Fox has ordered Mental Samurai, hosted and produced by Rob Lowe, described as the first-ever obstacle course for the mind. The series, which hails from Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television (Ellen’s Game of Games, The Voice) and Arthur Smith’s A. Smith & Co. Productions (Hell’s Kitchen, American Ninja Warrior, The Titan Games), is scheduled to premiere during the 2018-2019 season on Fox.
It is one of three unscripted series announced today as part of Fox’s portion of the TCA press tour as the soon-to-be-independent network is making a push in reality programming, along with Spin the Wheel and The Masked Singer.
“When I was 15, I won big on ‘The $10,000 Pyramid,’” said Lowe. “I’ve loved mental competition shows ever since. For me, Mental Samurai is addicting. Every time you play, you think: THIS time I’m gonna win! But this very simple game is almost impossible to crack. Also, as a producer, I’m excited to get into this new arena.”
In each episode, contestants battle to answer questions accurately with speed and precision. Not only does the course test their acumen in categories of knowledge, memory, numbers and sequencing, but players will also have to contend with being transported around the set at high speeds in a specially designed capsule that is capable of rotating 360 degrees.
“Mike Darnell and Arthur Smith are two of the most innovative and creative minds in unscripted television whose collaborations have been responsible for so many attention-grabbing Fox hits,” said Rob Wade, Fox’s president, Alternative Entertainment and Specials. “Along with our incredibly entertaining host, Rob Lowe, they are the ideal partners for this one-of-a kind high-velocity competition series that takes the game show genre to the next level.”
Mental Samurai is produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television and A. Smith & Co. Productions. Arthur Smith, Toby Gorman, Jeff Apploff and Noah Bonnett serve as executive producers. Rob Lowe serves as a producer.
“Rob Lowe is the real deal. We’re incredibly lucky to have someone so committed to quality, and who brings an unparalleled zeal to each of his projects,” said Darnell, President, Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television. “He’s the perfect partner for this new series that is a literal thrill ride for your brain.”
The series reunites Smith and Darnell. Smith was one of the go-to producers while Darnell was running alternative programming for Fox, tapping him for such shows as Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Paradise Hotel and The Swan. It marks the second series at Fox for Darnell since he left the network and joined Warner Bros., joining Love Connection.