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Information Diet: Bear Grylls

The 'Man vs. Wild' star likes his TV on the TV and his words in print, but don't touch his iPad
Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls Luis Ascui/Discovery Channel via Getty Images

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What’s the first information you consume in the morning?
We own a little island off the Welsh coast, and when I’m up here, I don’t have a computer or anything, but there’s a 3G booster. In the morning, I click on my iPad and look through my emails. Then [my wife] Shara wrestles the iPad off me to see what’s in the newspapers online—she loves all the gossipy stuff.

What do you read or watch or listen to at the breakfast table?
I might continue with a few emails if I’ve got a lot of those, but I tend to have breakfast with the family, get the kids off to school. So breakfast is always pretty manic.

What occupies your mind in the car, on the subway, train, or bus?
I get a lot of briefing notes before I go on Man vs. Wild expeditions, so I tend to churn through that in my mind—what sort of jungle we’re going to, what the mountain’s going to be like at this time of year, what kit we’ll need, what crew we’re going to take.

Are you a TV junkie, or on an airtime-restricted diet?
I don’t watch a huge amount of TV, but my kids love Discovery stuff—not just because I [am] on Discovery but because there’s so many cool programs.

If you’re a couch potato, what do you watch, and how: TV, laptop, or tablet?
I watch a lot of Mythbusters with my kids. And I love American Idol. I have a secret weakness for it. I watch it on the TV—it’s infuriating watching TV on your computer.

Before bed, do you bite into a novel, graze on Twitter, or fast until morning?
I do a last scan of a few work things and then I read a book in bed, but I’m always so tired that I can never manage more than a few pages.

Which is more nutritious: print or Web?
Print. It’s just much more satisfying. There’s definitely a time for online stuff, like when I’m traveling, but I find there’s nothing better than sitting at the kitchen table with a big newspaper and a cup of tea.

Give us the skinny on your favorite app.
Bear Grylls Essentials, which has survival advice if you find yourself in trouble, and Tide Table [for tidal data], which is important when I’m going back and forth from the island.

What’s your biggest digital indulgence?
Watching old episodes of Blackadder on my iPad when I’m traveling. It’s the first TV show Hugh Laurie ever did. It’s brilliant, brilliant sort of British black humor at its best.

With such a bloated media universe, how do you cut out the fat?
I have quite an aggressive filter. For me, most online content is entertainment, so I’m pretty intolerant of advertisements. If I’m watching a video and an ad pops up, I figure it’s not worth waiting for.