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JD Roth Interview

By: Sindy

He got his start in the biz 26 years ago and now JD Roth is a force to be reckoned with. He both hosts and produces the popular Discovery Kids show, Endurance, and has a ton of other reality TV show credits under his belt. Find out what JD had to say about the new season of Endurance, his latest projects and much more!

Sindy: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us JD. Let's start off by talking about last season and how it was different from past seasons?
JD Roth: It was different just by virtue of having different kids. That's the best part of my job - you never know what the show's going to be until those contestants arrive. The location is always the first thing that's different. Last year we were in the Tehachapi Mountains which are at 4,000 feet and there's a lake up there. There's some interesting history up there, the landscapes very unique so from the kids' perspective, that always sets the tone of the season.

Sindy: How do you select the locations for Endurance?
JD Roth: We send people all over the place looking for locations. I believe for the next time we want to go to Alaska - go for a totally different look, and do like a glacier lake. Tehachapi is just a different look from the lush, Hawaiian jungle we were in last year. Traditionally we spend several months on a search for where we are going to do the next one.

Sindy: Do you have any favorite competitors from past seasons?
JD Roth: Oh yeah. From every season you have the standouts. And it's always for different reasons, like season three, everyone wanted Monroe to win. Monroe was absolutely the standout character. But obviously I have to be as [impartial] as possible - you can't let your heart get involved.

Sindy: Where did the original idea for Endurance come from?
JD Roth: Well, I was a big Survivor fan and I saw that there were a lot of kids watching it and as a parent it kind of disturbed me that if you think about it, kids model after the behavior of adults. So, I was like, I don't want my kids modeling their behavior after what's going on there. I thought, how can we create a show that's uplifting to kids, where it's a real learning experience and can be a real way to reinvent themselves?

The real concept for the show was how can you get kids out of their comfort zone - away from their computer, their cell phone, their TV, their school, the things that they hide behind - and put them in an environment where they can't hide. That's what I love about this show, getting the kids to leave their comfort zone.

Sindy: How much interaction do you have with the kids on the show?
JD Roth: I'm there all day, everyday. You know, I host the show, I created it, I produce it, edit it - I'm there. And I take it seriously. This is not summer camp, this is not party time - I'm pushing [these] kids to get something valuable from the several weeks they're going to spend with us. Otherwise, anyone can just make a TV show.

Sindy: How do you handle the workload of both hosting and producing the show?
JD Roth: I think it makes me a better producer and a better host. The reason is, most hosts, they do their host bits and they leave. But I'm there the whole time and I see the reality of what goes on during the show. I see who's getting along and who's not. I see the nuances, which help make me a better host because instead of reading questions off cue cards, they're just coming off the top of my head. So, I think one plays off the other. I prefer to do that, to be honest.

Sindy: If you were a contestant on Endurance, how would you approach the game?
JD Roth: I would play to win. There are all types of personalities. I'm much more of an A type, you know, go out there and put your neck on the line and do whatever you can to win, but I think I would play it a little risky. I would try to be in control. And those people don't usually win.

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