Even as TV Land journeys to decades past for its children's programming, The Discovery Channel expands to Saturday this weekend with a '90s sensibility for children ages 6 and up.
The most prominent new series, "Outward Bound" (two back-to-back episodes at 10:50 a.m. and 11:26 a.m. Saturdays), takes the concept of MTV's "Road Rules" and gears it for a younger audience.
Eight teens go on two-week journeys with leaders from the famed Outward Bound exploration program. The first trip, lasting four weeks, finds the kids in Big Bend National Park in Texas.
The second trip, airing beginning May 1, sends the backpackers into North Carolina's Smoky Mountains. Peter Lindsay, 16, a sophomore at Freeport High School in Freeport, is among the hikers on the North Carolina trip. Last summer he spent 18 days hiking, rafting and camping in the woods.
Unlike the MTV shows that go out of their way not to hire actors, the "Outward Bound" cast is all aspiring thespians, Peter said. He's currently appearing in two plays, works on TV commercials and hosts a cable access TV show (airing on Armstrong cable Channel 50) and a Saturday morning radio show (7:45 a.m. on Butler's 1050 AM).
"At first it took some getting used to the cameras, but after the second or third day of the trip we didn't even notice they were there," Peter said.
"We did very little acting. If we did something or said something they didn't catch on camera, they'd want us to say it again, but that was the only time we acted."
Just as in all of the modern docu-dramas, love blossoms on "Outward Bound," and Peter is in the thick of it. He's smitten with Kelly, but later finds himself in the romantic radar of another girl on the trip.
Romance aside, survival was the No. 1 priority. In the first episode, the adventurers learn all about digging out a toilet in the wild. Peter got to be the first to actually "rough it" after eating many bowls of pasta and earning the nickname "Noodleman."
"We knew we'd have to carry all this stuff on our backs, and I didn't feel like packing it away, so I just ate it all," Peter said.
All this togetherness in the forests led to a pretty grimy group of kids, but Peter said by the third day everyone got used to the dirt.
"We did river rafting so we got kind of cleaned off during the middle of the trip," Peter said.
"I wouldn't want to live that way, but it was a fun experience."