BIG NEWS and Sneak Peek – Tim Ferriss TV Show Debut 12/4


The debut of my TV show — “Trial by Fire” — will air this Thursday, 12/4, at 11pm ET/PT on The History Channel. It’s been two years in the making.

I’ve been told that the times are 11pm ET, 10pm CST, 9pm MT, and 11pm PST. Double check to be safe on the History Channel schedule.

This could very well be the only time you are able to see this show. It’s a pilot and not guaranteed to become a series, so please tune in and also Tivo!

In this post:

1) The concept

2) Live Q&A following show – join me after the broadcast to ask your questions and learn about how to pitch a TV show, the “reality” behind reality TV, behind-the-scenes details, omitted scenes, and more. The Q&A won’t make sense unless you’ve seen the broadcast.

3) Immediate competition and prize for rallying the troops (sooner is better)

The Concept

The concept is simple: I have one week to attempt to learn what is usually learned over 5-20 years. I either crash and burn — or survive by the skin of my teeth — in a final test (trial by fire) each time.

If it’s made into a series, which depends entirely on viewership numbers on Thursday night, I’ll deconstruct a new complex skill each week. It will show you exactly how I approach learning, and no fake TV drama will be required to make the stakes real.

This episode was shot in HD in Tokyo and the mountains of Nikko, where I rolled the dice on Japanese horseback archery, or yabusame: full gallop, no hands, no safety gear, with wooden poles lining the track on either side of the horse. Please don’t do this at home. I had access to the best in the world, and you’ll get to see some never-before-seen footage of a rare and brutal samurai sport few non-Japanese have ever attempted. The show preview is here.

Live Q&A After Broadcast Thursday

I’ll be holding a live Q&A on this blog after both broadcasts (11pm ET for ET, CST, MT; 11pm PT for PT). Note down questions during the show on things you’d like to know. No-holds-barred. Just keep an eye on this blog and my twitter page for more details.

Immediate Competition to Rally Troops

This is a one shot, one kill affair. To become a series, this show needs massive viewership on Thursday to prove to History Channel that people want more.

The competition, limited to the next 48 hours, is simple: promote the below links and leave a comment here with 1) what you did to spread the word, and 2) what challenge you think I should tackle next.

Some options: Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, blogs, FriendFeed, etc. Bonus points go to people who act sooner vs. later.

The links:

The preview (first choice):

This post (second choice, if video is removed):

Prize to best promoter: my favorite travel bag in the world, the $500 retail Victorinox Swiss Army 25″ Trek Pack Plus. I used an older version during my 15-country world trip in 2004, and the latest model is even better.

Thanks in advance for your help with spreading the word! More to come soon! Woohoo!

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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357 Replies to “BIG NEWS and Sneak Peek – Tim Ferriss TV Show Debut 12/4”

  1. Tim – you de man. This show will ROCK the planet. I’m an uber fan of your adventurous zest for life and whole “do your dream now” philosophy! 😉

    It was such a pleasure to meet you at BlogWorld – I just love who you BE.

    I’m spreading the word for your new TV show – it’s going to be a series, I’m sure of it!!! Here’s what I’ve done so far:

    * Tweeted multiple times to my fab 6500+ followers. 😉

    * Dugg & commented, Stumbled – both to FriendFeed.

    * Posted your YouTube video to Facebook, added your YouTube video to my favorites – pushes to FriendFeed. Commented on FriendFeed – goes back into feed.

    * Wrote on your Facebook wall; commented on your Facebook status update (goes into feed of my 5k friends).

    * Posted your YouTube video link in my Facebook status update.

    * Commented on the Facebook pic of you and myself taken at Blog World. (w00t!) – goes to News Feed.

    As for a challenge I’d love to see you tackle: Learn to play the bagpipes. lol! 😉

    Big hugs,



    + 1 for “learn a musical instrument”

    + Learn magic tricks.

    Basically, learning things that other people could actually go out and learn themselves.

    And in the far future, perhaps the student will become the master: You could do a show where you take a viewer and help *them* learn something.


    +1 for “how do you find teachers”.

    I suspect that convincing them to teach you is the easy part. (Nothing is more flattering or more fun than teaching a willing pupil. Most people don’t realize that a good teacher *loves* teaching. Our school system would be completely different if all students were there by choice. People would be begging to be teachers).

  3. Tim, you’re an animal.

    This is an awesome idea for a show and even if I don’t win the contest, I have a lot to gain with the show.

    So far I’ve posted this on my blog,

    added it to Facebook,

    “Digged It” (and had to join Dig to do it) I do it all for you man.

    “Buzz Up”ed it (again, had to sign up just for the contest)

    Posted it on Twitter (know one’s following me yet though) Hope I get points for trying

    And I’m going to send out a message to my list (newsletter).

    Here’s an my idea for a show. Learn the concepts/principles of constructing a hip hop song from a hip hop legend such as Jay Z or Eminem.

  4. Wow, lots of comments, good stuff! Also so happy and proud for you! 🙂

    I have posted an announcement on the 4HWW message board, the 4hwwfan myspace group, and my personal social networks as applicable. Also posting where I work – a big software company – (yes I still “work”) and instructing all to tune in!

    Tim – how do ratings work these days? Is “tuning in” going to count on satellite and cable? I have not read all the comments, sorry if this was addressed.

    Stoked to watch tomorrow and congrats! ~Marcie

  5. Tim,

    I’ll give you a link on my personal site, not huge, but getting around 10,000 hits a month right now. Great concept on the show, keep it up. You continue to be a great motivation for people to keep being innovative, and moving forward find new and different life experiences.

  6. YOU ROCK! 🙂 Cannot wait to see it! Sent out on Twitter, FB, MySpace, and my gmail accounts.

    Thoughts are with you! 🙂



  7. Love the idea! I’m rallying the troops (a.k.a. friends via word of mouth).

    PLUS: I’m giving my Masters in Information Systems (MSIS) presentation the day of your show but prior to (2pm CST) and since I use a quote on “efficiency” from your book I am also going to mention your show in the presentation. 🙂

    Good luck fellow life hacker!

    -Sincerely Life Hacker in training, always :o)

  8. Tim- last minute idea .. ask any of ur JV’s to help .. Jeff Johnson ( who is a fan of urs) and Eben Pagan .. they have huge lists. and post ur video to for $47 will reach ALL video sharing worldwide

    or if ur really desperate for immediate links – post to and sell for $1 and give away 100% commission, this will generate ‘000’s of d’loads in space of an hr.

    suspect video sharing is best way to go … good luck


  9. man…Tim, you have NO idea how cool it is you have a tv show. Ok, maybe you know it’s pretty cool. Either way, I’ve been a HUGE FAN of the four hour work week, and have been an avid follower of your blog for years. All I can say, is that I enjoy your written word (occasionally dotted w/ the vid), and that I’ll think the world will enjoy your tv show. I’m happy you’re getting a shot, and I’ll end up promoting your show to all my friends.

    Great job Tim, and you’ve actually changed my life.

  10. Sounds exciting. What’s next for Mr. Ferriss? I posted it on Facebook and am sending messages to friends and student groups. Good luck!

    I’m in the midst of law school finals. That’s a challenge for you: Ace law school in a week. Though it would probably make for some bad tv. 🙂

  11. Very cool concept for a show, Tim. I’ve just put out the word about it with a blog post on – most of our readers live in North America, so they should be able to enjoy the program.

    For you next challenge, how about the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling in the U.K.?

  12. Morning Tim,

    Surprised TLC channel didn’t pick the show up to become a series. If anyone knows what the Canadian timing for this is, please let me know! History channel in Canada doesn’t seem to have anything, did a title search, and came up with “trail and error”: the movie.


  13. You should develop a phobia (unless you have one already “in your pocket”) and then learn how to un-do it, quickly and permanently (though I suppose the permanent part would be hard to prove for a TV show but those of us that subscribe to your blog could follow along)….good luck with the show.

  14. Hey Tim,


    Sent the link to 221 members of my meetup group (Lifestyle Design – Living the Four Hour Work Week) that I founded (but don’t run anymore) and 1350 members of the NYC Original Chinese Language meetup that I joined when you motivated me to learn Chinese.

    I also hit the 67 people who follow me on twitter about my golf blog and the 21 friends in my facebook.

    Also have a friend tweeting it for me to his 1965 followers (FitBusinessman)

    See if I can come up with a few more before the day is out.


  15. Just added it to the wall of the Six Degrees of Seperation group on Facebook, there are 1,844,928 members.

    Also mentioned it to some of the big facebook players I am connected to, 1000+ guys, in my wall posts. Don’t know how many people are reading other peoples walls but what the heck.


  16. Hi Tim,

    This is John Graden, founder of The Martial Arts Teachers’ Association ( This show reminds me of the UK program, “Faking It,” which is a favorite of mine. It also ties in with my new book, “The Impostor Syndrome,” which is the feeling that you are faking it in life.

    I’ll blast this out to over 20,000 martial artists today and certainly will be tuning in. While my first instinct for a challenge is some kind of MMA gig, I have two better ideas:

    1. Train for a week and perform an authentic stage hypnosis show in Vegas.

    2. Train for a day with Neil Strauss (“The Game”) and go out into the field and number close a “Ten.” I’d say kiss close, but I think you are now married :0)

    Good luck. We’ll be watching.

    John Graden

  17. I can’t say my promotion style was original: I shared the video on facebook and through email. Unfortunately I’m living in Copenhagen at present, so running around sreaming wouldn’t work so well. I realize it won’t win a bag, and that’s fine–I just want to see this show take off so I can see what you do and learn from your example.

    As for what you could do in another episode, here are two of my ideas:

    -Master an uncommon musical instrument, like a Swedish nyckelharpa (I saw one played in Budapest, and it was one of the most amazing instruments I’ve ever seen)

    -Learn parkour (if your experience is like mine, you will be sore for a long time after trying to learn this quickly)

  18. Wow man. You’re one interesting fellow. I soaked up your book in about 6 hours and like most of your ideas. This show is going to be interesting, even though I don’t watch television, because it’s really challenging to just jump in head first in to something you have no idea about. Good luck.

  19. Great stuff Tim. Looking forward to the show.

    Alright, regarding the competition:

    – I posted both the youtube video link and this blog entry link on 300+ (three hundred) social news sites in the entartainment, lifestyle, tv shows and cool stuff categories.

    You can see the full list here

    – Dugg it

    – Changed my MSN status/phrase

    – Emailed it to all my contacts

    – Posted on forums

    – I’m telling all my friends about it

    – Talking on IRC about it

    Challenge: Learn some urban ninja/blade running skills!

  20. Updated my Facebook status to the link for the preview, this was actually far more effective than i thought it would be. I had several people talking to me the next day about how the show looks cool.

    Next I started a facebook group, which pitched not only the show, but also the competition. I think you’re right when you say that the best way to get people involved is to give them something to look forward to. I will have to tweak my technique, since the response from this wasn’t as great as I’d hoped, but I’m sure that in the future it will be. I stated that if the group had 10,000 members by 9:59 I’d donate my next paycheck to some charitable foundation, but that didn’t really excite people, since the group now has 38 members.

    I also mentioned the show in a speech I was giving in my public speaking class. THe speech was about the new trend in life hacking and focused heavily on both the Life hacker websites and four hour work week.

    Finally I sent out an e-mail to everyone in my contact list stating the basic information about the show, when its on, what channel, etc, and included links to both the blog and the video.

  21. My TIVO is set and ready to go. TIVO is really having to work its arse off to remain my favorite gadget now that I have a Roomba and Scooba.

    Next feat: Become a Vegas showgirl

  22. Great show idea! Will be checking it out tonight. Thanks for the heads up!

    I sent your email & announcement to approx 100 friends…or at least I hope they like me!

    Good luck!

  23. Don’t worry Tim. If they don’t pick up your pilot you can mobilize your massive online army to email & call them until they realize the errors of their ways.

  24. HEY TIM!

    I triple dog dare ya to perform A CIRQUE DE SOLEIL act , prime example would be:

    Hope you muster the strength and confidence to challenge it.

    Good luck!


    FYI: History Channel Profile is: Skewed to 35+ age group, slight male bias (59%), 86% High Income, 94% LSM 8-10*

    Suggested target market: DStv Adults, male bias


    Made a contact with a Co. that handles terrestrial as well as satellite commercial airtime sales and on-air sponsorship across a variety of dynamic media brands. Someone there agreed to assist me. Am taking their advice to top this competition, hope I get it in time for the deadline. If not, I give props to the best promoter.

    Wishing everyone the best,


  25. Tim,

    Looking forward to the show! Do you fall off the horse?

    Promoted on 2+2 forums, twitter (updated to my blog) and facebook. Will be watching with the girlfriend!



  26. I know the 7000+ student list I emailed isn’t the typical target audience but with finals coming up next week I’m sure my email heading and description will entice them to watch:

    – Barely study 3 days and get an A on all your finals??

    So you didn’t go to class as much as you should have and you REALLY need an A on your finals, but don’t have time to study??

    Well, watch Trial By Fire on the History Channel this Thursday, December 4th, at 11PM EST and let Tim Ferriss show you how to master anything (like all your finals) in 3 days or less.

    He will show you how to Deconstruct, Streamline, and Re-map your way to A after A after A.

    You can see the trailer here:

    Be apart of something great and watch the History Channel this Thursday.



    I’ve gotten amazing responses from everyone I see on campus!! It seems to have really worked. Tonight’s the night people!!!

  27. Hi Tim,

    I’m a big fan and REALLY want to see your show.

    The problem is, I’m from Belgium and I don’t have “history channel” on my television here. I went to the history channel site and saw that people in Belgium can watch the channel. However, I think you need to pay an extra.

    I put in my nickname on msn and facebook to ask if ANYBODY has History channel and response is all negative. I also called some friends and family to ask.

    Guess it will be impossible to watch the show here in Belgium?


    Good luck with the show!


  28. Tim,

    Good luck to you. Looks very interesting. Here’s what I was able to do for you:

    TOTAL IMPRESSIONS: 1742 People ;

    Emailed everyone on my email list: 599 recipients;

    Status on facebook: 411 Friends;

    Told girl to facebook status and wall post: 630 Friends;

    Updated my blog: 2 subscribers (haha);

    Asked friend to place on her blog: (should be at least 100 subscribers);

    I’m supporting you because I believe what you do can help a lot people.

    Next Idea for Challenge: Mastering the skill of Communicating with the opposite sex. This can involve dating, courting, or the often difficult task of managing serious male-female relationships.

  29. We upgraded to HD a few weeks ago and although I had a hunch the DVR is included, I had never actually checked – until now! SCORE! DVR is set and I’ll be watching you in HD at 11pm. 🙂

  30. Tim,

    Congratulations and much success for the broadcasting and debut of your show. I read your book in September and I still carry it around with me in my backpack. As for promoting your show, I’m not sure if I did this correctly (I am by no means tech savvy) but it was worth a shot. I belong to a for profit organization that launched in June of this year, however it has grown by leaps and bounds. Here is one of their marketing tools called “Automated Marketing Center.” I have cut and paste what this system does

    ” Our Automated Marketing Center is a powerful marketing tool that allows you to automatically spread the word about your business, book or personal with millions of potential customers. Our system allows you to upload your press release, article, blog or ad and broadcast it to our partner websites that receive over 73.2 million unique monthly visitors.

    Our scientifically-designed process helps you gain significant online visibility and traffic to your web site. Then we will syndicate and update your message on hundreds and thousands of social media sites worldwide. And do it again. And again. Until you own your market.”

    Due to the fact that I broadcasted this information today, I know that it may reach others late, however if it promotes you, your book or website, then it served it’s purpose. I will now email and post your link on facebook. Hope it works!!

    As for a suggestion, why don’t you do a “Dancing With The Stars” theme but instead of the star being trained by the professional, you (the tango record holder) choose one of your fans to train in a week!!

  31. Hi Tim,

    Awesome idea. I love these kinds of shows. I can’t get the history channel but I will look for it. I wish you much luck on a successful series.

    I would like to nominate myself as your trusty sidekick on the show’s adventures. I could provide the clumsy comic relief and make you look really, really good.

    Cheers, and good luck.


  32. Posted the news on 3 personal development forums…. should get me the prize, eh?

    BTW- next task should be a mental thing, not physical. While I would be partial to business type task (buying a house- no-money down, in a strange town, something like that), others may want you to solve a crypotgram in a dunk tank. Don’t make it? Down you go……

  33. My wife rolls her eyes every time I mention you, so I may have to TiVo to watch on the sly. And while I don’t have as large an audience as many of your fans, I’ve still updated my Facebook (robertkelen) and Twitter (rkelen) pages to spread the word.

    Keep up the great work!

    And as a possible next challenge? How about a piano concerto at Carnegie Hall (streamlining the ‘practice, practice, practice’ part)

  34. Totally awesome! I’d love to see how you learn a Samurai art in just one week (or if you or anyone can). If so, that’s more proof that our limits are just figments of our imaginations.

  35. Looking forward to it. I posted the link on twitter, friendfeed, facebook.

    I also sent a link out on friendfeed that will let TiVo users record it directly.

  36. Next skill: How ’bout some ultra difficult freestyle soccer moves? (the trial might be a “fight” against a pro)

  37. “Princeton”

    Tim, I enjoyed your talk today at Princeton (I was the one who asked about corporate blogging). Since I found out about the promotion competition after it was already about 36 hrs into it, I figured I would need to be pretty creative if I wanted to compete. Rather than promote your show, I decided to promote your promotion. That is, promote other people to compete for the prize, which in doing so is actually makes their referrals indirect referrals by me. I made up a little figure to help explain: This creates a domino effect that links a huge amount of last minute rallying to me.

    Facebook Ad ($200 limit for today only, up to 1,000,000 impressions):




    Lifehacker comment:

    Facebook Link and Status (of course)


    Laughing Squid comment:

  38. Great show concept! I’ve actually been studying techniques of efficient learning so this show feels like it was designed just for me! Can’t wait to see it.

    I left a comment on my Facebook page with a link to the preview. Don’t have many friends on there yet as I just started using it but a few of my friends are what Malcolm Gladwell would call connectors, so I hope it helps spread the word.

    Ideas for future episodes:

    learning a musical instrument

    some corporate job that people think requires years of knowledge and experience

    any olympic event

    poker or some type of card game


  39. Forgot to add my next challenge – Space. Low orbit flights aren’t far off, teachers go on the shuttle. Make it happen


  40. If History Channel doesn’t pick up the show you should shop it around. Who knows, Revision3 doesn’t have anything like this. It could be a cool web based show also if things don’t work out with the History Channel.

    Can’t wait to tune in tonight!

  41. Hi,

    It was an interesting talk that you gave today!

    Anyway, I tried to promote your show by targeting the top 13 business schools in the US as I figured they are the ones who have read your book and have been impressed with your achievements thus far.

    With the help of friends from various universities, I was able to send out personalized emails with information about your show to the business, entrepreneurship, finance,…societies at the top 13 business schools in US.

    In addition, I also sent emails to the top 3 business schools in Singapore.

    Lastly, I’ve also used facebook’s status update to promote your show (I have 725 friends) and have just set up a facebook group for you.

    Let me know if you would like to look at the draft of the emails 🙂


  42. Tim, super excited for your show tonight!

    Just saw the post now, so I’m sure it’s too little too late but here goes

    Emailed friends, posted to Facebook, MySpace, Propeller, Digg, Del.ic.ious, Technorati, Stumble Upon, Twitter, Furl, Mr. Wong, Indian Pad, Google Bookmarks and A1 Wemarks.

    Although I’m sure people have done a lot more and are more deserving of the bag, just wanted to let you know you’ve got tons of support. I’m sure the show will do awesome. Best of luck tonight, I’ll be watching for sure!

  43. I posted on several Reality TV forums —,,…

    Just have a suggestion for a tagline should your show be syndicated/serialized! Something along the lines of:

    “He works 4 hours a week. What does he do with the other 164?”


    “He works 4 hours a week. What does he do the rest of the time?”

    Since your book is really famous, I thought it would be nice to play up a numerical theme of sorts.

    No real suggestion for challenges, but I do hope that you don’t go the way of David Blaine, ie. pointless stunts.

    Either way, the show’s premise seems pretty cool. Best of luck!

  44. So what are the “brutal consequences” that you will suffer if you don’t pass the test?

    By the way, if this show doesn’t work out, I’d love to see something that documents your travels and your attempts to learn cerebral and physical things (whether tv show, book, website or whatever).

    Best of luck!

  45. Hi Everyone,

    1) 1.5 million reached in 1 hour 20 mins, w/ an iPhone

    Just to preface, the tools at my disposal for this competition were an iPhone and 1 hour & 20 mins of spare time, that’s about it (no tethering, laptop, or even good reception). I managed to reach around 1.5 million Americans about you, the book and the new show with that 1:20 total time invested (18,750 people per minute).

    I was in the middle of rural Illinois on a hunting trip with my brothers and father, I read the blog via my phone last night and knew I had some time on the road trip home to come up with something. After considering the best use of time and resources and some web searching on my phone (about 20 mins), I called into the nationally syndicated Dennis Miller radio show. It’s in the top 35 by listeners at ~1.5M and was one of the few with a program mix fitting both your book and show (considered Mike&Mike and others but just not best fit) radio facts here . Riding through IL I waited on hold (aprox 1 hour) and really thought the signal would drop in those hills, but by 11:30 CST I was asking Dennis Miller his take on your techniques and how a 4HWW has worked pretty good for you. He asked me to catch him up to speed and in one minute or so I recapped your outlook, spoke of #1 spots and the new show. He made a light hearted joke about working 4 hours and we were done. Not the most detailed pitch, but hey I’m on the road, didn’t even have full internet access here. And I didn’t see the post until the night before, and basically thought it over before hitting bed early for the drive home, and got it all done this morning BEFORE lunch as you say in the book. Imagine what we could have got done with 7 days notice!

    2) Your Next Challenge

    I say hold your own with a professional in the game of Jai-Alai, see here . If I remember right there was an episode of Jackass where they took a few in the legs using Oranges as a ball, intense. I also vote with pro bull riding and whoever mentioned commodity trading (heck, lately even pro’s in latter don’t know what to do).

    Anyway, I made it home to Louisiana just in time to post this entry on a friends dial-up connection (yes terrible I know) and get to the TV for the show. Looking forward to it, hope I’m seeing ya every week on History channel! Launching a few muses in next 2 weeks (been prepping since July) and looking forward to some good times.

    Many Thanks,

    J. Raley

  46. “Team Tim” has done serious guerilla marketing for this pilot!

    For my contribution, I:

    Sent messages to 300+ friends on facebook

    Have it in my status bar

    Have it on my profile

    Posted a bulletin on myspace for my 250+ friends

    Posted the message on my profile

    I just finished sending out 250+ emails, too, which I had to copy and paste in batches and with at least an hour in between because Yahoo! wouldn’t let me as a precautionary spam measure.

    Posted on Twitter.

    Posted on my Skype.

    And IMed and Skype-IMed like crazy about it…

    … because I like it! I really hope it becomes a series. And, because of 4HWW, I really respect Tim’s mind.

    I did feel like a weenie doing it. ha ha But I’ve also laid down in public several times, alone, so it doesn’t really matter.

    Have a great show!

  47. Tim,

    Since the show just ended (awesome by the way, glad you found your konjo), I figured I would fill you in on what I did for the competition. First of all, if the competition was to get word out about the show to as many people as possible, I’m not sure if I came out on top. However, you mentioned today that the actual challenge was to “get the most eyeballs on the TV show.” Since the History Channel will only be able to measure how many people actually watched the show, that is what I had in mind when promoting it. So here’s what I did:

    First, I tackled some basic Princeton avenues. I know that a bunch of people in my eating club delete club emails on sight, so I printed flyers out for the show instead and brought them to dinner. Also, 99% of people eat at the club on Thursday nights for Member’s Dinner (booze), and I thought this would hit more people. I also got access to another club’s email (since I couldn’t do the flyer thing there), and this was especially good since the club has a bunch of athletes in it (definitely interested in your type of show). Other than that, I didn’t focus on Princeton too much: kids here don’t have time to watch TV!

    My second step was to penetrate other schools. I did this by creating my own facebook status message, but also enlisting a bunch of my close friends to both watch the show and put up the same status message for friends at their school to see. This got some promotions into bigger schools like Arizona State, Michigan, Boston University, etc. I have screenshots and numbers too if you need them.

    My final “mass media” move was to post in a couple of the largest facebook groups around. So I posted in the Colbert group (thought you would find that funny) which has over 1,000,000 people, and also the Petition Against Shutting Facebook Down group which has over 2,000,0000 people.

    This is where I got a little more focused with the promotions. I saw an earlier post where someone posted your links on a bunch of blog sites, news sites, etc., but I wasn’t convinced that this would really hit your target audience. So, I went to YouTube to do some posting. I started with the Top 20 most watched videos and made posts. This wasn’t specific enough though, so I started searching for videos from shows in the same adventure genre as yours: Man vs. Wild, Survivorman, Human Weapon, Fight Quest, Mythbusters, and other Discover and History Channel shows. I made posts on the most popular of these videos (approximately 50+ posts in total), because I think the view post/watch ratio will be MUCH higher because these are people already interested in your type of show.

    The next thing I did was go to the History Channel website to check out their forums. They have a bunch, and so I made a post in the ‘History Now’ forum, and by 11PM the post had gotten 25 views and a few replies. I also made posts in the ‘On TV’ forum, which has show listings for discussion (not yours yet, unfortunately). So, I went to a couple of the shows that are on before Trial By Fire, and made posts in those forums to stay tuned for your show: my Modern Marvels post had 20 views and my Cities of the Underworld (right before your show) post had 32 views before 11PM. These aren’t huge numbers obviously, but I think that these views are from people who are now actually going to be watching your show. In the ‘History Now’ forum I even got into a comment battle with one person who wasn’t convinced about the show. I think he/she may actually watch it now, if only to argue against my support on the discussion board. Whatever works, right?

    With regard to what I think you should try next, I have two suggestions, one physical and one non-physical (well, semi-physical):

    The physical trial would be to become a master at using the sniper rifle. Have a professional sniper determine some sort of skills challenge that only a professional would be able to perform. Bust the skills challenge.

    The semi-physical trial would be to train your wine tasting skills up to the level of a sommelier. (I’ve always been skeptical of this skill, so it would be cool if you could bust it).

    Definitely shooting for that prize, but either way I had fun participating in the challenge. Thanks for the opportunity and the lecture today.


    Alex (Princeton)

  48. Just watched your new show “Trial by Fire”. LOVED IT!!!!

    Superb!! BRAVO!!

    THis show kept me glued to the tube. TIm has a wonderfu way with explaining what he is doing. When he hit those targets I yelled out loud!

    Right on!

    Will now get his book. I really like this guy!

    Hope for more shows to come.

  49. Tim – great show. My wife and I just finished watching it. I put the link to the preview on my blog. Admittedly my blog is reaching a micro audience of my friends…

    But I have an idea for a future Trial By Fire (hoping there are future episodes): Master a modern grand prix car over a series of laps at a grand prix track.

    The BBC show Top Gear sent Richard Hammond to do that a few seasons ago. He drove the world championship winning Renault, and proved once for all what beasts these machines are. The balance of every component from driver to the temperature of the brakes must be managed perfectly just to execute a turn, or even rolling off from a standstill. It’s a beautiful thing – human skill showcased through engineering and extreme talent, control and courage.

    Good luck with the History Channel, hope it takes off.

  50. Good job! I just watched your show. I sent facebook messages to my friends and updated my status to promote your show since I didn’t have enough time to do a lot of fancy stuff. I also called a few close friends. So far I got 4 screenshots (another friend was over in London and couldnt watch it but he watched the youtube clip)…I will let you know if I get more later. In any case, keep the challenges going!

  51. Tim –

    I really enjoyed your talk today in class – thank you for coming down.

    I took you up on the challenge and publicized your show. Since 4pm today, I have collected a list of 88 people and their contact information who correspond to 88 different TVs that either tuned into your show or recorded it. While I did reach out directly and indirectly to many more than 88 people, all who I think for one reason or other would be interested in your show, I managed to get confirmation from 88. Please email me and I ill forward you the list of people and a further explanation.

    It was awesome getting to meet you today and good luck with the show!

  52. Tim,

    I did not Tweet your show… That is, until I watched it tonight. You can know that as of now I will be Evangelizing your new adventure… Trial by Fire. GREAT WORK. I hope to see many more episodes. You have been mentoring me from a distance for the past year. Keep moving forward.

    Have you thought about the olympics? I have long thought about finding an event that may be “deconstructed” so that you or I may be able to compete with the worlds greatest athletes. I have a few events in mind. I would love to work with you to add GOLD MEDAL to your little intro teaser!!!

    Take care

  53. Excellent show! I hope it is a success for you! Let us know if History picks it up or where to tell them “Yay, More!”

  54. Hey Tim!

    Great talk today in Prof. Zschau’s class. I was really inspired by a lot of what you said, and found a lot of your advice (particularly about seeking and reaching out to mentors) very helpful.

    I like how you stayed true to form and essentially outsourced the task of promoting your new show to fans of your blog and my classmates! I decided to use a similar approach in promoting Trial by Fire and getting “as many eyeballs” as possible.

    The first thing I did was start with my immediate community – Princeton’s campus. I sent emails out to the 3 clubs I am most involved in, which include the Pre-Business Society, Club Lacrosse Team and the Slow Food Club. Being a top officer of 2 of the three clubs, I have good faith that my emails did not go unnoticed, as people are more likely to pay attention to something sent out by the President of the club than just a random member. I have screenshots of the emails as well as of the listserve account that shows how many members are on each email list. Rough estimate of the number of people reached by this method is ~600.

    I also reached out to the eating clubs. Aside from emailing my club, I had friends send out emails to two other eating clubs. This should also have reached about 600 students. I tried to focus on clubs that matched your expected viewer demographic, with a high male membership, interest in athletics, and people that tend to be more social and adventurous.

    Next I considered trying to expand my campaign nationally. I contacted well-connected friends at various universities across the US via phone and email/IM/facebook and asked them to send out emails to the biggest groups on campus (frats, sports teams) as well as class email lists. I wanted to reach out to schools in different parts of the US working under the assumption that the History Channel would also monitor viewer location. I managed to get the word out at UCSD, Stanford, Berkeley, Univ of Missouri, WashU, LSU, and BC. I have a screenshot of a message from a friend at Stanford as an example.

    I next focused on social-networking sites. Obviously, I started with facebook. I created a facebook “event” that advertised the show and featured the youtube clip, and sent invites to every one of my 1200+ friends. I also asked my friends to invite THEIR friends to the event, thereby creating a domino effect and expanding the network beyond my immediate contacts. This resulted in over 3000 people being sent invitations to the event. I have screenshots of the facebook event which show you the number of people invited as proof.

    I posted the youtube link to my facebook status, as I felt this was less gimmicky than a shout-out directly promoting the show. Studies have shown that people like to “discover” cool things on their own rather than have it shoved in their face, so my idea was to cater to people’s curiosity which would lead them to click on the youtube link. I also think the video is really eye-catching and lets the show sell itself.

    While I am a member of twitter, I don’t have many followers yet, but I have friends that do, so I asked them to tweet about the show.

    I also tried to reach out to the (few) “high-profile” friends I have, such as people involved in the movie industry, past olympians, DJs, etc. because they have credibility and more of a fan-base than I do.

    I considered commenting on videos related to your show’s genre (mythbusters, man vs. wild) that are featured on internet-tv sites such as YouTube,, Surf the Channel, and TV Links, but after a few posts I realized this would not help much considering the very limited time-frame we had for the competition and opted to use my time more wisely, by promoting the facebook invites.

    I REALLY would have liked to get Gary Vaynerchuk give you a shout-out in a winelibrarytv video but the timeframe was to short. He is just so good at getting people fired up.

    All in all I had a lot of fun promoting the show, and rewarded myself by watching it! I liked the mix of physical/mental challenge, cultural exploration, and action, all of which I think make it a show that many people can watch (well, maybe except Martha Stewart fans). Since everyone has been posting suggestions for your next challenge, I thought of a few. From my completely unexperienced perspective, I think it’s important to tie in a cultural component with each challenge, to keep your show from just being an sensationalist “look what i can do” type of thing or everyday adventure show. I think people these days are more aware of globalization and are curious to learn about other cultures/societies. Along this train of thought, you could try to master Spanish bull-fighting, a tribal ritual from Papua New Guinea, or Brazilian Capoeira.

    Anyway, I’m really excited to follow the progress of your show and I’m especially looking forward to your next book! As I mentioned when talking to you yesterday, if you need a guinea pig, just ask!

    Best of luck,


  55. Hey Tim,

    here’s the next challenge: in one week you are to find a way to make your show viewable from anywhere on the planet for a fee…maybe with that internet tubes thing ?? It will end there in crappy quality anyway.

    D’you see what I mean ? How the heck are we supposed to watch your show from, say, Europe ? We’re missing all the fun ?!

    Will you be selling DVDs at least ?

  56. Is there any chance this will come out in the UK? (Or anywhere online?). I’d definitely be tuning in to watch it! 😀

    I’ve Tweeted it (About how much I wish it will come to the UK!).

    As an idea, I’d love to see how you learnt about a new city you were travelling to for the first time. Would take years to get used to one for most people, but as you travel a lot, do you have a good way of getting to grips with a new place? 🙂

  57. Hi Tim.

    I missed the show last night so is there anyway I can view it online?? Did anyone record it and post it to youtube??

  58. I used:

    Twitter and sent e-mails out to all friends/family in the U.S. as well as ??, I also used affiliate marketing blogs and my own sites to promote. I loved the first show and I can’t wait to see the upcoming shows!!

  59. Hey Tim! So Glad to hear you have a new show on History Channel:

    This is what I did to promote your show:

    1. Posted an event on facebook inviting all my friends to come watch the show at my dorm (About 8 showed up)

    2. Posted a few fliers in different bathrooms across campus advertising the show (Made a quick B/W page with the details of the show)

    3. Created a MySpace Blog on why I think people should watch the show and the details…

    Thats it for now!! I love guerilla marketing and this is a similar technique I have used to promote my websites before! Hope this helps


  60. Great show last night. When the show get picked up, I’ve got a few suggestions for tough skills to learn in a week: the first would be skateboarding vert. You could learn from Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist, or any other famous vert skater to help boost ratings, and then compete or do a demo at an actual competition (like an X-Games qualifier).

    Also you could try your hand at balance with my favorite, flatland BMX.

    I was also thinking about the circus if you wanted to try a little trapeze, lion taming, or riding a motorcycle around the Ball of Death!

  61. One of the best shows I’ve watched all year. I wish I still had the youth for this. Having played Judo most of my adult life (34 years), it was easy for me to follow along with the customs of the Japanese and I could feel the tention of the first two passes with your instructors, then also the elation they must have felt. A very well thought out and well put together show.

    Domo Arigato!

  62. Hey Tim

    You said you recomended a book on learning last night but I didn’t get the name. What was the name of the book ?

    Awsome show last night.

  63. Tim,

    I’m a great fan of yours, following your diet and workout plan (1st week and lost a waist size already!) Thanks for everything!

    Unfortunately, I was unable to catch the pilot, and would like to add in my vote for some sort of way to catch it online. Thanks!

  64. Tim – Finally finished watching the show today. Kick ass! Really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next episode.

  65. Loved the show and thanks for chatting with me too, appreciate it. I’m rethinking my whole way of approaching things, very inspired.

  66. I don’t have cable, but I did notice it was just posted in alt.binaries.boneless for those in my position as well. I’ll watch it when I get home tonight, sounds pretty badass.

  67. I would’ve thought they’d reject someone trying to squeeze a lifetime skill set into a week on principle, but if you got them to give you a chance more power to you.

  68. Watched—this afternoon—the show I taped. (Don’t know if a taped viewing helps the ratings, though.) The little tidbits about what’s at the crux of learning were fascinating (rehearsing slowly, Tim duplicating his scuba movements, etc. ) And I have to say, I loved Tim’s book, but I also thought BrainQuicken was snake oil (I’m still suspicious) and that Tim was probably a snake oil salesman. But in the show (and the bit of his internet chat I watched last night) , he came across as a very down-to-earth person, and not at all slick. Anyway, I’d definitely watch future TRIAL BY FIRE shows, so I hope it gets a run.