New Game Show on Tap for NBC

May 1, 2006  •  Post A Comment

NBC has made itself another game show deal.

Off the success of its surprise hit “Deal or No Deal,” the network has ordered a U.S. version of the international game show “1 Versus 100” from producer Endemol USA, which is also behind “Deal.”

“100” was among a “rush of game show pitches” coming to the network since “Deal” took off, said Craig Plestis, senior VP of alternative programming and development for NBC.

“It’s in the air,” Mr. Plestis said. “We opened the floodgates.”

Aside from NBC, Fox has had success over the past few weeks with the next generation of game shows via its “American Idol” lead-out, “Unan1mous.”

The performances of “Deal” and “Unan1mous” led Endemol USA to redouble its efforts to come up with more game show formats that would interest broadcasters, said David Goldberg, president of the production company.

“Once we realized there was a resurgence of interest in game shows, we didn’t waste any time developing new ones and going back over the existing ones in our library,” Mr. Goldberg said. “And the first one we went out with was the pre-existing format ‘1 Versus 100.’ It just so happened NBC really took to it.”

Mr. Goldberg insisted “100” was not pitched to take pressure off “Deal,” which has been running on multiple nights for weeks. Despite being in heavy rotation, “Deal” so far has escaped the fate of ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” which was a huge hit when it premiered in prime time in the 1990s but soon cooled after ABC overprogrammed the game show.

“That never fit into the thought process,” Mr. Goldberg said of the “100” pickup. “If managed correctly, which I have received the message, it will be, [‘Deal or No Deal’] will have a nice run. There’s a mutual understanding that the show needs to be aired in a way that we don’t exhaust the format.”

“100” got a pickup because of its format, Mr. Plestis said. “We listened to everything, and this was the first one we played in the room, and we looked around and said, ‘We want to do this one.'”

For now, NBC has no schedule for “100,” and has not decided whether the show will launch in a week-long strip like it did with “Deal,” Mr. Plestis said.

In “1 Versus 100,” a single player must outlast a “mob” of 100 people in a trivia competition to win a multimillion-dollar cash prize. To stay in the game, the player and members of the mob must correctly answer questions. Members of the mob who give wrong answers will be eliminated from the game. As mob members get eliminated, the cash prize for the player increases. The player can then opt out of the game and keep his or her collected winnings, or risk it on a jackpot at the end only after outanswering the entire mob.

“1 Versus 100,” which originated in the Netherlands, has aired in five other territories and was recently sold to BBC in the United Kingdom. The show will be executive produced by Scott St. John, who also produces “Deal.”