In addition to developing a US adaptation of South Korean competitive singing series called The Masked Singer, the network has greenlighted the two new game shows to bolster Fox’s push to air more reality programming.
Described as “the first-ever obstacle course for the mind”, Mental Samurai has contestants compete against each other while being rapidly transported around the set in a capsule and answer questions pertaining to general knowledge, memory, numbers and sequencing as quickly and precisely as possible. The new series, hosted by actor Rob Lowe, is scheduled to premiere during the upcoming 2018-2019 season and is produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television and A. Smith & Co. Productions. Arthur Smith, Toby Gorman, Jeff Apploff and Noah Bonnett will serve as executive producers and Rob Lowe will also serve as a producer.
Spin The Wheel, which is also scheduled to premiere during the 2018-2019 season, features contestants facing a giant 40-foot wheel containing massive cash prizes. Correctly answering trivia questions adds more big money wedges and incorrect answers unfortunately adds wedges which could subtract from their bank or make them lose it all. Over $20 million in cash is up for grabs in each episode. The show is co-created and executive produced by Justin Timberlake and Andrew Glassman, and hosted by Dax Shepard. Tennman Entertainment, Glassman Media and LBI are the producers of the series and Rick Yorn and Johnny Wright also serve as executive producers. No host has been named yet.
I have mixed feelings about this news in general. On one hand I’m excited to see what will become of Mental Samurai. I can sort of envision it as sort of like a more intense, single-player version of the BBC Two’s Beat The Brain end game or “The Gauntlet” round on Canada’s Smartest Person considering the contestants must face multiple, mental mini-games in a limited amount of time.
On the other hand, I feel the polar opposite about Spin The Wheel. First, the title sounds like the name of a game show parody on a comedy sketch series. Second, the premise seems eerily similar to NBC’s The Wall considering the premise of both shows revolve around supersizing a commonly used game show prop and filling it with ungodly sums of money in an attempt to give away millions of dollars per show while a relatively simple, easy, low-risk game is played where the contestants win a tens of thousands of dollars in a realistic worst-case scenario. With Glassman co-producing the series and serving as an executive producer for The Wall, it’s no surprise that there are striking similarities between the two. Although it may be too premature for me to dismiss this show as just another obnoxious, vapid giveaway game show like Deal or No Deal, I’ll still check it out and give it a fair shot.
Fox is hoping to replicate recent game show success by creating another terrific tandem like Beat Shazam and Love Connection. Hopefully, these shows won’t burnout in a season like the Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? revival and Bullseye in 2015.