Amidst his acting jobs, Harold and Kumar's Kal Penn got involved in politics, and then returned to television, taking a recurring role on CBS' How I Met Your Mother, playing Robin's love interest Kevin. Now it seems he'll be putting his public speaking and performing abilities to good use as the host of a new show on the Discovery Channel.
Discovery made the announcement today that Penn will serve as host of their new competition series The Big Brain Theory. The series is set to debut next spring (2013) and will have seemingly impossible engineering challenges set up to be solved by contestants in each episode.
"With the death of Steve Jobs, I think we all have wondered about the future of American innovation, and who will be the next great technological mind that will have serious impact on our lives. This show seeks to find that person, along the way revealing and celebrating the level of innovation that exists within our scientific community," said Nancy Daniels, executive vice president of production and development for Discovery Channel.
From the sound of it, much in the way other shows look for the next big singer or dancer or chef, The Big Brain Theory is seeking the brainiest people out to work through difficult engineering challenges. Contestants will have 30 minutes to figure out the solution to the problem they're presented with. And a panel of judges will determine which of the results is the best engineering concept, after which they'll assign two captains to lead their team to execute the project. The winning team members are immune from elimination for that week, while those on the losing team will face the judges to see who among them will be eliminated.
The grand prize for the competition is $50k and a one-year contract with WET, "the industry leader behind some of the world’s most innovative water-based designed environments and experiences including the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas."
Kal Penn's involvement seems like a good approach as far as bringing a familiar name and face to this series, but the concept is intriguing on its own and could be really entertaining, depending on how it's presented. It sounds like the format i's set up similarly to reality competition shows like Hell's Kitchen and American Idol in that the contestants will not only face off against each other each week, but will also be living with each other. So we'll get the chance to get to know the characters when their thinking caps are off (or at the very least, askew) as they kick back and get to know one another between challenges.