Samantha Brown and Chris Grundy Talk Travel Channel’s 50/50 [Exclusive]
If money and time weren’t a consideration, where would you want to go on your next vacation? 50/50 hosts Samantha Brown and Chris Grundy ambush a pair of travelers and offer them a vacation of a lifetime. They’ve got 50 hours and $50,000 to spend. I just have one question: where can I sign up?
I had the chance to talk exclusively to Samantha and Chris earlier this week. There may have been more laughing than talking, but it was easy to tell just how excited and involved these two are when it comes to this show. Not only do they get to give people a trip of a lifetime, but they get to influenceÂ what happens on these trips.
TV GOODNESS: Tell me about the show.
Samantha Brown:Â “Itâ€™s a phenomenal show. Itâ€™s a travel show that no one thought could actually be done. Ambush travel shows like this have existed in some form or another, but nothing where you have 50 hours, $50,000 and you literally have to leave with us in that moment. If you even hesitate â€” and weâ€™ve been with people that hesitated for 15 minutes â€” weâ€™re like. â€˜Weâ€™ve gotta cut you loose. We gotta go. We gotta find our people.â€™”
Chris Grundy: â€œYep. â€˜Our plane leaves at 3.â€™â€
Samantha: “So itâ€™s this great beat the clock where people understand how amazing this opportunity is, in front of them, and they want to go with us.”
TV GOODNESS: It seems like it would be pretty hard to turn this opportunity down. I guess Iâ€™m not shocked that people hesitate, but for people who go, Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s exciting for them and for you.
Grundy: “Itâ€™s exciting for them, itâ€™s exciting for their co-workers, their families. Everybody wants to live it with them vicariously, I guess.”
Samantha:Â “Thatâ€™s a great point.”
Grundy: “Everybody that goes, thereâ€™s a support system behind them. We donâ€™t know what itâ€™s gonna be. Theyâ€™re strangers to us. The reactions we hear from the people close to them, itâ€™s amazing. Theyâ€™re so happy for them, because itâ€™s a once in a lifetime thing. Itâ€™s not gonna happen twice.”
Samantha: “Grundy asked a question every single time we do an ambush and I think itâ€™s gonna be the slogan in the timeline of the show. â€˜Who do you have to call so we can take you on this life changing trip?â€™ Whoever watches this show, they should think, â€˜Who would be on my short-list to call so I could go?â€™ You should be able to call two people to make things happen so you can go with us. And itâ€™s usually their boss, usually parents to take care of children.”
Grundy:Â “Who would you call?”
TV GOODNESS: I wouldnâ€™t call anyone. I would just go with you guys, honestly.
Samantha: “Weâ€™re coming right now.”
TV GOODNESS: Iâ€™ll call my boss from the road, because itâ€™s a forgone conclusion. Weâ€™re doing this.
Samantha: “We like your style.”
Grundy: “We like it.”
TV GOODNESS: For something like this, how involved are you guys in planning the itinerary? What exactly is your job after youâ€™ve ambushed the travelers?
Samantha: “We have very tough jobs. We just have to have a kick-ass time. [Laughs.] Itâ€™s awful!
We get to where weâ€™re going and the producers line things up because the other part of the show, the other meaning of 50/50 is that when they land thy will have a choice to make every step of the way: where do you want to stay? Do you want to stay in the 3,000 square foot penthouse suite or do you want to go to the private villa? Itâ€™s up to them. Where do you want to eat? Do you want to eat at a 5-star catered event that will bring us food to a boat or do you want to eat at the local hotspot where the burgers are the best in town?
Weâ€™ve created, with the producers and ourselves, the idea of what are the two great experiences? Maybe theyâ€™re in total contrast with one another, but then itâ€™s ultimately up to the travelers what they want to do so they can create their own itinerary. And what weâ€™ve found is that people really love the local feel. People want to stay in luxury, but they want to make sure that their experiences are with local people.”
Grundy: “Yep. I agree.”
TV GOODNESS: I love that you two are hosting this together. What qualifies each of you for this jobÂ and why should people be excited about it other than the obvious?
Samantha: “We were bornâ€¦a poor black child. [Laughs.] Do you remember The Jerk?
TV GOODNESS: No. I’ve never seen it.
Samantha: “Youâ€™ve got to watch it.
Well, I bring to it my travel experience. Iâ€™ve done about fifteen years of travel shows with the Travel Channel, but Iâ€™ve always been alone. One thing people always say is, â€˜Hey, I want your job,â€™ or â€˜I want to come along with you,â€™ and now I get to bring you with me. Grundy is, what did someone say, like a cup of espresso. Grundy is the engine, he is the motor, he is the gears. Weâ€™re putting this into fifth whether you want to or not. It is awesome. I love working with him because I can over think things as a traveler and Grundyâ€™s like, â€˜Letâ€™s just go for it.â€™ Heâ€™s my little devil who sits on my shoulder, but heâ€™s not so little.” [Laughs.]
Grundy: “You know how camels go to get up from the ground when you get on top of them? My camel was like, â€˜I donâ€™t know, buddy. I donâ€™t know if I can get up. This dudeâ€™s huge.â€™” [Laughs.]
TV GOODNESS: I know you start in Abu Dhabi and you have a number of locations you go to throughout the season. Tell me a little bit about your favorite destinations or activities during your travels.
Grundy: “We do international, we do domestic. Internationalâ€™s so sexy because itâ€™s international, but some of the best trips have been domestic. Weâ€™ve gone to the Adirondacks in New York, and Alaska. Some of those activities, thatâ€™s my joy â€” being outdoors, being in the woods, being on the lake.
We went on a glacier boating trip. We went through the glacial waters to get to the glacier. Thatâ€™s my cup of tea. We saw a moose up in Alaska. Thatâ€™s the kind of stuff I really like. Now, I realize the choices arenâ€™t mine or Samanthaâ€™s, but we can influence them. Thatâ€™s the fun part, too. When theyâ€™re making their decision, we jump right in and we try to influence them to do the things we want to do.”
TV GOODNESS: For people at home who canâ€™t take off at a momentâ€™s notice or spend this much money on their travels, do you have any tips or tricks for planning adventures like this?
Samantha: “Iâ€™ve always said that everyone should just create a little quickie list, a little black book of travel destinations that are close to your home, maybe you can drive to, maybe little towns, maybe big cities so you always have it in the back of your head.
The first thing you have to do mentally is say, â€˜This is something I want to do.â€™ Then you create this little list, it doesnâ€™t even have to be a real list, â€˜Ok, Iâ€™d like to go to the city,â€™ so that when the time comes, all of a sudden you have 2 days to do it. I like to cook and at the last-minute if I want to cook, if I donâ€™t have the ingredients I canâ€™t cook. But Iâ€™ve done the due diligence of going to the store and having things on hand and thatâ€™s what I mean by always having things on hand like an ingredient list of places you would go to at a momentâ€™s notice.
Bring great social media and travel planning apps. There are travel planning apps that do all the heaving lifting for you, because if you have to plan the trip that might take the spontaneity out of it and youâ€™re just like, â€˜Iâ€™m just gonna stay home and watch re-runs of Archer.â€™ So I always say get on Twitter. Twitter is an amazing travel tool and people use it as such. You follow airlines, hotels you dream of staying at. Airfarewatchdog.com is a great one to follow because itâ€™ll send you a list of the cheapest destinations departing from your airport. So, you can see at a momentâ€™s notice on Wednesday, that Friday, â€˜We can actually afford to go to Jamaica. The tickets are $150. Letâ€™s go.â€™
Thereâ€™s the mental side of being prepared and the travel planning apps that help you act on deals and save money, which is always a huge motivator for people taking last-minute trips.”
TV GOODNESS: If you guys were ambushed and could go on a vacation like this, whatâ€™s your number 1 destination and what would you want to do while you were there?
Samantha: “Itâ€™s not happening right now, but I would love to go to Finland to see the Aurora Borealis. That is my absolute dream destination. I would take a reindeer driven sleigh â€” Iâ€™ve made this up, I donâ€™t know if [this is possible] â€” to one of those cabins with the glass roofs. They give you these big, comfy beds and from your own bed you can look out up and see the Aurora Borealis. Thatâ€™s what I would love to do.”
Grundy: “I think Iâ€™d like to go to Scotland and hike through the hills and wake up with the mist around you outdoors. I have wanted to do that since before Braveheart. [Laughs] That just sounds perfect. Just being outside and feeling that fresh grass or whatever. I think thatâ€™s where I would want to go next.”
Edited for space and content.
50/50 premieres Sunday, October 4th at 7/6c on Travel Channel.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…