Fox has greenlit an American version of “SAS: Who Dares Wins,” an unscripted format from the U.K. The U.S. version has been given the working title “Special Forces: The Ultimate Test,” and features 16 celebrity contestants who are put through a set of challenges meant to emulate special forces training camp.
The news came ahead of the network’s presentation at the Television Critics Association’s virtual summer 2022 press tour.
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Dubbed “the ultimate celebrity social experiment” by Fox, “Special Forces: The Ultimate Test” will feature NFL vet Danny Amendola, who won two Super Bowl titles with New England; Spice Girl Mel B.; former “The Bachelorette” Hannah Brown; TV chef Tyler Florence; reality personality Kate Gosselin; NBA champ Dwight Howard; R&B singer and pastor Montell Jordan; skier Gus Kenworthy; gymnast Nastia Liukin; soccer star Carli Lloyd; “7th Heaven” actor Beverley Mitchell; “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kenya Moore; baseball Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza; reality TV doctor Drew Pinsky; Trump staffer Anthony Scaramucci; and “Zoey 101” star Jamie Lynn Spears as contestants.
During the show’s TCA panel, contestants weighed in on the physical and emotional difficulty of the training camp.
“It was the mental preparation I was trying to focus on, while being away from my kids.” Spears said. “It was everything I didn’t know I needed. I have so much more respect for what [real special forces soldiers] go out there and do. It’s important for my kids to see me do this and see what really matters. I almost wish they would do a junior version where I could oversee my kids [endure special forces training], to give them a little taste of reality and how blessed we are.”
“I don’t think that would be allowed,” Mel B joked.
“We put them through the toughest test there is,” Fox Alternative Entertainment president Rob Wade said in an interview with Variety. “They’re completely removed from society and producers. The staff sergeants control everything within the camp. They live in a in the middle of the desert, 100 degrees, in a place where the toilets are literally a hole in the ground. Their beds are just a sheet over a metal bar. It’s completely back to basics.”
The celeb contestants are forced to take on training exercises led by Directing Staff (DS) agents Rudy Reyes, Mark “Billy” Billingham, Jason “Foxy” Fox and Remi Adeleke, described by Fox as “an elite team of ex-special forces operatives.”
“SAS” debuted on the U.K.’s Channel 4 in 2015 and has run for seven seasons thus far. Additionally, the spinoff “Celebrity SAS” is currently airing its fourth season. Cast members of the celebrity seasons have included soccer player Wayne Bridge, “The X Factor”-winner Alexandra Burke and “Love Island” stars Camilla Thurlow, Amber Gill, Curtis Pritchard and Wes Nelson.
The series is unique to Fox’s alternative slate in that contestants can withdraw, but there are no elimination rounds, meaning that all “wins” will be dependent on each contestants willpower to stay in the game.
“It’s the first show I’ve ever made where there’s no eliminations. We were faced with this idea that it could have been a one-episode series. They could have just all quit,” Wade said. “There’s only three ways to get out: You hurt yourself — which happened a few times; you say, ‘I quit. I can’t do this;” and if the DS’s decide you can’t carry on due to your behavior. It was really interesting to see these really well-known people come in all of them had a reason to be there. All of them had to find something out about themselves.”
“Special Forces: The Ultimate Test” is produced by Minnow Films. Sophie Leonard, Alicia Kerr and Becky Clarke are executive producers.
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