Branding on the brink

Game net sked features battling buddies

Game Show Network is giving reality TV its own version of “The Odd Couple.”

Cabler has greenlit “Kenny vs. Spenny” a reality comedy hybrid revolving around two best friends who challenge each other to a series of crazy stunts in the name of boasting rights. Skein will premiere Tuesday March 18 at 10 p.m.

In addition, GSN will likely announce a Monday-Friday 10 p.m. strategy for its new non-studio gameshow programming — including the previously announced Evan Marriott-hosted skein “Fake-a-Date” — during today’s Television Critics Assn. press tour. GSN will also unveil the channel’s new on-air look and game-centered moniker (Daily Variety, Dec. 3).

Cabler has ordered 39 episodes of “Kenny vs. Spenny,” a hit on Canada’s CBC. GSN will air 26 completed half-hours, which are still running on CBC, and will serve as creative partners on the 13 remaining original segs with Blueprint Entertainment and Breakthrough Films.

Skein centers on creators and long-time friends Kenny Hotz and Spencer “Spenny” Rice, who compete in such contests as who makes the most convincing woman; who kids like most; and who can sit on a cow longest. Loser suffers humiliation such as streaking or eating cat food.

“It’s a show about these two guys who have these crazy competitions in each show,” GSN prexy-CEO Rich Cronin said. “It’s the perfect show — both game-related and reality TV — to represent us as we transition to our next evolution.”

In the vein of classic odd couples, Spenny is neurotic and hard-working, while Kenny is devious and charming.

“Kenny and Spenny live to eat, sleep and compete. Luckily, their outrageous rivalries make for great television,” said Blueprint co-prexy John Morayniss.

Tapes of the original CBC show have already made the rounds in the GSN offices and the Cronin home.

“People keep asking what happens next to Kenny,” Cronin said. We’re talking about everyone from my teenage kids to the 45-year-olds in the company — it’s really gotten a great reaction, better than a lot of things I’ve seen in my career.”

Show is produced by Morayniss, Noreen Halpern, Ira Levy, Peter Williamson and Abby Finer.

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