BEVERLY HILLS

You never know what kind of bizarre sights you'll encounter at the Television Critics Association press tour. Take, for example, the four cast members of "Naked and Afraid" who showed up here completely clothed.

Yes, Eva Rupert, Jeff Zausch, Dani Julien and Justin Bullard all appeared before journalists with much of their skin covered and seemed totally fine with it. Of course, on the popular Discovery Channel reality series, they paraded around in the wilderness wearing nothing but their birthday suits and it didn't faze them.

That's because "you're not thinking about being naked, you're thinking about surviving," Zausch said.

Eva Rupert, front row from left, Jeff Zausch, Dani Julien and Justin Bullard participate in the "Naked and Afraid" panel at the Discovery 2014
Eva Rupert, front row from left, Jeff Zausch, Dani Julien and Justin Bullard participate in the "Naked and Afraid" panel at the Discovery 2014 Summer TCA on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ( Richard Shotwell )

"Clothing offers protection, like from bugs and the sun. ... And so stripping that away just adds another element to the challenge," Julien explained.

"Naked and Afraid" producers proudly assert that their show takes "survival of the fittest" to the next level. Each episode strands a pair of strangers -- one man, one woman -- in some of the world's most extreme weather conditions for 21 days with no food, no water and no clothes. (Most TV critics, who subsist here on plenty of buffet-table treats, would not last 12 hours.)

Even though the word "naked" is in the title, producers insist it's really not about the nudity. No, it's about creating the ultimate survival challenge and turning participants into modern-day versions of Adam and Eve. Except that, in the place of fig leaves, there is pixelation -- carefully rendered by a team of graphic artists.


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Referring to that process, one producer admitted that vanity often enters the picture. How? Many male contestants have requested "larger blurs."

BACK ON DUTY: America knows Mike Rowe as the "dirtiest man on television," but from 2001 to 2005, Bay Area viewers knew him as the host of "Evening Magazine" on KPIX-TV. During that time, he developed a segment called "Somebody's Gotta Do It," in which he profiled a number of people involved in offbeat and/or unpleasant professions.

Rowe is applying that title to a new fall show on CNN that will have him meeting people who march to the beat of a different drum. So how will this show differ from "Dirty Jobs," the series that made him famous?

"Our focus is more mission, less poop," he said.

"Dirty Jobs" was all about "how a thing got done" -- often in horrid conditions. The new show, Rowe said, will be devoted to people who are driven to do what they do, whether it's a hobby, a job or an all-consuming obsession.

"I'm not looking for people who are just willing to get dirty for a paycheck," he said. "(This show) is about people who simply do what they do because of a weird mix of love, compulsion, obsession, dedication -- whatever it is."

To wit: He recently met a guy in Michigan who took years to build a replica of Stonehenge in his backyard "because he got tired of hearing aliens get all the credit for it and wanted to show that it could be done."

QUICK TAKES: The first two scripts are in for Season 2 of "True Detective," and HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo raves that they're "more exciting" than the first season. Casting announcements could be coming within the next few days. ... HBO will film the final two shows of Beyonce and Jay Z's "On the Run" tour in Paris this September to air as a concert event. ... BBC America has ordered a third season of "Orphan Black" and a second season of "Broadchurch" -- both of which will air in 2015.

Contact Chuck Barney at cbarney@bayareanews group.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/chuckbarney and Facebook.com/bayareanewsgroup.chuckbarney.