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Reality competition shows are obviously not nearly as popular as they used to be, but there’s a new series in the works that has potential. Today, NBC announced that casting has begun on its latest competition series Spartan Race, which has an over-the-top premise and comes from the producers of the network’s already-successful franchise American Ninja Warrior. Details on the new premise, below.
Unlike American Ninja Warrior, Spartan Race will not be an individual competition. Instead, it will follow teams comprised of five people who will be asked to endure some pretty strenuous competitions that include testing their “mental and physical limits.” In addition, we know the races will happen over a variety of terrains, including in mud and water. Fire will also be involved in some of them. The teams of five will feature two men, two women and a Spartan athlete who presumably has already competed in Spartan obstacle courses.
For those who are unfamiliar, Spartan Race is actually a Reebok sponsored set of obstacle courses that are run around the world. There are currently more than 50 events in the United States alone that feature many of the obstacles listed in the paragraph before, although the site for the obstacles also lists rope, barbed wire and walls as potential obstacles. The obstacle races that are currently run include a 3+ mile race with more than 20 obstacles known as “Sprint,” an 8 plus mile trek with more than 25 obstacles called “Super” and a 13 mile event with more than 30 obstacles that goes by the name “Beast.” Presumably the new obstacle race competition series will be similar to the real event, just with teams of friends, families and co-workers involved.
A lot of new competition programs have failed in recent years, including the highly-touted The X Factor, but NBC still has some winners in terms of competition shows on its schedule. Among those is the aforementioned American Ninja Warrior but also the singing competition series The Voice. If the show is just casting right now, it could be some time before Spartan Race hits the schedule, and I wouldn’t even be mad if it nabbed a summer timeslot, as American Ninja Warrior has done well with summertime fans.
The news comes just a few months after NBC pitched S.T.R.O.N.G., a potential competition program that would follow competitors getting fit and gaining muscles. That project was described as a competition that could “get people ready for American Ninja Warrior. No idea if that will end up going anywhere, but this new project sounds more like people will need to be fit to begin with in order to compete. Spartan Race also has the added benefit of featuring people who are actually involved with Ninja Warrior. Arthur Smith and Kent Weed as well as Anthony Storm will executive produce the project.
We’re still in the early stages, and Spartan Race is only the working title for the competition show, so it could be a while before this sees the light of day. In the meantime, here’s what NBC has coming up this fall.