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Malibu v 2.0

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A couple of months ago, I wrote a post celebrating the return of American Gladiators reruns to ESPN Classic. Now, word is that NBC is going one step further, reviving the athletic game show for sometime next season. The Variety article states that:

The competition skein -- which featured players with names like Nitro, Turbo and Laser in its campy, early '90s syndie incarnation -- will be updated for the 21st century with new technology and twists.

So what “technology and twists” could possibly be in store? There’s only so much you can do with events like Powerball and Joust, although the Eliminator could definitely be revamped to incorporate some more difficult challenges, a la Viking: the Ultimate Obstacle Course. Personally, I would love to see them integrate some of the ridiculous games that they have on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge. We’re one step closer to the fulfillment of The Running Man.

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It will be interesting to see how NBC will seek to position the show. The original focused on the personalities of the gladiators when it first went on the air, giving it a slightly-less serious tone, but seemed to lose some of its appeal when it became too focused on trying to be a wholly legitimate athletic competition. With the market totally saturated for both sports programming and reality game shows, trying to capture and retain viewers mindshare is a tricky enterprise, so whatever the producers come up with had better be a truly untapped niche like Fear Factor once grabbed.

Since nostalgia programming seems to be where it’s at these days with the suits at the TV stations and movie studios, I would also like to suggest a revival of MacGyver starring Emilio Estevez in a mullet. I mean, if Kiefer Sutherland can reinvent himself as a bad-ass action hero, then surely his Young Guns co-star can become a cerebral do-gooder.