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. Watched the show today. Thought it was very interesting…but would like to see the next episode doing something that more people can relate to…as I’m sure most had never heard of the sport you showcased. It was cool to see you speak Japanese though!

  2. Update: purely to spite me, the person on the History Channel forum did watch your show in its entirety. Just thought you would appreciate that the human version of the Grinch tuned in last night. Probably not a repeat viewer, though….

  3. Love this idea Tim. I wanna see you do sumo wrestling, wushu, free running, capoera, muay thai and more. How about a guest episode where you go up against an Iron Chef? I am telling all my friends about this.


  4. I really dig the premise of the show. To promote it, I told everyone at work about it, including my boss, who first introduced me to (where I heard about the show). I also made my girlfriend watch the show, in its entirety, with me.

    First off, congrats on accomplishing your goal for the first episode. It definitely seemed like a monumental task for one week. And what’s with the Japanese that they feel their stirrups need to be crafted like that?!

    Secondly, please redirect the thinking of or fire whoever’s responsible for the “filler” on the show. The hazy, distorted scenes where they replay clips we’ve already seen with high-tension music playing are boring and completely unnecessary. If nothing else, force the person that created them to sit through the scenes strung together, end-to-end. Let them realize what they’ve done, like a puppy with a piddle. My suggestion is to replace them with random or related-to-the-episode lifehacking tips/info. Plug a book, blog, or person. Anything will be better than those silly scenes that really made the hour-long show feel like an hour.

    Lastly, good luck on getting the show picked up. I really hope to see it continue for my personal edutainment. Can’t wait to see what comes up in the next episode!

  5. One more thing: my girlfriend has promised to hold it against me if she has to watch another episode filled with those hazy scenes. Since we only have one tv without a dvr and we make sure to watch together when we do, this is a real issue. Please allow for online viewing or remove the filler, for my relationship’s sake!

  6. Also, if the show gets picked up anywhere else (other stations) could you let me know so I can update the article? Would appreciate it, glad to do whatever I can to keep a quality show like this on the air.

  7. Man, I was a day late and a dollar short on catching this. Tim, is there a contact at the History Channel to hit up for a rebroadcast? I’d really like to see it.

  8. Tim, I enjoyed “Trial by Fire” immensely. I watched it last night (12/5) and again today with my wife. Your uncle, Bruce Ferriss, told me about it and I recorded it and made him a DVD since he was flying that day.

    Good luck in the future.

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  10. Tim,

    I put my comment here because I just want this on the record. THANK YOU!

    Yesterday, somewhere between REREADING 4 hour Work Week page 30 – 50 or so) and putting up Christmas decorations with my Handyman shortly thereafter…I found my courage again! It all clicked!

    I read your book in early January when I was ready to take a leap of faith and switch businesses to follow the call of my heart. I started with anticipation and then I became paralyzed. I couldn’t seem to do the business I was in for 12 years or find a way to monetize what I truly loved doing. So I went through most of the year, hitting and missing, feeling utterly low in spirit (and income).

    Reading it yesterday, having experienced some growing pains (after the blend of high hopes and valley experiences) helped me to get crystal clear again. I could actually see how much I’d grown (and been stuck this year)

    Now that I know where I am and what I was thinking, I know exactly what I will do and I have products (information) Ito empower others. And the one benefit is that I am clear on buiding the system to support it and transform my life. This morning I’m researching taking a luxury train ride within the next six months!

    Sorry to interrupt the flow of conversation here with this topic, but I wanted to thank you on the record. Best wishes with all of your new “moving and shaking”. You like to “move it, move it!”

    Blessings and thanks,


  11. Hi Tim, Congrats on the show. I think a great future idea would be for you to learn to surf the Mavericks!

    best, Matt

  12. Tim,

    Great show.

    A bit off subject but what the heck. I have been trying to find more info on sailing, with my family, to New Caledonia. Can you direct me to any resources that spell out how it was done at that cost.



  13. Hi,

    I caught the show, by accident while channel surfing=lucky break for me. I really enjoyed it and hope to watch the repeat so I can write down all the things you did to shorten your learning curve.

    Also I wish I had seen this blog prior to the show, I would definately have helped promote the pilot episode. I hope it go enough viewers to be renewed, it was very well done and interesting.

    Best of luck to you,


  14. Tim –

    I have received awesome feedback on your show from the people that I got to either record your show on TIVO or tune into it. I am afraid some of them are going to try Japanese horseback archery now for themselves.

    Additionally, I wanted to update you on my numbers for the Princeton challenge. While I did reach out to many people, I fear that mass propaganda, especially electronically, sometimes goes unnoticed and dies sadly in ones trash folder. Thus, as I previously mentioned, I can produce definitively a list of now 99 names, up from the previous 88, that tuned into your show at 11pm on December 4th. I am hoping that more people did watch your show from the many that I contacted directly via email or indirectly using friends. While I can not guaranteed that every individual actually watched the show, my impression from class was that you needed the numbers for the rating system. I figured that the less I demanded in my request, the more people who would respond. Thus, I have a list of 99 names corresponding to their email addresses of people who represent 99 different television sets that could potentially be recorded as viewing “Trial by Fire” for the rating system.

    Anyways, just wanted to update you on the numbers. The show was awesome and I really hope to see more of it!

  15. Tim,

    The first episode was very solid, can’t wait to watch on a weekly schedule.

    I had a question for you, you seem to be extremely knowledgeable in muscle and injury recovery. In the last year and a half I tore both ACL’s in my knees playing basketball. The first seemed to be a freak accident and the second was probably from coming back too soon to play and favoring the good knee (which then tore). I am currently 8 months out of my second surgery and still in a bunch of pain. I’ve tried ice baths, massage therapy, tons of rehab (still doing it daily), the supplement Cissus and I still can’t get rid of pain and get back in action.

    Any secret tips or tactics you’ve found for recovery, especially related to the knees?

    Keep up the great work with the show!

  16. Tim,

    Would like to have seen your show, but found out to late. However I have 2 quick questions / ideas?

    1) Why only 2 days notice on your show? ……. the amount of viewers for your show would have been much greater, if you built up this show on your site for a month. The build up would have been huge, and would have had time to build up some massive momentum. There are alot of people who like what your doing, and judging from your book sales, website, and twitter following that number is substantial. Why not give them the time they need to help promote your success.

    2) Did you only know 2 days before, when your show would air?…..if you did, then the history channel misunderstood your ability to build up from your site, a large audience that would have promoted up a far larger audience. There was not enough time to compound your audience. Hopefully enough viewers tuned in, but if not I think they should air it again with enough notice so you can build some serious momentum… It would be nice if you had a email address (history channel) where everyone could send a short comment to prop up your show ….. imagine if they got 700,000 emails… nice…. when’s the movie? 😉

    enjoyed the book and site, boa fortuna

  17. Hi ya’ll,

    I missed the show. does anyone out there have a copy that I can get? I will gladly pay for the cost of a dvd and shipping? Please let me know.

  18. Greetings Tim, and all you fine readers!

    I have just begun reading the 4 Hour Work Week, and already, it has me out of bed at 1:42am, writing to celebrities asking them for interviews.

    I saw snippets of the show, but I don’t own a TV, nor cable for that matter, so I will have to wait until it shows up online, or recorded at a friend’s house. I admire the effort, and look forward to more episodes. The premise itself inspires me to awaken ever more to my wildest dreams.

    I have already actualized much, but reading your book demonstrates exactly those areas that I have tolerated for far too long.

    Let’s catch up out there somewhere Tim! We could climb the Monkey Face in Smith Rock, Oregon, and then go on the 88 monastery walk around the island of Shikoku in record time.

    If you, or anyone else reading this comment, would like to get interviewed for my blog, I am up for the challenge. The only condition: Every interview will be an experimental exploration aimed at inspiration, enthusiasm, and life-changing linguistic dancing.

    Cheers to you, Tim. Thanks for your efforts, and for living a life of so much joy that it cannot help but radiate outward in every direction.

    Love, Wildness, Chaos, Joy….


  19. I loved the show. I have been telling everyone to watch. What background do you have? I work in Athletics and fitness found it very informative.

  20. I’m on the road at the moment so havent seen the show, but just the concept sounds fantastic and inspirational as ever!

    I’m crossing fingers at the moment to make it on a tv show in Australia to meet you actually – check out page 7, i’ll be the girl spouting flowery compliments bout you – video is called Finding Timothy Ferriss. lol. If i make it, I’ll have to prove this whole 6 degrees of separation theory is not a bunch of rubbish and somehow get to meet you through 5 other people. Challenge? Hell yeah, but I’m up for it! 🙂

    So if all goes well, I’ll get $12k, 18 days and 6 steps to meet you somewhere in the world. I’m crossing every single appendage at the moment and hoping you drink beer? Bring it…

  21. There are 2 books that I have recently that are I thought were quite credible in terms of mastery of anything-

    1.Talent is overrated by Jeff Covlin

    2. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

    Both authors deconstruct the sucesses of Bill Gates, Mozart, Warren Buffet and other world class experts in thier fields.

    It seems that the benchmark of world class expertise tends to be around 10 years or 10,000 hours.

    Thier argument is that the secret to sucess has nothing to do with natural born talent or genuis. Thier arguments to thier point seem to make sense to me . However, I would love to see you prove this wrong.

    Good luck, Tim

  22. Show sounds cool. Have you learned to deconstruct and hack how to have a TV show that gets past a pilot yet? I guess we shall see!

  23. For people who missed the show, it’s already being sold in DVD on History Channel’s website:

    I couldn’t make it so I’ll buy it, for sure. Hope you become a sucess series too!

    best regards!


    NOTE FROM TIM: Fernando and all, please note that this DVD is from a documentary they did years ago, apparently, and it is not my recent show! Thank you taking the time to find this though — I wish it were 🙂

    All the best,


  24. Dear Tim,

    The use of the club as a training tool stretches back milenia. Physical cultures around the world have used it to hone their strength and skill. Most noted of these athletes are those of the Pahlavani traditions of Iran and the wrestlers of the Indian Peninsula. In the modern era, practitioners around the globe have rediscovered these ancient practices through the popularization of the Clubbell as part of the Circular Strength Training system. The ultimate test of the Clubbell athlete is called the Trial-by-Fire (visit to learn more). It seems serendipitous that your show would bear the same name. Please consider trying your hand at this ancient and challenging discipline as part of your adventure.



  25. Yo Tim,

    I’ve just recently heard about you and and what you do. Very intriguing. Especially since we live in a society (and increasingly a world) that keeps itself “busy”, as it is thought to hold some kind of value to the life you’ve lived. But, as it appears you have taken the bull by the horns on this one, the “busy” is actually what keeps us from being productive. I’ve striven, especially in the last couple of years (especially upon having begun a family) to be less busy and more efficient, more productive. To ensure that there is quality in the time that I’m able to give to my wife, my kids, myself, which most especially translates into the quality of time I am able to put into others, that they may find that for themselves too.

    From a physical training stand point, that’s taken me over the last few years thru the realms of Kettlebells and most recently in the last year, Circular Strength Training. After the last 15 years of trying all kinds of different stuff, this so far makes the most “sense”. It actually touches on methods for removing the blockages, to thus increase the rate and efficiency at which you learn. I think you would probably really dig it.

    So I’m going to second Mr. Steer’s above invitation to check out the Clubbell Trial by Fire challenge for your show (you can’t help but love how perfectly it fits with the name of your show). It is a test in neurological coordination, mobility, strength-endurance and mental toughness. That and it just bleeds old school warrior rites of passage. Who doesn’t get into that!

    Of course then you can balance it out with something like, learning to play the harp…….I’m not poking fun people……I love the harp…..really……

    Congrats on the show and hope it generates the critical mass to keep going. It looks like a blast!

    All the Best,


  26. Ok Tim,

    I hate to be the impatient one but I have to ask, when will we get an announcement on the winner of the lil promotional competition? Did you already announce during the post show Q&A (technical problems kept me from seeing the whole thing).

    Thanks for the newest post on strength training, love it. I’ve been doing CrossFit for last year or so and this might be a good ‘vacation’ for me to build more mass and strength. Speaking of CF, what’s your fav kettle bell workout?


    J. Raley

    J. Raley

  27. Great show, Tim.

    Hopefully they’ll pick it up. It’s interesting to watch difficult activities tackled within a short period of time using a particular ideology. There are so many other tasks around the world that would be worthwhile show topics. It can also be used for cultural understanding.

  28. Tim, have not hear if “Trial by Fire” has been picked up, but I strongly suggest that I consult you and make you a Magician or Mentalist in one week! It takes a lifetime to master sleight of hand and subtle mind and body magic. I’ve taught thousands of magicians effects and have best selling products on the market. I didn’t know how else to contact you and wish you the best… Bring me on for the magic and mentalism and we can accomplish some amazing things in a week. I’m a well known full time magician myself that thinks this show is a wonderful idea. Hope to hear back.. happy new year!

  29. hm, Tim. about the History Channel’s DVD, it’s weird that their description says it’s about this recent show: Have a look at the description: “Tim Ferriss, best-selling author and all around expert on everything from mixed martial arts to ballroom dancing and linguistics, will take everything we know about how to succeed and turn it on its head. Tim applies his methods of efficiency,organization and simplification to challenges he will face throughout the series. His method of learning will allow viewers to obtain a deeper understanding of the amazing skills people from around the world have mastered throughout history.”

    1. @Fernando,

      You are totally right — that is the show! Sorry that I missed that. There is another Trial by Fire DVD on the History Channel website that is an older show.

      Thank you for pointing this out!


  30. Tim if you have the cojones, then read these two words carefully. Standup comedy. There is NOTHING more brutal or mysterious than trying to get an audience to laugh. Your skill at deconstructing and mastering skills can’t crack this egg. At least in less than one week. The challenge is on.

  31. So did this series make it past the pilot or what? I’m a bit out of the loop! Either way, is there anywhere online I can watch the pilot (and other) episode(s)?

    Thanks 🙂

    Another quick question to Tim: You mentioned in the trailer that you learn new things by deconstructing, streamlining and remapping the challenge. Would you consider writing a blog on how you do these things and maybe a few examples of how you applied them to some of the different things you’ve done (kickboxing, tango, languages etc).

  32. Bought the DVD. Hopefully it will lend a helping hand in showing that there is indeed a demand for your show.

    If they don’t turn it into a show, you may want to consider writing a book on “accelerated learning.” This book, in my opinion, would be BIGGER than the 4HWW. The ability to learn skills, traits, and improve ourselves is what makes the human race so successful, yet most of us lack the ability to learn efficiently and effectively, as you apparently are able to do so well.

    1. Hi Riley and All,

      At this point, I’ve shelved the show for now and am focusing on the next book. I’ll get back to TV afterward 🙂

      All the best,


  33. Tim,

    My father is creating a media, telecom and advertising company that will finally offer converged, fully mobile broadband and TV services regardless of platform or location (I can share more about the company with you privately.)

    The company is currently negotiating with content owners big and small, and I think your program would make a great addition to their travel and culture channel. I am not sure what your contractual obligations are with the History Channel, but hopefully you retain some rights or can put us in contact with the appropriate parties. I know you are busy with your next book, but we need to move forward quickly. I look forward to hearing from you soon and helping to get your show the audience it deserves.

  34. Tim [or anyone else that might know]:

    I didn’t see the show when it came on. Is there somewhere online that you can view it at? [YouTube, Hulu, etc.] Thanks for your help.

  35. fantastic points altogether, you just received a brand new reader.

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    some days ago? Any certain?