11:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
Epix Reviving Mark Burnett's 'The Contender'
Mark Burnett's sports format The Contender is mounting a comeback.
Epix is reviving the boxing competition, making it the fourth network to carry the series after nearly a decade off the air. The order comes nine months after Epix was purchased by Contender format owner MGM.
“The Contender has launched the careers of many fighters, with some contenders taking world titles — but this new iteration of the series will also showcase the heart, spirit and dramatic personal stories of these fighters as they fight in and out of the ring to realize their dreams," Epix president Michael Wright, who took the post in November, said Monday in a statement. "This is not only real boxing, but real, raw human storytelling from the best unscripted television production team in the world.”
The Contender first aired on NBC before moving to ESPN and then Versus. And while it last aired in 2009, the revival comes as little surprise, as it has long been a favorite creation of Burnett, who will continue to produce the show for MGM Television (alongside Paramount).
Epix's new version, set to launch in the fall, will feature 16 fighters in an elimination competition that will be familiar to fans of the original.
“Boxing belongs on premium pay television, and there is no better home for The Contender than Epix." said Burnett. “We will tell stories of the fighters, the families and their difficult journeys in the emotionally compelling Contender style, so that viewers get to vicariously ‘walk a mile’ in the boxers' shoes."
Eric Van Wagenen is executive producer and showrunner alongside Burnett.