Fox game for Youtube smash "Hole in the Wall"

Tue May 20, 2008 3:19am EDT

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Fox is getting bent out of shape for its next competition series.

The network has given a series order to "Hole in the Wall," the "human Tetris" game show whose foreign incarnations have become a YouTube hit.

In the show, participants contort their bodies to fit precut walls flying toward them on a track. If they don't fit through shapes, they're pushed off the track into a pit of water below.

"I think its success is going to be instantaneous," said Fox entertainment president Mike Darnell, who has picked up 13 hours (which could be divided into 26 half-hours) for next season. "It's as simple as it gets. It's one of those shows I think is going to be very addictive. You think, 'I'm not going to watch this,' and a half-hour later you're still watching it."

Originally launched in Japan in 2006, it now screens in 16 territories, including Australia, Russia and Denmark. Clips of the show have been popular on YouTube, with its videos registering millions of user views each. The franchise is produced by FremantleMedia, the firm behind "American Idol."

Overseas versions were often played by contestants for fun, but American audiences respond stronger to unscripted shows when there's money involved, Fox said.

"Wall" is one of a few Japanese-inspired shows coming soon to network television. ABC will air "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" in the summer, where contestants compete in challenges overseas. ABC also will air the obstacle course series "Wipeout," which takes a cue from the 1980s Japanese hit "Takeshi's Castle."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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