American Gladiators could be making a surprise return to TV with the news that WWE and MGM are currently in discussions to reboot the competition series that pulled in huge audiences in the 1990s and has numerous different spin-offs currently on television. According to the report from Deadline, the energetic game show which saw contestants take on a series of obstacle based games against each other and a group of beefed up "Gladiators" who attempted to stop them scoring points, usually by dragging contestants to the ground. The new reimagined version of the series would see a host of WWE superstars joining the program to take on those willing to take a beating for a chance to take home the prize.
The rebooted American Gladiators series is being pitched by Mark Burnett to numerous broadcasters and streaming platforms to try and find a home for the project. The series would join a large number of non-scripted physical shows that have been a hit with Netflix, Amazon and more, including Floor Is Lava, American Ninja Warrior and Holey Moley. There has also been a resurgence in the world of WWE recently with Vince McMahon's wrestling federation breaking into new platforms with Netflix's Escape The Undertaker, and interactive movie that only this week saw its trailer released, and a Blumhouse TV series, The United States of America vs Vince McMahon, as well as a new documentary series about McMahon.
American Gladiators is seen as one of the original reality contest series, while other versions spread across the world and became hugely popular for decades when taking into account reboots and revivals. The original series ran from 1989 until 1996 and featured two males and two females per episode. The players would face off in a variety of games, being hindered every step of the way by the theatrical "Gladiators", all leading to the tournament finale where the best contestants completed for an initial prize of $10,000. Games in the series included Pyramid, Swingshot, Hang Tough, Skytrack and The Wall, which led to the final Eliminator, a gruelling obstacle course that the two contestants took on head to head in a race to the winners tape.
The initial series ran for seven seasons, frequently revamping the format by introducing new Gladiators, new events and adopting a different overall format in its final seasons. In 2008, a revival show was sold to NBC, its format close in style to the final seasons of the original series which in turn was mirrored from the British version. The new show featured Hulk Hogan and Lalia Ali as hosts, with play-by-play voiceover by Van Earl Wright. That series lasted for two seasons before being cancelled. Ten years later, MGM had planned to bring back the series for its 30th anniversary with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg hosting, but the show never materialized.
With the property holding a lot of nostalgia for many who grew up watching the series, there is no doubt that someone is going to pick up the series and it sounds like with WWE on board the series is going to get a new lease of life with a new generation. Deadline.