Net signs on to Endemol production as it develops new gameshows

ABC has given a greenlight to the Endemol USA pilot “101 Ways to Leave a Game Show.”

Gamer follows competitors as they answer questions while sitting in various compromising positions like a catapult. If they get one wrong, however, the player exits the show via one of several terrifying ejection devices — such as being shot out of a cannon or speeding down a zipline.

“101 Ways” exemplifies the global thrust of the unscripted TV biz these days. Series was jointly created by Endemol USA and Endemol UK and will be shot in Argentina.

“I love the show, it’s tonally between ‘Fear Factor’ and ‘Wipeout,'” said Endemol North America chairman David Goldberg.

“Wipeout” exec producer Matt Kunitz will also exec produce “101 Ways”; the U.S. pilot is set to shoot in August. A host will be announced at a later date.

Across the pond, BBC1 has already commissioned eight episodes of “101 Ways,” which has just begun production to air in the fall.

Both the U.S. and U.K. versions — and all future global adaptations — of “101 Ways” will be shot on the same stage in Argentina, where all but one of the 24 global editions of Endemol’s “Wipeout” are also taped. (ABC’s “Wipeout” is shot in Southern California.)

Endemol’s Argentina hub has made it more economical to produce formats like “101 Ways” and “Wipeout.” Not only are the cost of goods and labor less expensive there, but there’s the savings of not having to build 24 sets in 24 countries. (Endemol also produces a third global franchise, “XXS,” there as well, while international editions of “Fear Factor” were shot the same way.)

“Once you commit to building that set, which is costly, you want to take advantage of it,” said Goldberg, explaining why the U.S. show will be shot there. “I’m confident we can come out of it with the same production values.”

Camera operators and other crew members will hail from Endemol’s bustling Argentina operation, while the contestants, director, producers and host will fly in from the U.S.

In all cases, the Argentina productions are customized to each territory and broadcaster, which means the U.S. pilot could vary from the U.K. series, even though they’re shot using the same facility.

As for the co-production aspect, Goldberg said Endemol’s U.S. and U.K. operations now meet four times a year for brainstorming sessions. Past projects that have also been jointly developed include “The Whole 19 Yards.” “We’re still allowed to be successful in creating our own things, like ‘Wipeout,'” Goldberg said. “But (collaborating with Endemol U.K.) has proven to be a successful process for us.”

“101 Ways” reps the latest in a string of physically challenging reality competitions set up at ABC following the success of “Wipeout,” such as this summer’s upcoming entry “Downfall.” Alphabet net has been developing several new takes on the gameshow genre, a decade after “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” revived the format for primetime. Series previously ordered include “Six Minds,” while “Trust Me, I’m a Game Show Host” is in development.

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