When Tim Kennedy retired from professional MMA fighting in early 2017, he apologized to his wife for finding “another super dangerous thing” to fill his time.

And by the looks of it, the Green Beret and Texas Army National Guard soldier doesn’t plan on changing that sentiment any time soon.

Kennedy, who re-enlisted in Army Special Forces in April 2017, recently wrapped up filming an upcoming show on the Discovery Channel with a working title of “Hard to Kill.” In the show, he travels around the country to walk in the shoes of everyday people who risk their lives performing dangerous jobs.

“It’s somewhere between ‘Dirty Jobs’ meets ‘Fear Factor’ meets ‘Survivor,’” Kennedy told Military Times on April 26. “It shows inherently dangerous jobs people do every day that don’t really get attention.”

Kennedy, whose work on the History Channel’s “Hunting Hitler” series included trips to Europe and South America, said he and the Discovery Channel producers found extraordinary stories of survival on the job, including pilots living through crashes and cowboys recovering after being trampled by bulls.

The show puts Kennedy in some of these harrowing situations; as he put it, “We re-create it and see if I die.”

One example: The show re-tells the story of a bush pilot whose helicopter lost power and crashed into the Arctic Ocean. The pilot at the story’s center had to dive down to retrieve his survival equipment and fight off polar bears.

For the segment, Kennedy was dropped in the middle of the Arctic in a helicopter. As it sank, he had to swim out to an iceberg.

“That just sucks,” he said. “No matter how tough you are, that cold finds that quitter and that little bitch inside of you.”

Another segment put him at the base of a mountain as an avalanche approached.

“When you get turned upside down and you don’t know if you’re going to be able to take another breath, and the snow is creating an ice cocoon coffin and it’s pitch black and below freezing, it’s pretty unnerving,” he said.

Russ McCarroll, senior vice president of production and development at Discovery Communications, said having someone with Kennedy’s experience made the show a little easier to film.

“If we’d taken an individual and done this, we’d still be in the training phase and not shooting the show yet,” McCarroll told Military Times.

In other segments, Kennedy escapes a sinking boat that’s caught fire (he smashed a window, cut his leg on the glass and earned a hospital visit) and steps into a rodeo ring to distract a bull from a thrown rider.

It didn’t go well.

“[The bull rider] got hurt bad,” he said. “It’s real. That’s a real guy going to a real hospital to have real surgery to hopefully save his life.”


The show is “pretty raw,” Kennedy said, adding that it’s just him, some cameras and a couple of people who actually do the job.

“All these people that put food on the table and put gas in our cars and get oil in the center of the ocean and fly helicopters to the middle of nowhere,” Kennedy said. “And show how badass they are.”

The show consults experts and people who have lived through these experiences, but Kennedy does everything himself. He said he was drawn to the project because he knows so many people who do these extraordinary things that nobody knows about.

“They’re the real unknown silent heroes that do everything we take for granted,” he said. “I want [viewers] to appreciate the people they all take for granted ... maybe take a second and pause and appreciate everything that’s happened for our lives to be so easy.”

The six-episode first season will air on the Discovery Channel this summer, with a time slot and premiere date to be announced.

Charlsy is a Reporter and Engagement Manager for Military Times. Email her at cpanzino@militarytimes.com.

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