Netflix is staging real life Squid Game Series billed as “the greatest reality competition of all time.”
The streamer announced a reality TV production based on its global dystopian smash at the Banff World Media Festival on Tuesday.
While (probably) not a matter of life or death, Squid Game: The Challenge will have 456 players competing in a series of games for a chance to win $4.56 million. Netflix claims the payout is the largest flat cash prize in TV history (although Fox’s X factor has previously signed record deals worth $5 million) and that the show also boasts the largest competitive series cast ever assembled.
“Squid Game took the world by storm [director Hwang Dong-hyuk’s] compelling story and iconic visuals,” said Brandon Riegg, Netflix VP of Unscripted and Documentary Series. “We are grateful for his support as we bring the fictional world to reality in this massive competition and social experiment. A fascinating and unpredictable journey awaits fans of the drama series as our 456 real-world contestants navigate the greatest competitive series ever, packed with excitement and twists, with the biggest cash prize ever at the end.”
The announcement was made at the festival by the head of the global television channel Bela Bajaria during one of the moderated panels The Hollywood ReporterEditor-in-Chief Nekesa Mumbi Moody.
The reality competition will consist of 10 episodes (one more than the first season of the dramatic series) and also released a teaser video:
The announcement follows Netflix’s official renewal Squid Game for a second season. The debut season of the South Korean survival drama released in September and holds the record as Netflix’s most popular series of all time with more than 1.65 billion viewing hours in the first 28 days. The recently released fourth season of stranger things is the second most viewed streamer.
The idea of making a reality version of it Squid Game is perhaps a no-brainer and was obvious enough that someone already did it – YouTube star MrBeast produced an unofficial one Squid Game Contest that has racked up more than 250 million views since its release in November. The 25-minute video received praise from Hwang (“I’ve seen some of it, loved it, it helps me promote the show,” he said), while Netflix has not commented.
casting for Squid Game: The Challenge is now open for applications at SquidGameCasting.com. Netflix is looking for candidates from around the world, but they must speak English — a perhaps controversial mandate given that the original series was almost entirely in Korean. The language rule is pragmatic as game instructions are given over a loudspeaker and each player must be able to understand what is being said. Players are allowed to speak other languages as long as they can also speak and understand English. If the show is successful, versions in other languages could be produced, just like Netflix reality shows like it The circle and love is blind have been adjusted for different countries.
Production gets particularly tricky because the producers don’t know in advance who will survive, and thus must cover all 456 contestants sufficiently in the game’s early stages to create a cut that follows all of the show’s “protagonists” along the way through. The challenges are inspired by the dramatic series, but there will be differences and additions to keep players caught off guard.
Squid Game told the story of a divorced father and gambler (Lee Jung-jae) who takes part in a secret competition that pits 456 players against each other in a series of playground games such as tug-of-war. The losers of each round are executed until only one winner remains.
It’s not yet clear how the reality show’s $4.56 million will be distributed. Will it be a winner take all payout like in the drama series? Or will the funds be split among a certain number of finalists, like in other large-capacity competitions like the World Series of Poker?
The challenge is a co-production of Studio Lambert (The circle) and The Garden (24 hour emergency room), part of ITV Studios, and it is filmed in the UK. Stephen Lambert, Tim Harcourt and Toni Ireland of Studio Lambert; and The Garden’s John Hay, Nicola Hill and Nicola Brown will serve as executive producers.