Stranger Things breakout Gaten Matarazzo is going from the world of sci-fi to hidden camera television with his latest venture. The 16-year-old rising star is set to host a brand new prank show for Netflix titled Prank Encounters. This continues Matarazzo's already excellent and fruitful relationship with the streaming service, albeit in a very different way. Be that as it may, this is going to be Matarazzo's show as he may be looking to follow in the footsteps of other stars like Ashton Kutcher before him.
According to several new reports, Gaten Matarazzo will host and executive produce Prank Encounters. The series is slated to arrive on Netflix later this year, though no specific release date has been revealed. Ben Silverman and Howard Owens are behind the series. They will serve as executive producers, alongside Kevin Healey, for their production company Propagate. Rob Hyde is also on board as a producer. Anthony Gonzalez, of Undercover Boss and Dance Moms fame, directs.
The show's first season will consist of eight episodes and the show has been in the works quietly in the background for months already. Prank Encounters will not be playing fast and loose with its pranks. Instead, they will have a set premise in place. Each episode will center on two complete strangers who each believe they're on their first day at a new job. Things seem to be business as usual, that is, until they collide with one another and their new part-time jobs turn into full-blown nightmares. This differs from something like MTV's Punk'd, which was hosted by former That 70s Show star Ashton Kutcher. On that series, they would set up celebs with various, wildly different, elaborate pranks week to week.
That remains, perhaps, the most classic example of a prank show in the 2000s. However, Impractical Jokers has had a great deal of success. There are also more niche shows like The Eric Andre Show, and short-lived examples of the genre like David Spade's Fameless. In this case, Netflix is taking one of the cast members of easily one of the biggest shows on TV right now in Stranger Things and handing him the keys to his own show. Plus, they have a captive audience of nearly 150 million subscribers worldwide to put it in front of. On paper, this seems like the kind of thing that is set up for success.
The news of this new Netflix series comes as the long-awaited Stranger Things season 3 is just around the corner, as the wildly popular series is set to make its return on July 4. Gaten Matarazzo's Dustin will be back at it in Hawkins, Indiana alongside his pals Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sadie Sink) and Will (Noah Schnapp). It could be a while before season 4 gets underway, so this new show could help fill the void for fans in the meantime. This news was previously reported by Deadline.