ABC has handed a series order to The Hustler, a new mystery-based game showhosted by Craig Ferguson. The series from All3Media-backed Studio Lambert is set to begin production this fall, with an airdate to be announced later.
Based on an original format by British TV and radio host Richard Bacon, each episode follows five contestants as they collaborate to answer a series of trivia questions, with the goal of building a collective prize pot that increases with each correct answer. The catch? One of the five contestants, the Hustler, already knows the answers but must keep their identity a secret in order to have a shot at winning the grand prize. Throughout each episode, two contestants are eliminated anonymously by the Hustler, leaving three remaining contestants – the Hustler and two others – who must collectively decide who they think the Hustler is. If they are right, they share the prize pot. If the two contestants are wrong, the Hustler goes home with the full cash reward.
Bacon serves as an executive producer along with Studio Lambert company founder Stephen Lambert, EVP of Studio Lambert USA Jack Burgess, creative director Tim Harcourt and Susan House.
“It’s rare and exciting to have a mystery-based game show that employs viewers and contestants to tap into their sleuth skills,” said Rob Mills, SVP Alternative Series, Specials and Late Night at ABC Entertainment. “This fun new format is the perfect addition to our dynamic game show lineup, and Craig’s unmatched wit and humor make him the ideal host. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome him back to ABC.”
Emmy-winning game show host, actor, writer, comedian Ferguson’s U.S. breakout came as Mr. Wick in ABC’s The Drew Carey Show, a role he played from 1996-2003. He went on to host CBS late-night talker The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson from 2005-14. Ferguson most recently returned to his stand-up roots with Craig Ferguson: Hobo Fabulous, a six-episode hybrid stand-up/documentary show, set to start streaming next month on the Comedy Dynamics Network.
“Studio Lambert and format creator Richard Bacon are incredibly excited to partner with ABC on The Hustler,” said Studio Lambert CEO Stephen Lambert. “With Craig in the driver’s seat, the comedic beats of this game are very much to the fore. We think ABC viewers will laugh a lot but also be shocked and surprised by the twists of this game, which invites contestants and viewers to play detective, solving a whodunit or, in this case, a whoisit.”