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Epix Picks Up Updated Mark Burnett Series ‘The Contender’

Epix will launch a new version of the Mark Burnett boxing series The Contender. The network will debut a 12-episode season, which will start production this year with an anticipated debut later this year.

The series will feature 16 fighters in an elimination competition. The boxers will be divided into two teams to train, each overseen by a renowned boxing coach.

The Contender ran for four seasons, from 2005-2009.  

MGM Television is producing with Paramount Television. The format is owned by the two.

The Contender has launched the careers of many fighters, with some Contenders taking world titles–but this new iteration of the series will also showcase the heart, spirit and dramatic personal stories of these fighters as they fight in and out of the ring to realize their dreams," said Michael Wright, president of Epix. "This is not only real boxing, but real, raw human storytelling from the best unscripted television production team in the world.” 

Epix is part of MGM, and Burnett is president of MGM Television and Digital.

“Boxing belongs on premium pay television and there is no better home for The Contender than Epix," said Burnett. “We will tell stories of the fighters, the families and their difficult journeys in the emotionally compelling Contender style, so that viewers get to vicariously ‘walk a mile’ in the boxers shoes."

Eric Van Wagenen is executive producer and showrunner alongside Burnett.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.