Science plans to bring back the highly rated travel program An Idiot Abroad from producers Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant for season 2.

Last year, nascent adventurer Karl Pilkington was sent on a globetrotting escapade (more or less against his will) by his long-time friends Gervais and Merchant. During the season, Pilkington visited the likes of Rio, Egypt and China where he participated in strange challenges – when he wasn’t too busy complaining.

Pilkington’s general distaste for the adventure, in conjunction with his less-than-exuberant reactions toward his surroundings, helped make An Idiot Abroad the highest viewed program for Science in the channel’s history.

Things will be a little different for the show in its second season. The inaugural run of Idiot was actually acquired by Science after it first aired in the UK. This time around, the cable channel will be taking part in upcoming episodes by serving as a producing partner – thereby having a say in which locales will make Pilkington miserable next.

It seems Pilkington’s onscreen discomfort is something of a treat for Gervais, who seems excited at the possibilities in store for his friend:

“We’re thrilled to return to Science for another grand experiment. It was hard work getting Karl to agree to another torture session, I mean series. It was time to give him a piece of the pie. It will most probably end up in his face. Most people think that the name of our production company, RiSK, is a combination of our initials. It’s also because there is a small chance that Karl could die.”

The concept of season 2 will focus on ‘bucket list’ destinations – or places one should see before they die. Whose bucket list? Well, not Pilkington’s, likely. To hear him put it, he’s not too fond of the concept:

“I’ve never understood the ‘things to do before you die’ idea. If I was ill, I’d be in no mood to have a swim with a dolphin.”

Science executive vice president and general manager Debbie Myers has a bit of a different take on the notion:

An Idiot Abroad was an absolute game-changer for Science. It brought humor to our network, and our audience responded in a huge way. This new season will be even bigger-Karl’s bucket list will be full of some of the most hilarious and ridiculous situations ever captured on television.”

It’s good to see the channel is willing to take a more lighthearted stance on a genre that has recently started to get a little dry. The world has become a much smaller place with the onset of these types of programs, but Pilkington’s utter disdain for his voyage, activities, and experiences somehow work to make this travel show feel fresh, exciting and original. Perhaps it’s just more entertaining to watch a funny man wallow in self-pity than it is to see grown man choke down a handful of fried crickets.

Ricky Gervais brings misery to Karl Pilkington in 'An Idiot Abroad'

Sure, Science and Ricky Gervais seem the unlikeliest of bedfellows, but the comedian is everywhere these days, it seems. In addition to his producing responsibilities on An Idiot Abroad, the comedian (and Pilkington) just finished a deal for a third season of the animated series The Ricky Gervais Show on HBO. Meanwhile, Gervais and Merchant are also prepping the sitcom Life’s Too Short, in which the comedic duo will serve as producers, writers and co-stars.

The second season of An Idiot Abroad will begin filming this summer and is scheduled to air on Science sometime in early 2012.

Source: TV Guide