Contestants on 72 Hours race to find suitcase of cash

The clock is ticking for contestants on 72 Hours, TNT’s new heart-pounding competition series debuting Thursday, June 6 at 9pm ET.

contestants on 72 Hours race to find a suitcase of cashWhen it comes to the new reality competition series 72 Hours, it has the intensity of a Jason Bourne action-thriller and the drama expected from any mismatched team of unknowns thrown together and dropped in unknown terrain in a high-stakes race to find a treasure.

The treasure is a briefcase filled with $100,000 cash awarded to the first team to find it. The teams consist of three random strangers from diverse backgrounds, each possessing their own unique survival skills, personalities and motivations for winning. The caveat is they have 72 hours to find the money but only have the clothes on their back, a single bottle of water and a GPS tracking device as their guide. Oh, and they also have competition — a total of three teams of three are racing to find the briefcase.

“They start with the clothes on their backs, a bottle of water and a GPS device,” executive producer Howard Schultz shares. “Survival is one of the most principal elements of the show. And the fact that they are strangers is one of the things that makes the story interesting. Is this group of three people going to come together and form a team and support each other in this extreme condition of depravity, or are they going to fall apart and ultimately not find the money?”

Finding the money is no easy feat either, as competitors have to navigate extreme terrain varying from the jungles of the South Pacific to the mountainous Southern Rockies. Having a strategy and geographic game plan is crucial for advancing in this competition. Complicating the race is a rule that requires all three team members to find the money together in order to win, so there goes the idea of divide and conquer.

The eight-episode series features nine new contestants each week. Producers did a nationwide casting call that ultimately yielded a diverse group, including a fireman, tattoo artist, kickboxing instructor and civil engineer, among others. “They are people like you and me,” Schultz says. “Some people are stronger than others. We find out that mentally — the game is really played on the mental plane, even though there’s a real physical element to it, which requires a great deal of physicality. That briefcase is dropped anywhere from 30 to 40 miles away from where they start, and they are trekking through the wilderness and dealing with all of the wilderness elements to find it.”

Game on, people!