Mark Burnett and ABC planning new 'Race'-like 'Expedition Impossible'
By Reality TV World staff, 11/05/2010
Mark Burnett is getting back into the reality race business.
ABC has announced it has ordered Expedition Impossible, a new reality competition produced by the reality TV uber-producer.
Similar to The Amazing Race, Expedition Impossible -- which ABC is dubbing the "next evolution in high adventure and human drama" -- will feature teams solving problems and competing in a 10-leg global competition.
However unlike the long-running CBS reality series, Expedition Impossible will utilize teams of three (not two) and feature a more rugged format in which the contestants will race across deserts, over mountains and through rivers.
"We think the ABC audience will respond to this incredibly fun show, which is equal parts extreme competition, teamwork and strategy, featuring unique landscapes and different cultures," ABC reality co-chiefs John Saade and Vicki Dummer said.
"I love high adventure television, and I am so excited to be working with ABC in bringing an epic Indiana Jones-style experience to the viewers," Burnett added.
While Expedition Impossible will be Burnett's first adventure race program in nearly a decade, it actually represents a return to his television beginnings.
Prior to hitting it big with Survivor in 2000, Burnett created Eco-Challenge, an expedition competition which featured teams of four racing non-stop over a several hundred mile wilderness course. After premiering as a special on MTV in 1995, subsequent Eco-Challenge editions aired annually on Discovery Channel and USA Network until the competition ended in 2002.
In addition, Expedition Impossible's format will likely also invoke comparisons to Treasure Hunters, a real-life National Treasure-like reality competition which aired on NBC in 2006.
Inspired by the success of books like The Da Vinci Code, Treasure Hunters featured teams of three racing around the world to solve a history-themed puzzle.
Despite an impressive production team which included The Da Vinci Code movie producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, Top Chef producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, and several former The Amazing Race producers, Treasure Hunters drew underwhelming ratings and was not renewed for a second season.
"These were guys who used to work for me, some of them... they were going to show to me how to really do it," The Amazing Race producer Bertram van Munster told Reality TV World about Treasure Hunters in a 2008 interview.