To admirers of a assertive age, the dream of accommodating in a Nickelodeon bold appearance could abandoned be accomplished if you had a aerial altruism for slime, but added crucially: the acceptable affluence to be on a ancestors vacation to Orlando. Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios’ Florida beginning was the epicenter of the network—from bold shows like Double Dare to account ball with All That—throughout the ‘90s. Promoting a concrete area as a destination for adolescent admirers of the arrangement congenital a faculty of association that was absolutely altered in the years afore internet fandom abundantly would appear to ascertain how we socially affianced with the abutting decade of television.
But by the aboriginal 2000s, there was a aciculate abatement in assembly at the Orlando flat as Nickelodeon confused the majority of its operation west. It apparent the end of an era as Nick confused its focus abroad from amateur to activity and alive action.
Nearly 15 years afterwards Nickelodeon bankrupt the flat doors, and with it the affiliate on its affluent history of children’s bold shows, the arrangement is aback in the bold appearance business. This time on foriegn soil, Nickelodeon filmed its latest bold appearance access at a flat in Bristol, England, some 4,2000 additional afar from brilliant Orlando, Florida. The Clear Maze, which premieres on Friday, Jan. 24, is an Americanized adaptation of the accepted bold appearance from England’s Channel 4.
In the show, families appointment challenges in four immersive themed zones: Aztec, Eastern, Futuristic, and Industrial. If a adversary completes a challenge–each of capricious difficulty–they acquire a “time crystal.” The ambition is to acquire as abounding time crystals as accessible afore the appearance ends with the ancestors entering the Clear Arch (exactly what it sounds like) to grab banknote prizes that broadcast about them (think money aerial about a big wind tunnel). Added time crystals agency added time in the dome–and a adventitious to win up to $25,000.
The Clear Arch is the centerpiece of the appearance experience. Aback we visited the Bristol set, the Arch was the aftermost stop on our flat tour, but additionally the best rewarding. Stepping central the amid arch is nerve-wracking at first, decidedly for an American alien with the alternation and no acquaintance of how the Arch works its magic. Anon it’s abounding with bound circulating wind, like blade blowers are bawl at you from all directions, and air-conditioned gold affidavit adhere to your anatomy and agitate all about you. I grab fistfills, but anon apprentice the dry run sews no banknote reward.
Afterwards, Rob Bagshaw, Nickelodeon’s controlling carnality admiral of ad-lib content, appears from above the Clear Arch to acclaim his aboriginal big action aback he took the position six months prior. The absoluteness television adept abaft hits like RuPaul’s Drag Race and Top Chef Adept was brought in to augment Nickelodeon’s ad-lib programming, which he admits has commonly taken a backseat to activity and scripted at the network.
With zeitgeist-stealing absoluteness shows assertive arrangement TV ratings and cartoon in families for, in arrangement exec-speak, “co-viewing opportunities,” the time acquainted appropriate for Nickelodeon to go aback to its roots with a antagonism show.
“We absolutely acquainted that we should be accomplishing our own adaptation of shows that the kids adulation to watch, but with a Nickelodeon lens,” Bagshaw says.
Under the charge to augment Nickelodeon’s demo, Bagshaw began attractive for shows that were agreeable for both kids and parents alike. At the time, a active adaptation of Nickelodeon’s archetypal ‘90s bold appearance Double Dare was airing to abundant fanfare, and prompted a alive tour. One of the network’s greatest hits was aback accordant again, but Bagshaw capital a new, “big, concrete bold show.” He began demography aboriginal pitches and broadcast his chase to added absolute bold shows from about the world. Eventually he begin one abutting to home. Recalling his canicule as a jailbait aback in England, Bagshaw saw an befalling to accompany the admired British bold appearance The Clear Bewilderment stateside beneath a family-friendly format.
“I bethink watching The Clear Bewilderment aback I was a jailbait and it still is activity strong,” Bagshaw says. “They change it hardly every year. But haven’t absolutely had families ball the game. Traditionally, it’s consistently been a aggregation of bristles accompany or contestants or assignment colleagues. I anticipation that’s a appearance that does well, and it’s a absolute bang to play.”
The alternation originally aired on England’s Channel 4 from 1990-1995 and fabricated a one-off improvement hosted by Stephen Merchant in 2016. The renewed absorption in the alternation led to an official revival, which is still airing on Channel 4, hosted by amateur Richard Ayoade.
Nickelodeon begin its host in amateur and amateur Adam Conover, who is best accepted for his TruTV alternation Adam Ruins Everything. A approved host of alive actor ball shows over the years, Conover says actuality the adept of ceremonies comes artlessly to him. The action to advance The Clear Bewilderment represented a adventitious to fulfil a adolescence dream by arena a above allotment in a Nickelodeon bold show. He additionally saw it as a fun improvisational claiming due to the show’s able amateur and themed areas. Nickelodeon let Conover run with creating his own appearance for the host position.
“In my added workload, Adam Ruins Everything, I ball a acute addendum of myself too,” Conover says. “I was like, ‘I can go in a altered administration and body that appearance in a altered way.’ This is like absolutely fantasy land.”
His on-stage persona for Clear Bewilderment both ceremoniousness the theatrics of the U.K. show’s aboriginal host Richard O’Brien, best accepted as the biographer of Rocky Horror Picture Show, and is a acute addendum of Conover’s own personality.
“If you host Jeopardy, you aloof absolutely accept to abrasion a clothing and be actual accustomed and even-keeled,” Conover says. “But this one I can do array of a crazy appearance and a altered administration from what I’ve done before. This guy has actuality in accepted with the catacomb keeper, that array of affair area it’s it can be really, absolutely silly.”
Sitting on a belvedere in the adumbration of the aerial Clear Dome, Conover recalls some of his admired interactions from borer the appearance that allegorize his ability for fabulous embellishment.
“In one of the episodes, I acquaint the kids I’m a thousand years old,” he says with a laugh. “Obviously, anybody knows it’s a TV show, but it’s fun to accept that bit of a fabulous aspect in it. I’m array of arena it both ways. I am the bewilderment master, but I’m a little bit amoral. I’m a little bit of a bluff spirit.”
Conover’s apparel matches the part; he’s cutting a sparkling, applique amethyst cape during our interview. Aback he active on for the job, he gave his stylist aback in Los Angeles a specific appeal for the vibe he was gunning for.
“You apperceive how aback you go to Dracula’s house, he’s all dressed up, alike admitting he’s all abandoned in a home in a big castle, right? That’s this guy. He lives in this maze. He’s dressed to the nines every distinct day. It’s this crazy array of black abrasion look. We’ve got a lot of sparkly, gold cape acme and actuality like that. It’s actual Met Ball but a kid’s show.”
Conover is accommodating to go the added mile to put his own comedic accouterment on the bold appearance proceedings. As their guide, he helps families booty on the Clear Bewilderment for a adventitious at a austere banknote prize. For admirers at home, he says the multi-camera format, after a alive audience, gives the appearance a altered feel from Nick’s antecedent entries in the genre.
“Obviously, I adulation Double Dare, but it’s a distinct camera show,” he says. “They absolutely are in the places. [The Clear Maze] feels a lot added immersive. I anticipate it absolutely transports them there. The amateur are crazily fun to watch. It’s activity to accord that faculty of like, ‘Oh, I appetite to ball that bold and I ambition I could do that.’”
Not abandoned is The Clear Bewilderment added immersive, but it added cements Nickelodeon’s acceptability for actuality an across-the-board network. The appearance catholic a assorted set of families from the United States to its Bristol, England, studio. Bagshaw says it gives the appearance an American feel while additionally actuality adumbrative of Nickelodeon’s viewers: “We’ve got families that are blended. We’ve got adoptive families. We’ve got three generations. We’ve got a grandma who’s playing. We accept a ancestors with two moms. The youngest aggregation captain in one ancestors is a blight survivor and she has a prosthetic limb. So it’s air-conditioned inclusive, and actual diverse, which is absolutely cogitating of our audience.”
Could The Clear Bewilderment reignite a acknowledgment to celebrity for a arrangement that is still affectionately remembered for GAS, Legends of The Hidden Temple, Figure It Out, and Double Dare? Bagshaw is ambiguous on the achievability of added revivals for now. Instead, he’s opting to focus on new shows, with the aforementioned activity that fabricated Nick’s hits of the accomplished bell with admirers still to this day.
“Nick kids are air-conditioned kids,” Bagshaw says. “We’re not activity to be accomplishing this array of appearance that you would see on added kids networks. Nickelodeon has consistently been appealing edgy. We absolutely don’t allocution bottomward to our kids; they’re smart, they’re opinionated, they’re sensitive, and they appetite to do what cipher abroad is doing, no amount their age. I’m attractive at the things that they’re watching abroad and I’m thinking, ‘well how can we do an aboriginal adaptation of that?’”
The Clear Bewilderment premieres on Friday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. on Nickelodeon.
Chris Longo is the agent editor and book copy editor of Den of Geek. Read added of his work here. Acquaint him which old academy Nickelodeon bold appearance was your admired on Twitter @east_coastbias.
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