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Local man competing on new ‘Snake in the Grass’ survival show

Arts & Entertainment

POCATELLO — Jeff Zausch is ready for another challenge.

He’s competed on ‘Naked and Afraid’ and its spinoffs, including ‘Naked and Afraid: Savage’ and ‘Naked and Afraid XL.’ He’s hosted ‘Dual Survival’ and survived several life-threatening conditions in the wild, including a typhoon, sweltering heat, poisonous creatures and illness that could have killed him.

jeff zausch
Jeff Zausch. | Screenshot

Now the 34-year-old Pocatello native is back on national television Tuesday night competing on ‘Snake in the Grass,’ a new “action-packed social experiment” hosted by radio personality Bobby Bones.

Each episode features four players who are dropped into the Central American jungle for 36 hours with a chance to win $100,000. In order to win, the four must figure out which one of them is “snake” – a saboteur who is secretly undermining the group every step of the way. If the three players successfully reveal the identity, they win the money. If they get it wrong, the “snake” walks away with the cash.

RELATED | Jeff Zausch on how he conquered ‘Naked and Afraid XL’

“It’s completely different from anything I’ve done before. All the other survival shows that people know me from – those are strictly survival shows,” Zausch tells EastIdahoNews.com. “They were very, very difficult, but very simple. All I had to do is survive. But ‘Snake in the Grass,’ this is a social challenge.”

Fan-favorite reality competition legends from ‘Survivor,’ ‘Big Brother,’ and ‘Naked and Afraid’ will be among those competing. Throughout the course of the show, they work to complete challenges that earn them clues about the snake, who is discreetly working to throw the group off course.

“You’re constantly watching everyone and trying to figure out who’s being authentic and who’s lying to your face,” Zausch explains. “You have to use teamwork in order to win but of course, you know that there’s one of you trying to sabotage the entire group. So it makes it really interesting.”

After overnighting in the remote and rugged jungle, the group meets with Bones in ‘the Snake Pit’ where they must determine who they think the saboteur might be.

“Getting to host ‘Snake in the Grass’ has been a really cool experience,” Bones says. “I lived in Costa Rica for more than a month while we were shooting it, so I can’t wait for everyone to finally get to see what we’ve been up to. The show is a mix of adventure and mystery – it’s going to keep you guessing!”

RELATED | Bobby Bones answers 7 Questions with Emmy

Zausch isn’t revealing any secrets about his role in the show but says he didn’t go on ‘Snake in the Grass’ to make friends and isn’t shy about “ruffling feathers” with fellow contestants.

The skills he learned on ‘Naked and Afraid helped him as the “ultimate wilderness survival expert” and his goal was to win the $100,000 even though this competition is different than others.

“I know I could do the survival part. I could probably do it blindfolded every day of the week, but it was going to be the social challenge that was going to push the limits of what I’m capable of,” Zausch says. “That’s the reason I do these survival challenges in the first place is to push myself and see where my limits are.”

‘Snake in the Grass’ premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. MT on NBC. It will then air on USA Network beginning Monday, August 1 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

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