The new A&E series “Nature Gone Wild” takes viewers into the extremes of the great outdoors.
Premiering Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 10 p.m., the show is hosted by professional mountain guide and explorer Greg Aiello, who previously hosted “Outside with Greg Aiello” on PBS and “Motion” on the now-defunct Livewell Network.
On “Nature Gone Wild,” Aiello shows viral clips of animal attacks, natural disasters and other outdoor phenomena before contextualizing them with his expert commentary and analysis.
Aiello, 50, answered some questions for The Post about the series.
Your career started in the TV industry — how did you go from that to exploring?
Throughout my 20s and up to my early 30s, I worked at affiliate TV stations around the country doing promotional work. Then I just decided that it wasn’t for me. I was using all my sick days and holidays to be in the mountains. That’s where I grew up — outside of Yosemite — so I jumped off that track and got a job as a mountain guide. I went full-time guiding for seven to eight years. My brother was in the TV promotion world, too. When Disney/ABC launched what they called the Livewell Network in 2008, they were starting a group of new shows and we came up with one that was sort of an adventure/travel show called “Motion.”
How did you come up with the concept of “Nature Gone Wild”?
Everybody has a camera on their phone now, so we’re seeing things that have always been happening, but we’re seeing them play out a lot more now. There’s everything from close encounters with tornadoes and lightning and mudslides to bears, crocodiles, angry swans. It’s a cool show because we take you through the emotions. You’ll be laughing really hard at one segment and completely gripped by other ones. I give my breakdown of what happened, what went right and what went wrong. We keep the flow of information coming. There’s a lot of layers to it.
Have you yourself had encounters with wild animals that have made you nervous?
I’ve probably forgotten about a few, I’ve had so many. I’ve had hundreds of bear encounters. I did get stalked for about a mile by a full-grown mountain lion [when] I was by myself hiking in the snow. And then I’ve had really beautiful experiences. I’ve gotten to ride on the back of a whale shark.
What’s a common misconception about your line of work?
That it’s easy. Mountain guiding, where I got my chops, is one of the more difficult jobs because you wear so many hats. I’m your medic and your marriage counselor. That part is a ton of hard work. I like to think I’ve paid my dues over the years, that I have a bunch of information and experience for people to draw upon.
What advice would you give to would-be first-time explorers?
The first thing I would say is that if you’re watching the show, don’t let that be the complete indicator about what to expect out there. It’s not like you’re going to put on your backpack and then get swept up by a tornado and chased by a crocodile. That’s probably not going to happen. We’re showing a lot of extremes, but I don’t want people to be afraid of the outdoors. We belong out there. It’s more of a part of us than most people tend to remember. Start slow and easy [and] start close to your house. Go to your local parks. Take baby steps.