Type keyword(s) to search

Recommended: Snake in the Grass on USA Network

Survivor meets The Mole, successfully scratching several itches at once.
  • Malcolm Freberg, Yul Kwon, Earl Cole, Jeff Zausch and Bobby Bones in an image from the premiere episode of Snake in the Grass. (Photo: Chase Bjornson/USA Network)
    Subscribe to Primetimer's Recommended newsletter and get our guide to the very best series, movies and specials in your inbox every Friday.
    Snake in the Grass | USA Network
    Hourlong Reality Competiton Series

    What's Snake in the Grass About?

    Four contestants are dropped onto a tropical beach and given a series of tasks, all while one of them is working to sabotage the group. If the others can figure out who's the "snake" by episode's end, they'll take home a cash prize. If they can't, the saboteur gets the money.

    Who's involved?

    • Radio DJ and American Idol mentor Bobby Bones serves as the show's host. Bones also won Season 27 of Dancing with the Stars.
    • The pilot features four recognizable contestants: Yul Kwon, winner of Survivor: Cook Islands; Malcolm Freberg, a fan favorite who's been on Survivor three times; Earl Cole, winner of Survivor: Fiji; and Jeff Zausch, an extreme survivalist who's starred on shows like Naked and Afraid. Subsequent episodes feature other alums from Survivor, Big Brother, and Naked and Afraid.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    We're in the midst of an interesting era for reality competition series, with quite a few shows on different networks mixing and matching contestants and formats. CBS's The Challenge: USA is currently the highest profile entry in this subgenre, but USA's Snake in the Grass continues the trend. It's part Survivor and part The Mole, and features a handful of reality stars you'll likely recognize if you're a fan of the genre.

    The first episode features three Survivor veterans in Yul, Earl, and Malcolm, all fan favorites who aren't known for being particularly devious. They're dropped in a tropical jungle with Jeff Zausch from Naked and Afraid, who immediately establishes himself as the biggest, most aggressive personality on the island. And that's where the strategy of the game immediately kicks in — is Jeff being loud and domineering because he's got an agenda to hide? Is Yul using his niceness as a front? Did Earl make a dumb mistake in the first challenge because he's being really obvious about being a snake, or was that move a red herring?

    Snake in the Grass isn't as brainy as The Mole was in terms of sussing out clues — the periodic hints are in rhyming cadence but aren't exactly impenetrable riddles that need to be solved — but the gamesmanship of figuring out who is too obvious a suspect and who is so obvious that they're hiding in plain sight proves to be a fun spiral of suspicion.

    The one-off episodic structure also helps crank up the energy. Upcoming segments will feature Survivor alums Cirie Fields and Stephanie LaGrossa and Big Brother fan favorites Janelle Pierzina and Rachel Reilly, among a cast that will include reality newcomers as well. The Yul/Earl/Malcolm/Jeff foursome is relatively low on histrionics, which is an interesting choice for a premiere episode, but the series trailer promises more aggressive and accusatory game play in episodes to come.

    Pairs well with

    • Survivor, the godfather of this entire genre, from whom the show draws several alums. (Streaming on Paramount+.)
    • Discovery's Naked and Afraid, from which the show borrows its (more meager) survivalist aspects. (Streaming on Discovery Plus and Hulu)
    • The Mole, ABC's incredibly satisfying series about sabotage, group dynamics, and embedded clues that was the brainac's reality show of choice in the genre's formative years. (Streaming on Netflix.)

  • Snake in the Grass
    Sneak peaks on NBC Monday July 26th at 10:00 PM ET. Airs on USA Monday nights at 11:00 PM ET starting August 1.
    Starring: Bobby Bones, Yul Kwon, Malcolm Freberg, Earl Cole, and Jeff Zausch.

    TOPICS: Snake in the Grass, USA Network, Bobby Bones, Earl Cole, Jeff Zausch, Malcolm Freberg, Yul Kwon