10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Peyton Manning to Host 'College Bowl' Reboot on NBC (Exclusive)
NBC is ready to play College Bowl again.
The network has handed out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for a revival of the quiz show hosted by former NFL great Peyton Manning. A premiere date has not yet been determined.
The series, which pits teams of college students head-to-head for scholarship funds and bragging rights, hails from Universal Television Alternative Studio and Steve Mosko's Village Roadshow. The company heavily pursued the licensing rights for the original long-running series, reimagined the concept and secured Manning as its host. Former WME partner and unscripted guru Mark Itkin will also exec produce via his Tough Lamb Media shingle.
"We're excited to bring this beloved college game show back to primetime with a fresh new spin that is sure to not only entertain but also inspire,” said Jenny Groom, the newly installed executive vp unscripted content at NBCUniversal. "Peyton’s love for competition, sport and education makes him the perfect host and partner. It will be so much fun to showcase these college rivalries and, more importantly, the incredibly smart and talented students behind them."
Sources say NBC bought College Bowl months ago, when Paul Telegdy was still serving as entertainment chairman at the network. Telegdy and his former head of unscripted, Meredith Ahr, were both pushed out after an investigation at company found that they fostered a toxic culture, allegations of which were first detailed by The Hollywood Reporter. Groom — a longtime exec under both Telegdy and Ahr in the unscripted department — was recently promoted to oversee reality/talent competition and game shows across the NBCUniversal portfolio.
"I’ve always loved intense college competition, so I’m thrilled to be part of the team bringing back College Bowl," said Manning, who has endowed 45 scholarships via his PeyBack Foundation. "Having personally seen the profound impact scholarships can make on deserving students, I can’t wait for the moment when we get to award life-changing scholarships to the winning team."
The two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback's brother and The Manning Hour host Cooper Manning will serve as a sideline reporter on College Bowl and, alongside Eli Manning and Richard Reid, exec produce. David Friedman (The Titan Games, Good Morning America, Last Call With Carson Daly) will serve as showrunner.
College Bowl first aired on radio stations in the 1950s before airing for four years on CBS and, from 1963-70, on NBC. The company behind the College Bowl campus program discontinued the series at universities in 2008.
College Bowl joins a roster of NBC alternative programs that includes The Titan Games, Ellen's Game of Games, The Wall, America's Got Talent, American Ninja Warrior and The Voice, among others.