The Titan Games
BY Georgi R. Chakarov
It’s The Rock's dream come true. Just a few days ago, NBC launched its brand-new athletic competition format The Titan Games, co-created and hosted by Dwayne Johnson. The premiere scored 6.5 million total viewers and gave the network its first non-sports Thursday win ever when facing a new episode of The Big Bang Theory. It also increased the slot average by 157%. The show is already winning fans all over the world and catching the attention of broadcasters outside America. We talked to the format’s creators about the work that was put behind this truly titanic project for modern entertainment television which takes physical competition formats to the next level.
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Arthur Smith, CEO of A. Smith & Co. and Executive Producer of The Titan Games

Dwayne Johnson commented briefly: “We wanted to create a new kind of athletic competition unlike anything ever attempted before. The Titan Games will challenge competitors to succeed in ways no one thought possible while entertaining the whole world at the same time.”

Arthur Smith, CEO of A. Smith & Co. and Executive Producer of The Titan Games and also NBC’s Ninja Warrior expressed his satisfaction with the scale and execution of the production: “We have been extremely blessed to partner with Dwayne as there is truly no one in the world better suited to be the face and spirit of The Titan Games. Dwayne’s philosophy and personality are ingrained in the very fabric of the competition – he not only serves as an Executive Producer and as the host of the Games but many of the insane, grueling challenges are inspired by his own legendary workouts. And his unparalleled ability to motivate people to push their limits to become their best selves shines through with the everyday athletes who become superheroes in this competition.

The Titan Games is a one-of-a-kind athletic competition which features everyday people who are outstanding athletes getting a chance to be superheroes as they compete head-to-head in never-seen-before, epic in scale challenges. Each episode, viewers will witness a series of compelling, one-on-one, hard-fought battles to see who has what it takes to be crowned a Titan. The matches are breath-taking, the victories are savored, and the camaraderie is heartfelt and uplifting. Just as Dwayne inspires his countless fans and followers the world over, our athletes are people who inspire the folks in their lives with their tireless work ethic and drive to achieve. These are people who work 12-hour shifts as trauma nurses and truck drivers and then go and train in the gym for three hours every day. Over 30 years I’ve been fortunate to be a part of major sports and entertainment events including three Olympic Games, and The Titan Games ranks up there as one of the most ambitious productions I’ve ever been a part of,” Smith said.

The goal was clearly to create the most epic show ever seen on TV, as Smith noted.

Copyrights: © NBCUniversal. All Rights Reserved.

“Dwayne and all of us had the shared vision of creating an athletic competition so epic in scale that it would be unlike anything ever seen before. The size, scope, and complexity of our massive, crazy challenges made it difficult to find a place to put it all in. So, we built the Titan Arena and the 7-story Mt. Olympus on a six-acre compound just outside of Los Angeles.

To succeed in the competition, a Titan needs to be an elite all-around athlete possessing strength, speed, agility, and a great dose of heart. In every episode, we crown one male titan and one female titan. At the end of the season, the titans battle it out to determine a male and female Titan Champion.”

Meredith Ahr, President, Alternative & Reality Group NBC Entertainment

Meredith Ahr, President, Alternative & Reality Group at NBC Entertainment, also shared her experience on working with Johnson while developing the concept and then producing the show.

“We wanted to create an athletic competition that had never been attempted before that would not only include competitors from all walks of life, but extraordinary athletes who needed a platform to shine. We knew there was no one better person to partner with than Dwayne Johnson.

We worked side-by-side with Dwayne as well as our other producing partners Dany Garcia and Arthur Smith, every step of the way to ensure that Dwayne’s DNA was present in every aspect of the show. He approved every challenge, watched every casting reel and had an active role in each act of the show.

The concept was a long time in the making, but once all the pieces came together - Dwayne, the challenges, and the tone - we got it off the ground quickly.
The end result is a new type of competition series; one that is the ultimate test of athleticism and heart, but also one that motivates and inspires men and women across the country to dig deep and want to reach their own greatness.”

She is also convinced that the show is set to become one of the big international hits of 2019.

“We feel like this has all the makings of a global success — the stories are relatable and universal. Audiences around the world are hungry for something that inspires them and that they can watch with their family and friends.”

Ana Langenberg, SVP Format Sales & Production at NBCUniversal International Formats

Ana Langenberg, SVP Format Sales & Production at NBCUniversal International Formats, agreed with Ahr and added that they are already working on setting up a production hub in Europe and looking into other territories.

“The Titan Games is a stand out show with great potential and global appeal. The scale, i.e. impact of the set, size of the unique and original challenges and the grandiosity of Mount Olympus all help make the show so unique and breath-taking. It’s also not a low budget show, but it doesn’t have to be produced in other territories with the same US budgets in order to be spectacular.

We are currently working on setting up a production hub in Europe to allow several broadcasters to produce together back to back and share the production costs. If the international roll out of the format is as successful as we hope, we may also consider setting up other hubs in the likes of Latin America for example, to allow for broadcasters in those regions to also benefit from this model,” Langenberg commented.


The Titan Games is produced by A. Smith & Co. in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio and Seven Bucks Productions. The Titan Games set sprawls across a 6 acre compound that took four weeks to construct. Titan Arena stands nearly 70 feet tall and features challenges up to 32 feet tall. It is the biggest outdoor structure ever built for an athletic competition series on TV.    In each episode, contenders step inside the epic arena to compete in gruelling head-to-head challenges including Herculean Pull, Hammering Ram, Uprising, Power Vault, Cyclone, Heavy Metal, etc. The final duel for the Titan title takes place on Mount Olympus.
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