It was billed as the one of the most amazing animal stunts ever to be seen on TV, but as viewers tuned in to watch Discovery's Eaten Alive special, there was disappointment ahead.
Naturalist Paul Rosolie donned a protective outfit which he claimed would enable him to be eaten alive by an enormous anaconda snake, without being killed. But after a lengthy search for a suitable creature, Rosolie called time on the stunt after only his head had been consumed by the reptile, and Twitter exploded with disappointment.
The Amazon conservationist wore a carbon-fiber suit, to protect him from the snake's potentially heart-stopping constriction. Viewers watched as the snake bit his helmet. But before Rosolie could go any further into the snakes stomach (the promise of which had created outrage amongst animal rights activists), he called his security team to get the animal off him.
“I'm calling it, I need help!” he screamed as he felt his arm starting to break. There was no second attempt, and the animal was released back into the wild.
“I started to feel the blood drain out of my hand and I felt the bone flex," Rosolie explained, after his attempt. "And when I got to the point where I felt like it was going to snap I had to tap out,” he said.
Within minutes of the show airing, Twitter erupted with viewer disappointment, many of whom likened the stunt to The Mysteries of Al Capone's Vaults in 1986, where a TV special watched by 30 million viewers promised a look into the Chicago hotel vault where the famous gangster kept some of his wealth. In the end, the show, presented by Geraldo Rivera, revealed a vault containing nothing but a load of dust and some empty Coke bottles.
"Geraldo prob just watched #EatenAlive and high-fived himself. His 'Al Capone's vault' special is no longer the biggest letdown in TV history," one Twitter user wrote.
"Calling it #EatenAlive is like having a show on the Food Network about cooking a turkey and all they do after 2 hours is preheat the oven," added another.
"The eaten alive guy didn't get eaten alive... #Disappointed," another tweeter summed up.
In response to the complaints, Rosolie has claimed that he carried out the risky move in a bid to raise money to save the snake's habitat in South America, and that the animal was not harmed.
"I wanted to do something to grab people’s attention to the plight of the disappearing rainforests, something completely crazy," he said earlier this month. "Everything else has been tried."
Tell Us: Was Eaten Alive a big con or was it worth a watch?