A new reality show with a special connection to the Bison community will be making debut on YouTube this month. “The Totem Pole,” created by senior Wesley Bryant, exclusively features Harding students. The show begins streaming Jan. 25 and a new episode will air every Friday.
“The Totem Pole,” inspired by shows like “Big Brother” and “Survivor,” features 13 of Harding’s very own as they compete in various challenges for safety and participate in a ranking ceremony until one player has reached the top of the symbolic totem pole and is declared winner.
“Our show is completely original,” Bryant said, “It is a new game, never-been-seen-before. Your strategies and game plans will change very quickly. You have to be able to think on your feet.”
Despite the cast consisting of only students from Harding, most of the contestants did not know each other. Bryant strategically selected the cast to ensure drama would still unfold as the players battled it out in front of the camera.
Junior cast member Mason Myrick said, “It’s going to be interesting for the Harding community to watch their own friends battle it out on the show- people that wouldn’t normally run into each other in day-to-day life.”
Bryant said that the concept of “The Totem Pole” originated as a game that he created on a snow day. The inspiration for the game derived from Bryant’s desire to prevent students from spending Friday nights alone in their dorm rooms.
“I knew that this was a game that we all could play together,” Bryant said.
“The Totem Pole” has been played on campus approximately 20 times since its beginning. After the game reached popularity among students, Bryant decided that his competition would make a unique concept for a reality series. Sophomore Garcelle Hodge played “The Totem Pole” on campus before being on the show.
“I had played the game before, but I was nervous to play on the show,” Hodge said. “The cameras scared me, but when we watched it back the production quality was amazing.”
With a cast and crew full of Harding students, Bryant’s intention was to bring people closer together. Not only did he want to bring people together on the show, he hopes to inspire others in the Harding community to gather together as well, especially strangers, whether that be through watching “The Totem Pole” together or even playing the original game on campus.
There will be an official watch party for the premiere of “The Totem Pole” tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Reynolds Recital Hall.