EXCLUSIVE: 3 Ball Productions, the company behind Paramount Network’s Bar Rescue, is developing a U.S. version of pandemic-proof Belgian competition series The Container Cup.
In a competitive situation, the company, which previously produced The Biggest Loser, optioned the rights to the Belgian format, which was developed, sold, produced and aired under shelter-in-place orders in the small European country.
It marks one of the first international COVID-proof formats to make it to market with 3 Ball taking it out imminently to broadcasters.
The Container Cup pits athletic celebrities against professional athletes in a series of intense challenges covering a number of sports except it all takes place inside two massive shipping containers, each equipped with numerous cameras and delivered directly to the competitors’ respective homes.
In the Belgian format, 30 athletes competed in seven disciplines including a 1.5 km distance run, a climbing course with monkey bars, hit a golf ball as far away as possible, row 1 km, hit 5 targets with a biathlon gun, lift as much weight as possible on the bench press and cycle 3 km.
The show first aired on Belgium’s Vier on April 26, stripped across the week, a month after the country issued its stay-at-home order. It comes from Belgium’s Woestijnvis, which originated hit format The Mole, a reality competition that was previously adapted by ABC, and is distributed by Belgian firm Primitives.
It greatly improved the timeslot and has already been optioned in Germany, France and The Netherlands with deals pending in the UK, Spain and Italy.
The deal comes a few months after 3 Ball established a new parent company designed to incubate a slew of production joint ventures.
3 Ball Media Group’s Reinout Oerlemans said, “So much of regular life has been upended during this crisis and so to be able to find and act on the bright spots, as creatives, is extremely gratifying. We know athletes live to compete and that they haven’t been able to during the COVID lockdowns. We also know that audiences are clamoring for fun and exciting content that can feel inspirational. This show can rally the whole family around a unique and positive entertainment experience that blends serious athleticism with fun and feel-good humor – all done in a way that is safe and COVID-compliant for all involved, and culminates with a significant donation on behalf of the winning athlete. Not to side too much with one sport, we see The Container Cup as a home run.”
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