2:20pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Mario Lopez to Host CBS' 'Candy Crush' (Exclusive)
Mario Lopez is returning to primetime.
The actor turned TV and radio personality has been tapped to host CBS' Candy Crush, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Picked up straight to series in October, the live-action game show is based on the popular mobile game of the same name. The new format, created and executive produced by Matt Kunitz, has elements of his popular series Wipeout and Fear Factor. Production on the series started Thursday ahead of a Sunday, July 9, premiere.
"Mario Lopez is a perfect fit to host Candy Crush. As a big fan of the game and a competitor by nature, his larger-than-life enthusiasm matches the size and scope of our show,” said Kunitz.
Here's how episodes of the hourlong TV series will work: Teams of two will have to use their wits and physical agility to compete on enormous interactive game boards, which CBS says will feature next-generation technology, as they conquer Candy Crush and are crowned champions.
For Lopez, Candy Crush marks his latest hosting gig. He previously fronted Fox's The X-Factor as well as MTV's America's Best Dance Crew and Top Pop Group in addition to serving as a regular host of syndicated entertainment newsmagazine Extra. Lopez, best known for his breakout role as A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell, also has his own syndicated radio show. The Candy Crush gig brings him back to CBS following roles on the network's The Bold and the Beautiful and NCIS: New Orleans.
"As a player, I am excited to step into the real-life Candy Crush arena," said Lopez.
Launched in 2012, Candy Crush sees players matching colored candies in combinations of three or more to win points, with more than 2,000 levels. Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga are two of the top 10 grossing mobile games in the U.S. An estimated 18 billion game rounds are played monthly around the world.
The game show will be produced by Lionsgate, where Kunitz is under an overall deal, and Candy Crush creator King. CBS Television Distribution will distribute the series domestically, while Lionsgate will handle international. Candy Crush will be produced by Pulse Creative, Lionsgate Television, King and CBS Television Studios. Kunitz, Lionsgate interactive ventures and games president Peter Levin, King licensing agent of Striker Entertainment Russell Binder, King vp brand Nicki Sheard and King chief creative officer/co-founder and Candy Crush Saga creator Sebastian Knutsson will executive produce.
Lopez is repped by WME and 3 Arts Entertainment.