NBC Brings ‘Gladiators’ Back to the Ring
The reinvention of “American Gladiators” is finally under way at NBC. The network is partnering with MGM Television and Reveille for a long-rumored modern update on the campy early-1990s classic.
“This memorable series was once a worldwide phenomenon, and given its built-in appeal, we feel it’s time to reintroduce it to a new generation and take it to a heightened level of excitement for fans of all ages,” said Craig Plestis, executive VP, alternative programming, development and specials, NBC Entertainment. “The ‘Gladiator’ brand is unlike anything on television today, and is event programming at its biggest and best.”
The new “Gladiators” will still have everyday weekend warriors competing against the show’s cast of athletes, but it will add “special effects, water skills and the latest technology,” according to the press release. Also, the show will chronicle the backstory of the competitors as they train for their match.
Reveille Managing Director Mark Koops said the production will likely use a large, indoor arena setting and have a degree of audience participation.
“We want big raucous crowds and lots of theatricality while still keeping the storytelling,” Mr. Koops said. “You’re going to want to bring your kids to the audience.”
No host has yet been chosen, but Mr. Koops said producers are talking to some “big names” for the project. Producers are also in talks with professional and retired athletes from various disciplines, particularly ultimate fighting, to play the show’s brigade of Gladiators.
“You look around at television landscape there haven’t been a big event, stunt-driven show like this,” Mr. Koops said.
Physical-challenge reality shows have remained popular in recent years, with ultimate fighting generating viewers on venues including Spike TV and Japanese import “Ninja Warrior” dominating G4.
Updated Aug. 24 at 2:46 p.m.