The Rock, in Panama, the setting of his TNT extreme-sports series "The Hero"

The Rock in Panama City, one of the filming locations for his TNT extreme-sports series “The Hero”

*In the premiere episode of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new TNT reality show “The Hero,” challenges include scaling the face of Panama City’s 837-foot-tall Towerbank Financial Center and having to crawl through a dark maze populated with tarantulas — inside the former bunker of Gen. Manuel Noriega.

So what is the point of it all? Although the contestants are competing in extreme-sports type challenges, they are ultimately being tested on their morals. The last man or woman standing with the most integrity, according to viewer votes, will win the title and a possible $1 million prize.

“There’s a lot of ordinary, if you will, people out there who are going to be put in positions to do extraordinary things and to find the hero within,” Johnson told us in January. “It sounds like a tagline, but these individuals are going to do something special.”


The nine players face off in two challenges per week — a team challenge and a hero challenge, the latter performed by one contestant chosen by his or her peers. If the team is successful, time is added to the hero challenge, and $10,000 is given to the American Red Cross. The “hero” then attempts to win money for the team’s collective pot, but also has the option to keep the money for himself or herself.

At the end of “The Hero’s” eight-week run, viewers will pick one winner to receive all of the money in the team pot.

Contestants include pro wrestler Shaun, LAPD officer Charles, personal trainer Lydia, former NFL cheerleader Athena, scale technician Darnell and salon assistant Patty, a self-described serial crier.

“Contestants on the show are going to represent everybody from our culture, everybody from around the world, all different colors, ages, men, women, older, younger, from different backgrounds,” said Johnson.

Below, The Rock talks more about the morality part of the show.

“The Hero” premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. on TNT. Watch the first five minutes of the season premiere below.