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Lampoon is ‘Game’

Cabler greenlights frat spoof spec

Game Show Network has greenlit “National Lampoon’s Greek Games,” a two-hour special pitting fraternities and sororities against each other in a slew of absurd sports.

Event is a co-production with college-centric web National Lampoon Network. Nets last partnered on 65 episodes of the quiz show-standup comedy hybrid “National Lampoon’s Funny Money,” which premiered in June.

GSN had been scouting a tentpole summer event when it opted to go the Olympics route. Next year’s Summer Games take place in Greece, perfect for a spoof involving the collegiate Greek system, GSN prexy Rich Cronin said.

“We decided the presidential elections were too serious and too boring,” he said, noting the built-in promotion factor. “With this, people will already be talking about those other games.”

Instead of archery and gymnastics, the “Greek Games” include the pita bread discus toss, the Souvlaki high hurdles and Greek olive oil wrestling.

GSN has set the show’s target airdate in July or early August, to coincide with the Olympics. National Lampoon Net, which is distributed in more than 600 college communities, will bow the preliminary matches in May. GSN also retains the rights to air the prelims, but has not yet decided on a course of action.

Cronin noted the event will be family-friendly and devoid of National Lampoon’s trademark debauchery.

“We think it can be really funny without drinking jokes,” Cronin told Daily Variety. “I mean, imagine a bunch of fraternity guys in togas spilling out of the rear end of a Trojan horse….”

Show also will go behind-the-scenes to watch the athletes “training” for competition.

“The torch has already been lit at National Lampoon,” said National Lampoon exec VP Doug Bennett. “We’re busy inventing sports like the lamb lift, toga trot and stuffed grape-leaf baseball.”

Spec also serves as a potential franchise for GSN.

“We’re calling on Greek organizations at colleges and universities to take this seriously, even if we don’t, because we’re looking at the Greek Games to become an annual event, not just every four years.”

“Greek Games” continues cabler’s brand expansion from gameshows into all things games. Recent examples include a docu-style blackjack series, the reality skein “Chuck Woolery: Naturally Stoned” and the recall event “Who Wants to Be Governor of California? The Debating Game.”

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