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ABC Plans Intelligence ‘Sporting Event’

Buoyed by the success of the return of Super Millionaire, ABC is heading back into the game-show world with 64 Grand Slam.

It’s a "game show with balls," says executive producer Michael Davies, and it’s currently in development for ABC with a likely premiere this summer.

The show, imported from Britain, gives 16 super-smart contestants an opportunity to win $512,000, with the champion having to win head-to-head matches to take home all the money.

In tournament fashion, players will face off in eight one-on-one competitions, moving into four quarter-finals, two semi-finals, and one final that produces the champion.

ABC Senior VP of Alternative Series and Specials Andrea Wong calls the show a sporting event of intelligence. "The way it’s shot, the way it’s covered, everything about it is going to be like watching a sport."

Each match involves five rounds: complicated mathematical equations; words and letters; contemporary knowledge; a fourth in which contestants have 24 hours to learn about a topic before they are quizzed on it; and a fifth specialty round, in which contestants choose the subject they know best.

Contestants will be invited to participate, and will range from MIT graduates to people with regular jobs but super-high IQs. "This is not about book-learning, it’s about having a really quick mind," Davies says.

No deal has been completed yet, but Davies expects ABC to make 64 Grand Slam into an annual event if the show is successful.