“The Contender” is entering yet another ring.
Versus has ordered a fourth season of the boxing competish, which previously aired on NBC for a year before moving to ESPN for two seasons.
Cabler has sealed a deal with Mark Burnett Prods. and DreamWorks TV for 11 one-hours and a two-hour finale, with the show to bow in December. As part of the deal, Versus has also acquired the U.S. premiere of “The Contender Muay Thai,” a spinoff skein originally produced for Asian TV audiences. “The Contender Muay Thai,” which includes 14 one-hour segs and a two-hour finale, was shot in Singapore and focuses on international Muay Thai kickboxers.
“Muay Thai” will bow July 31 at 10 p.m.
The fourth regular “Contender” will also be shot in Singapore and focus on 16 cruiserweights from around the world. The series will pit U.S. boxers against international fighters.
Burnett and DreamWorks are in talks with former world champ Sugar Ray Leonard to return as host and as a mentor to the contestants. Also expected to return is trainer Buddy McGirt.
“When you have the opportunity to bring a top brand with an established following to the network, and the ability to work with someone with a proven track record such as Mark Burnett and DreamWorks, you jump at it,” said Versus exec VP Marc Fein.
Both projects take advantage of logistical and production support from Mark Burnett Prods. Asia, which Burnett opened in October as a joint venture with Genting Intl.
Imagine Omnimedia produced “Muay Thai” in association with Mark Burnett Prods. and DreamWorks. In that spinoff, 16 kickboxers were brought together and eliminated in weekly, five-round pro bouts until an international champ was eventually crowned.
Burnett and Jeffrey Katzenberg exec produce “The Contender.” Jeff Wald, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Eric Van Wagenen and Page Feldman are co-exec producers.