7:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
VH1, Ice Cube Team for Hip-Hop Version of 'Hollywood Squares' (Exclusive)
VH1 is bringing back one of TV's longest-running game shows.
The Viacom-owned cable network is teaming with Ice Cube to put a hip-hop twist on Hollywood Squares, handing out a straight-to-series pickup for Hip Hop Squares, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Sources say the cabler has ordered at least 20 episodes.
Set to bow in the fall, the VH1 take on Tic-tac-toe will feature celebrity contestants matching wits and testing their pop culture knowledge with the superstar squares, featuring the biggest names in hip-hop, comedy and entertainment.
Ice Cube and his Cube Vision production company will executive produce the series in conjunction with Jesse Collins Entertainment, Jeff Kwatinetz’s The Firm and CBS Television Distribution.
Hip Hop Squares is the latest incarnation of the game show originally created by Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley. Peter Marshall hosted the series from 1966-81; Jon Bauman oversaw from 1983-84; John Davidson held court from 1986-98; and Tom Bergeron presided from 1998-2004. The series ran on NBC from 1966-80 and again in 1983 and 1984 with the show eventually running in syndication across four decades. More than 5,000 episodes have been produced, with CBS Television Distribution owning the version fronted by Bergeron.
"Hip Hop Squares is going to be fun and spontaneous; unlike typical game shows, viewers should never know what’s going to happen next," Ice Cube said Thursday in a statement. "When VH1 asked us to join the producing team, we jumped aboard as we have had success with VH1, and we love their team, excitement and commitment to the show."
Hip Hop Squares marks the rapper-actor-producer's latest foray. In addition to starring in and producing Barbershop: The Next Cut, Ice Cube also produced Straight Outta Compton. He recently teamed with VH1 for a town hall to discuss the Barbershop sequel.
"Ice Cube is one of the most prolific figures in hip-hop history and American culture at large," said VH1 and Logo president Chris McCarthy. "We are thrilled to partner with him and CBS Distribution to reinvent one of America's most iconic game shows with Hip Hop Squares.”
Hip Hop Squares marks the latest series pickup for VH1. The cabler recently picked up a late-night talk show hosted by Marc Lamont Hill as well as a talk show hosted by Amber Rose. VH1 has been doubling down on content of late, reviving America's Next Top Model and handing out a straight-to-series order based on Star Jones' saga at The View starring Vanessa Williams in addition to ordering the original film The Breaks as an ongoing scripted drama series.
The unscripted space has seen success on broadcast of late with nostalgia series like ABC's Match Game and The $100,00 Pyramid.
Ice Cube is repped by UTA.