It’s official. Recently, EPIX announced they are reviving the cancelled boxing series The Contender.
From Mark Burnett, the original TV show followed boxers as they competed against one another to become the champion. The show was hosted by Sugar Ray Leonard, Sylvester Stallone, and Tony Danza before being cancelled by NBC in 2008 after four seasons.
EPIX has ordered 12 episodes of The Contender, which is slated to debut later this year.
Read more details below:
LOS ANGELES – JANUARY 22, 2018 – Premium pay television network EPIX®, an MGM company, is set to launch a new version of the seminal Contender boxing franchise. This iconic, fan-favorite series produced by Mark Burnett, President of MGM Television and Digital, has launched multiple boxers into contention for world titles. EPIX will debut an all-new 12-episode season of the boxing competition series, which will start production in 2018 with an anticipated debut later this year. MGM Television is producing with Paramount Television.
The upcoming series will feature 16 fighters in an elimination competition that will push their skills, strength and endurance to the limit. “Boxing belongs on premium pay television and there is no better home for The Contender than EPIX.” said Burnett. “We will tell stories of the fighters, the families and their difficult journeys in the emotionally compelling Contender style, so that viewers get to vicariously ‘walk a mile’ in the boxers shoes.”
The boxers will be divided into two teams to train, each overseen by a renowned boxing coach who will act as mentor. Over the course of the season, the competitors will live together, train together and fight each other in the ring, all vying to be become the ultimate Contender and take the winner’s six-figure purse.
“The Contender has launched the careers of many fighters, with some Contenders taking world titles – but this new iteration of the series will also showcase the heart, spirit and dramatic personal stories of these fighters as they fight in and out of the ring to realize their dreams,” said Michael Wright, President of EPIX. “This is not only real boxing, but real, raw human storytelling from the best unscripted television production team in the world.”
The Contender ran for four seasons (2005-2009) and according to Nielsen Media Research the series was seen by 180 million cumulative viewers. The series saw eleven Contender fighters fight for world championships after appearing on the show, with five title winners (Mora, Bundrage, Smith, Bika, Soliman). Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora went on to win the WBC Super Welterweight Championship and season three champion Sakio “The Scorpion” Bikawent on to win the WBC & IBO Super Middleweight Championships, among others.
Eric Van Wagenen is executive producer and showrunner alongside Mark Burnett. The format is owned by MGM Television and Paramount Television.
What do you think? Do you ever watch the original Contender series? Will you watch the reboot?