration -- especially when being so close to reaching the prize -- can also be frustrating to watch. But the show's primary focus on the actual race, rather than personal drama, makes it a fun viewing choice.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the reasons why people choose to participate in extreme competitions. Is it the money? The fame? Or to challenge themselves for personal reasons? Would you participate in an extreme challenge or race?

  • Competitions like this one take a long time to complete. How are they produced to make them fast-paced and interesting for a reality show? Are the challenges you see real? What are the real dangers associated with them?

TV details

  • Premiere date: June 6, 2013
  • Cast: Brandon Johnson
  • Network: TNT
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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