Press release from GSN, March 8, 2016:
Following four consecutive years of growth, driven by an increasingly aggressive original programming slate and new youthful brand refresh, GSN is introducing at its upfront presentation today in New York City a slate of new innovative and original greenlit series, specials and pilots.
The announcement of new programming follows GSN’s most-watched year ever (2015), a year in which the network also added more than 16.5 million new viewers to its air*. Additionally, the popularity of the network’s skill-based, competitive entertainment shows provided the perfect, organic platform to bolster its social media strategy, with GSN originals enjoying more than 18 million social engagements.
Over the past three years, GSN has more than doubled its original programming output, and is introducing another creative slate of originals in 2016. The network will also add a second screen participation aspect to selected original programming later this year. This real-time platform will engage viewers and connect them with the content, allowing them, through their second screen devices, to interact directly with the show and play along in real time.
Announcing GSN’s growth, as well as its new original programming, to press and advertisers at the company’s annual upfront today were GSN’s President and CEO, David Goldhill; Executive Vice President of Advertising Sales, John Zaccario; and Executive Vice President of Programming and Development, Amy Introcaso-Davis.
The executives were joined by GSN talent, including Rebecca Romijn, host and executive producer of hit series SKIN WARS; master of transformation RuPaul Charles, who serves as judge on SKIN WARS and will now host and executive produce the new spinoff, SKIN WARS: FRESH PAINT; comedian and actor Donald Faison, host of the new WINSANITY; comedian Ben Gleib, host and executive producer of GSN’s hit series IDIOTEST and new spinoff POLITICAL IDIOTEST; and Jen and Sylvia Soska, aka the Twisted Twins, who serve as masterminds behind the scenes on the horror-themed game show HELLEVATOR, returning for a second season.
Three New Greenlit Series
GSN has greenlit three original series this year; SKIN WARS: FRESH PAINT, a spinoff of the network’s most-watched series; WINSANITY, the game where the entire audience can win or lose prizes with every answer; and WINDOW WARRIORS, an arced competition series which pushes the limits of visual merchandising through the creative combination of both art and commerce.
From the producers of GSN’s hit body painting competition comes SKIN WARS: FRESH PAINT, where each week, three of SKIN WARS’ top former contestants will mentor six new, highly accomplished artists each week. These artists are at the top of their game in their own disciplines, but will leave their creative comfort zones to compete in body painting for the first time, attempting to win the $10,000 prize at the end of each show. Originally airing as a one-hour special in August 2015, the eight-episode series will again be hosted by RuPaul Charles and feature as judges, international master body painter Emma Cammack and art critic Mat Gleason. The series is executive produced by Michael Levitt of Michael Levitt Productions (“Skin Wars,” “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” “Ask Oprah’s All Stars”), Jill Goularte, Kate Kenny and RuPaul Charles.
A second arced competition series coming from the SKIN WARS producers is WINDOW WARRIORS. This new skill-based competition lifts the curtain on the intensely competitive and theatrical world of visual merchandising seen in many of the top retail outlets from the Champs Elysées to Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive. From the festive and luxurious, to the fantastical, these artists will push their creativity to the limits, in the hopes of winning a full-time job and a career-changing contract to design a high profile holiday display at a major department store. The six-episode series is executive produced by Michael Levitt of Michael Levitt Productions and Jill Goularte.
GSN’s latest innovation on the play along game show format is WINSANITY. Each half-hour episode features a contestant attempting to rank ten compelling and surprising facts in numerical order, from highest to lowest (i.e.: Which is greater: the number of times a man thinks about sex in a day, or the number of words a woman speaks in a day?). Every time a contestant is correct and wins a prize, so does a randomly selected portion of the studio audience. However, if a contestant gives a wrong answer at any point, they, and the audience lose everything, and a new contestant takes his or her place and continues the game, trying to win prizes that increase in value with each round. Hosted by comedian and actor Donald Faison (“Clueless, “Scrubs”), the 40-episode series is executive produced by Barry Poznick (“Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”) of Barracuda Television Productions and Chris Grant of Electus.
As America’s obsession with all things politics heats up during the 2016 Presidential election season, what better way to add some levity to the proceedings than the new special POLITICAL IDIOTEST? Comedian Ben Gleib, host of IDIOTEST and frequent political commentator for NPR brings his own unique point-of-view to this one-time-only special edition of the original game show coming in April. Featuring politically-oriented teams and visual brain teasers, the show hopes to determine once and for all which political party has the best “idiots.” POLITICAL IDIOTEST will be executive produced by Ben Gleib, Mark Cronin of Little Wooden Boat Productions, Adam Rosenblatt, Jamie Rosenblatt and Christian Horner of H2R Productions, and Ryan Devlin and Shawn Greenson of He Shoots, He Scores Productions. The special will be produced in association with leading women’s lifestyle media site Popsugar.
BREAKING APP (working title) features ambitious app inventors looking to launch the next great mobile application. Each week, they’ll pitch their outstanding and sometimes utterly outrageous app ideas to a group of savvy tech moguls and venture capitalists (VCs) who’re looking for a piece of the action. The panel, along with the viewers at home, will be able to download and play with the app and decide whether or not it’s a hidden gem amongst the millions of currently available apps. The show is executive produced by Brien Meagher and Rhett Bachner (producers on “Shark Tank”) of B17 Entertainment and Cheri Brownlee of Cheri Sundae Productions.
THE INVESTIGATION (working title) is a one-hour crime-solving game, set in a realistic police location with multiple departments. The game is structured and formatted, but fully experiential, with a truly authentic look and feel. Two teams of “Detectives” examine evidence in each Department, in order to put together an ironclad case against the suspect who they believe is the murderer. The goal is to be the first to submit the most accurate pieces of incriminating evidence to the District Attorney. The winning team receives a $10,000 reward. A team may submit to the DA as soon as they feel ready. However, if the first team does not present all of the correct pieces of evidence, then the second team still has an opportunity to submit its own findings. Executive produced by Stephen Land and Allison Wallach of Jupiter Entertainment (“Homicide Hunter”).
DIVIDED is a one-hour game show in which three strangers must come to a consensus and agree on everything, including the correct answer to a question. The more the players debate, disagree or dig in their heels, the less prize money becomes available to them. In the end, the prize money is divided into three unequal amounts and they have to agree on who gets what share, but the longer they take, the less they make as the clock – and the money amounts – tick down. Less talk and more decision–making equals more cash, but expect psych–outs and ethical dilemmas within the show’s unique framework. The show was created by Talpa’s John de Mol (“The Voice”) and executive produced by de Mol and Jay Bienstock (“The Voice”).
RUN & BUZZ says “goodbye” to static games with players stuck behind podiums. This family-friendly half-hour game show requires fast feet as much as a quick mind as three teams of two listen to clues and then have to rush to a buzzer on the other side of the studio to answer the question. Challenges include brainteasers, puzzles, anagrams and more, with contestants facing the dilemma of waiting for more clues to be sure their answer is right, or rushing across the studio to buzz in with a guess before the other contestants. Only one team will sprint to the final round and go for the big prize money. The show is based on the international format from Newen Distribution.
GLASS WARS showcases the spectacular works of art from the country’s top glassblowers, as they compete under intense pressure to be named the best in their craft. The show is executive produced by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves (“Top Chef” and “Project Greenlight”).
Among the shows returning to GSN with new seasons in 2016 are the body painting competition series SKIN WARS (season 3), hosted by Rebecca Romijn and featuring judges RuPaul Charles and body painting icons Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina, returning Wednesday, April 20; IDIOTEST,hosted by comedian Ben Gleib,recently picked up for a 40-episode third season which kicks off Tuesday, April 12; and the brilliantly twisted HELLEVATOR, which will return this Fall as a special four-episode Halloween season event. This genre-mashing horror-themed game show dares three friends to ride a haunted elevator into the depths of an abandoned warehouse and survive a series of terrifying challenges in order to win up to $50,000. HELLEVATOR is produced by Matador and Blumhouse Productions in association with Lionsgate Television. Executive Producers are Jason Blum (“Paranormal Activity,” “The Purge,” “Ouija” and “Insidious”), who won a 2015 Emmy® Award for “The Jinx,” and was nominated for an Academy Award® for “Whiplash,” Jay Peterson and Todd Lubin of Matador (“Lip Sync Battle”), Shye Sutherland (“Wipeout,” “Bullseye”) and Blumhouse’s Jessica Rhoades.