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MTV to Debut Comedy Game Show ‘SafeWord’ From ‘Lip Sync Battle’ Producers

Variety logo Variety 6/26/2017 Joe Otterson
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MTV is set to launch a new comedy game show called “SafeWord,” the network announced Monday.

From the producers of “Lip Sync Battle” and hosted by Terrence J, the series will feature celebrity guests such as Kevin Hart, Damien Dante Wayans, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Marlon Wayans, Kelly Rowland, Nelly, LaLa Anthony, Amber Rose, “13 Reasons Why” cast mates Ross Butler and Justin Prentice, Charlamagne Tha God, Drake Bell, Lil Rel Howery, Jermaine Fowler and more.

The series is based off the U.K. format that aired on itv2 and was originally developed and produced by STV Productions and Motion Content Group. In each episode, the celebrity guests will partner with superstar comedians, including Carly Aquilino, Sam Jay, Ricky Velez, Leonard Ouzts, Taylor Tomlinson, Akaash Singh, Matt Pavich, Sherry Cola to help them play a series of games in front a live audience. Throughout multiple rounds, the teams go head-to-head daring each other in a variety of challenges including social media games. In the spirit of a friendly comedy roast, the celebrities are tasked with taking the heat, but can always stop the pain by using their “safeword.”

“SafeWord” is executive produced Jay Peterson, Todd Lubin and Jerry Carita for Matador. James Sunderland serves as showrunner. Terrence Jenkins serves as host and executive producer. Candida Boyette-Clemons and Paul Ricci are executive producers for MTV. The series is directed by Michael Simon.

“SafeWord” will premiere on July 13 at 11:30 p.m. ET, immediately following a new episode of “Wild ‘N Out” and as part of MTV’s “Throwdown Thursdays” comedy block.

This is the latest in a string of unscripted shows MTV is launching as the network shifts its focus to attracting younger viewers. “The big theme is really for MTV to run back into youth culture — where we really made our mark,” network head Chris McCarthy said in February. “We are looking for talent to help us find the stories that will resonate in that culture.”

To that end, the network is investing in unscripted fare like revivals of “Fear Factor,” “My Super Sweet 16” and “Promposal,” among other shows. They are also significantly paring down their scripted offerings, with MTV recently announcing that the sophomore season of fantasy series “The Shannara Chronicles” will migrate to Spike. However, “Scream” Season 3 will still air on MTV, albeit with a new storyline and a new cast.

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