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Why SNL Vet Leslie Jones Is The Supermarket Sweep Revival's Biggest Update, According To The EP

leslie jones supermarket sweep reboot

In a year that completely altered the way that people do their grocery shopping (not to mention just leaving one’s house in the first place), ABC is gearing up to revive the classic series Supermarket Sweep as part of its ever-expanding game show lineup. This new iteration of Supermarket Sweep ostensibly looks like the same show that audiences fell in love with in the ‘90s, only it’ll be anchored this time by the always energetic SNL vet Leslie Jones.

During a Supermarket Sweep panel held by ABC during its two-day lineup of virtual press conferences, Leslie Jones joined executive producers Alycia Rossiter and Lenny Marcus to finally talk at length about the new revival. When I asked the group about their decisions about must-see changes and must-keep similarities, Rossiter explained why Jones herself is the biggest and most important difference between this Supermarket Sweep and all previous versions.

I think an interesting way to answer that question is that this show has a host that was not hired as a host. This show has a human being who grew up loving this show and wanting to remake it. And so I think one of the things that's very different is instead of hiring talent to do the work of the host, Leslie found out who owned the intellectual property that is Supermarket Sweep and came to them and said, 'Hey, I want to make this show. I want to produce it with you. I want to host it.' And so what is different is Leslie Jones. It's her love of the old show shining through for 2020. And she brings a lot of personality. I think Dave [Ruprecht] was terrific, and Leslie does too. That's why we both love the show. But he took a backseat. Leslie said, 'I'm going to drive this thing. I love it. I loved it before I became affiliated with it, and I'm going to drive this thing. And for an hour, you are going to watch me share my favorite show growing up with you.'

That’s right, fans can largely thank Leslie Jones for Supermarket Sweep returning to TV in the first place, since she was a driving force behind putting the pieces in place to make it happen. The fact that it’s all based on her own history as a mega fan, as opposed to being a less wholesome cash-grab, makes it sound like a far more organically sound project than some of the other revivals that have made it to primetime in recent years.

EP Alycia Rossiter continued, further affirming Leslie Jones to be the standout change amidst the many complications involved with updating the grocery-based game show. In her words:

It's been fun to watch. And, look, it hasn't been easy, figuring out all of the twists and turns of how to take something old and make it new, and we are still, you know, getting there. And every day, it's cooler and cooler. But I think she's really the change.

Leslie Jones clearly wasn’t interested in being the same kind of by-the-numbers host that David Ruprecht was during his tenure heading up Supermarket Sweep – not that he didn’t have his own noteworthy moments – and wanted to bring her familiar boisterousness to the process. Fans can probably expect to hear Jones hollering even louder than some of the contestants about their shopping choices whenever the show debuts.

In response to my question, Leslie Jones also threw herself in the mix as a key update for the show while also teasing other changes that are coming. Here’s how she put it.

I feel like – I mean, I love Dave, but Dave was for that time. I think the update of me. We change the music. We change some of the games. We change the amount of money. We changed the way that you win the games. We made it look a little bit harder. . . . It's just very updated, you know, because, to me, the game itself was perfect. I mean, as a game played. You go around in the store to get money. It's just a matter of updating those elements from the old show.

It was indeed confirmed by EP Lenny Marcus that Leslie Jones will be handing out $100,000 prizes to Supermarket Sweep winners, while the original series’ grand prize was nowhere near as large. It can be assumed that the revival will also feature some bonus prizes and more ways for contestants to win big.

Fans will get a chance to see how well Leslie Jones does as more-than-host whenever Supermarket Sweep debuts on ABC on Sunday, October 18, at 8:00 p.m. ET. While waiting in the checkout line for it, be sure to head to our Fall TV 2020 premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows are on the way.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.