By Tara Bitran on June 11th, 2019.

 

From celebrity contestants belting it out in elaborate costumes to aspiring athletes attempting to replicate The Rock’s workouts, these shows brought fresh flavor to the unscripted space.

 

‘Million Dollar Mile’

What’s at stake – Everyday runners must overcome obstacles to win up to $1 million at the end of the “Million Dollar Mile,” a race through Los Angeles. However, they are chased by elite athletes whose only objective is to stop them from making it to the end.

Origins – LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment produced with Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan.

Hosts – Former NFL player and current minor-league baseball player Tim Tebow, L.A. Chargers play-by-play man Matt “Money” Smith and ESPN reporter Maria Taylor

Ratings – CBS moved the show from Wednesday nights to Saturdays after two episodes of lackluster ratings that included a 1.0 debut in the 18-to-49 demographic and 4.1 million viewers. Two weeks later, the series was pulled with six episodes left to air.

Winner – Most contestants on the show were only able to earn $10,000, though San Diego MMA fighter/boxer Dashon Johnson took home $50,000 for the biggest prize awarded on an aired episode.

 

‘The Titan Games’

NBC

Premiere: Jan. 3

What’s at stake – Athletes strive to become Titans and win $100,000. In each episode, four female and four male contestants go head-to-head in a round of paired battles, and then the best of both groups face one another on an obstacle course called Mount Olympus. Contestants compete only against members of the same sex.

Origins – Obstacles on the show were inspired by host Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s own workouts; the show was teased to be similar to NBC’s 2008 remake of American Gladiators.

Star ties – Johnson created the show and serves as exec producer.

Ratings – The premiere scored a 1.8 rating among adults 18-to-49 and 6.5 million viewers for its two-hour debut.

Winners – James Jean-Louis, Charity Witt

 

‘The World’s Best’

CBS

Premiere Feb. 3

What’s at stake – The global competition features contestants exhibiting talents as varied as underwater escape, taekwondo and singing, all vying to impress the judges and the “Wall of the World” — 50 of the most accomplished experts from every field of entertainment.

Origins – CBS ordered the series in February 2018. It’s produced by reality TV guru (and chairman of MGM Worldwide Television Group) Mark Burnett and Mike Darnell, president of unscripted & alternative television at Warner Bros.

Host – James Corden

Star ties – Judges included Drew Barrymore, RuPaul and Faith Hill.

Ratings – The premiere opened to a 1.0 rating among adults 18-to-49. The season finished with a 1.59 rating in the demographic despite scoring the coveted post-Super Bowl LIII slot.

Winner – Lydian Nadhaswaram, a 13-year-old pianist from Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, won the first season, and the $1 million prize, on the March 13 finale. He topped South Korea’s Kukkiwon troupe, aka “The Flying Taekwondo Masters.”

 

‘The Masked Singer’

Fox

Premiere Jan. 2

What’s at stake – Over 10 episodes, celebrities sing in head-to-toe costumes to conceal their identities from the judges and the audience. Hints are given about each contestant’s real identity, and at the end of each episode, one singer is eliminated and unmasked.

Origins – The show is an adaptation of South Korea’s The King of Mask Singer,which started in 2015.

Host – Nick Cannon

Star ties – Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger served as judges for the first season.

Ratings – With a 3.5 rating among adults 18-to-49, it was this season’s No. 1 new show. Fox has already set a second season that will premiere in fall 2019 and ordered a third season as well.

Winner – “Monster” T-Pain, who beat out Bee (Gladys Knight) and Peacock (Donny Osmond) for the trophy. “I feel like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders from having to keep that secret for that long,” T-Pain told THRsoon after he was revealed as the winner. “Suck it, everybody who told me I couldn’t sing! I just won a singing competition!”

 

‘The Final Table’

Netflix

Premiere Nov. 20

What’s at stake – Professional chefs from around the world are split into 12 teams of two, cooking dishes based on a country theme. One food critic and two celebrities from the episode’s country judge the dishes in round one. The bottom three compete in a second round, using an ingredient from the country’s culture chosen by a guest chef.

Origins – Netflix tasked Yasmin Shackleton and Robin Ashbrook with creating the streamer’s first original global cooking competition.

Host – Bon Appétit magazine restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton

Star ties – Dax Shepard, Colin Hanks, Hasan Minhaj and Alessandra Ambrosio were judges, and star food critics Rashmi Uday Singh and Sam Sifton and chefs Enrique Olvera and Clare Smyth also appeared.

Winner – In the final, American Timothy Hollingsworth was pitted against his previous partner, Darren MacLean of Canada, after they bested Australians Shane Osborn and Mark Best, and won the competition. And speaking of victories, Russell Norman scored a trophy from the Directors Guild of America in February for the “Japan” episode, the eighth of the series’ 10 installments.

 

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