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GSN’s game for ‘Dodgeball’

Six-episode order is part of Mindless three-project pact

In its first programming move as the newly repositioned GSN, the Network for Games, the cabler has greenlit “Extreme Dodgeball,” a weekly series that reconnects working professionals with the schoolyard favorite.

Six-episode order is part of a three-project deal between GSN and Mark Cronin’s Mindless Entertainment (“The Surreal Life”). Mindless produced the election series “Who Wants to Be Governor of California? The Debating Game” for the channel and will produce its two-hour spec “National Lampoon’s Greek Games” later this summer (Daily Variety, Dec. 1).

“Extreme Dodgeball” takes people from all walks of life — sumo wrestlers, jockeys, meter maids and mimes, for example — and pits them against one another in an all-out dodgeball match. Rather than team uniforms, players will wear their regular work attire for the competition.

“With ‘Greek Games’ coming up, and America going crazy for the Summer Games, I was trying to think of what other games were fun, simple and could be made funnier. We heard Ben Stiller was doing a dodgeball movie for the summer and thought, This is great,” GSN prexy-CEO Rich Cronin said. “If you look at Mark’s ‘The Surreal Life,’ with its offbeat celebrities and humor, it was obvious that they were perfect to produce this.”

Series will premiere in the summer as a complement to “Greek Games.”

The third project in the deal will be announced at a later date.

“Rich is one of the most creative network presidents I’ve ever worked with, and I truly enjoy his collaborative process. This triple project deal is a great way to expand and solidify our already strong relationship. Mindless is proud to be a big part of GSN’s relaunch and future growth,” Mark Cronin said.

In addition to the second edition of “Surreal Life,” Mindless is developing the NBC reality show “Life Is Too Short,” starring Verne Troyer (Daily Variety, Dec. 12). Other credits include the eight-part IFC gameshow “Ultimate Film Fanatic,” a competition in search of the nation’s biggest film buff; Comedy Central’s “Beat the Geeks”; and FX’s “Hurt Bert.”

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