Bits 'n' Pieces: 'The Rock' gives lesson in heroics

By Stover E. Harger III, Columbian staff writer




• “The Hero,” debuts 8 p.m. Thursday, TNT.

Did you know?

As a child, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lived for a bit in Vancouver. His father, Rocky Johnson, was a professional wrestler and competed for a time with Pacific Northwest Wrestling.

Clark County on TV

Darnell McAdams is one of a handful of Clark County locals to be featured on reality shows in recent years. Here are others:

• 2009: “Hell’s Kitchen,” Amanda Davenport.

• 2010: “Project Runway,” Seth Aaron Henderson.

• 2012: “Cupcake Wars,” Mindy Schleif and Erin Clancy.

• 2012: “Chopped: Grill Masters,” Rick Browne.

• 2012: “The Voice,” Shawn Lewis and Natasha Neuschwander as Beat Frequency.

• 2012: “American Pickers,” Alan Schurman.

• 2012-13: “American Idol,” Britnee Kellogg.

What makes a hero? Is it courage? Strength? A flowing red cape?

Darnell McAdams still can't exactly say for sure, even after testing his mettle on TNT's upcoming competition series "The Hero," premiering Thursday.

In November, one week after the 32-year-old weighing scale service technician had unsuccessfully auditioned for "MasterChef," McAdams was asked if he'd consider trying out for a new reality show starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a professional wrestler whose powerful presence led to him becoming a massive movie star in the past decade.

Despite McAdams' reluctance to dub himself a "hero," casting directors saw that special quality in the proud family man from Vancouver.

Speaking to the camera on the first episode, McAdams wondered if it's his deep love for his wife and kids that qualifies him as a hero.

"I guess I'm a hero in my own right as far as with my family," he said.

On "The Hero," McAdams is teamed with, and ultimately pitted against, eight others from diverse backgrounds: a trauma surgeon, NFL cheerleader, construction worker and more.

The competitors live together in a Panama City "hero penthouse" and vie for a prize pool of up to $1 million; the more successful they are, the more money they can win. Along the way, the cast faces morality-testing temptations and endurance challenges that seem straight out of a big-budget summer action flick. Viewers vote for the final hero.

"It wasn't completely outside of my realm," McAdams said. "I consider myself a pretty athletic guy."

But it wasn't the intense physical feats that truly shook up the father of two young daughters -- it was being separated from his family.

During filming in February and March, McAdams was cut off from the outside world, even his wife, Aniscia, and daughters, Anai, 5, and Danae, 3. The couple have been together for 13 years and married for seven.

"I haven't been away from my family that long forever," he said. "It's tough when you can't speak to any of your family members."

McAdams is gathering with loved ones to watch the 8 p.m., June 6 premiere at what might be the most-fitting spot in town: The Rock Wood-Fired Pizza and Spirits.

The publicity push for the show has begun and McAdams said it's a thrill each time a preview pops up on television. He said his 5-year-old had one question the first time she saw him in a commercial: "Daddy? Did you meet The Rock?"

"The best thing is watching them watch it," he said.

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