'Celebrity Deathmatch' Revived at MTV2 (Exclusive)

Celebrity Deathmatch Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Photofest

Celebrity Deathmatch Still - H 2015

MTV2 is bringing back Celebrity Deathmatch for another round.

The Viacom-owned cable network has handed out a pilot order to the animated comedy, in addition to picking up a topical show from Charlamagne and docuseries starring rapper Tyga, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Eight years after its six-season run came to an end, Celebrity Deathmatch creator Eric Fogel and Wasteland Entertainment are behind the new incarnation, with Chris McCarthy and Paul Ricci also on board as executive producers. The new version will again feature animated no-holds-barred fantasy fights between infamous figures from entertainment and pop culture and will be reimagined for a social media world and hourly Twitter wars. (Watch one of the original battles, between Michael Jackson and Madonna, below.)

The original series ran for 75 episodes on MTV from 1998-2002 before it was canceled, only to be revived by MTV2 in 2005 as part of a Friday programming block that ultimately aired in 2006. The fifth season, produced by Cuppa Coffee Studios, drew 2.5 million total viewers to the network, becoming MTV2's highest-rated season premiere ever before the series was canceled for a second time in 2007.

Deathmatch marks the latest unscripted series to be revived. It joins VH1's The Osbournes (imported from MTV), as well as Fox's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, NBC's Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and ABC's BattleBots as the reality space continues to struggle to launch a broad new hit.

Beyond Deathmatch, MTV2 has also picked up to series Kingin' With Tyga, a six-episode half-hour series that follows the rapper and his crew as they attempt over-the-top stunts and indulge in his lavish lifestyle. Karen Frank, Elena Diaz, Darin Byrne and Ricci exec produce for MTV2 alongside Tyga, Marcus Fox, Brant Pinvidic, J.D. Roth, Todd Nelson and Adam Kaloustian for 3 Ball Entertainment.

Uncommon Sense With Charlamagne tha God is an eight-episode, half-hour comedy talk show hosted by nationally syndicated radio host and MTV2 favorite Charlamagne. The series expands his relationship with the network beyond Guy Code and Charlamagne and Friends. Each week, he will be joined by a panel of comedians, curating the loudest social media topics of the week with an uncommon spin. The show concept is by Dara Cook, Rich Korson and Ryan Ling, with Brian Saracusa serving as executive producer. Cook, Darin Byrne, Ricci and McCarthy will oversee for MTV2. 

The Charlamagne and Tyga series join a roster of programming including Guy Code, Nick Cannon's Wild 'N Out revival, and Joking Off.

"After scoring our highest-rated quarter in history and continuing seven quarters of growth, MTV2 continues to outpunch its weight class," MTV2 GM McCarthy said. “From the anticipated return of Celebrity Deathmatch to new hit MTV2’s Joking Off and upcoming series with Tyga and Charlamagne, we’ll continue to deliver content that drives record viewership.”

For MTV2, the pickups come as the cabler has scored its highest-rated quarter in history — capping its streak of seven straight consecutive periods of growth.