With an atypical fall TV season about to begin, CBS and actor Josh Duhamel are bringing a new kind of competition show to the 2023 TV schedule with Buddy Games. The new reality series will pit six teams of close friends against each other in obstacles that will prove just how "ride or die" they truly are. Challenges will be both mental and physical, and Duhamel is on board as host and executive producer. Having played games like this with his own friends over the years, he spoke with CinemaBlend ahead of the series premiere on September 14 about why he wanted to get his hands dirty with Buddy Games, and what element of the show that viewers might not expect to see!
Josh Duhamel is a familiar face on the small screen, with more than 100 episodes of Las Vegas to his name before joining shows like Jupiter's Legacy, The Thing About Pam, and The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. For Buddy Games, however, he's stepping into the world of unscripted television as a host. When I asked what it has been like for him to embrace unscripted, he shared:
I never had any thoughts about hosting anything. It was never something I thought I would do, but this came about. They wanted me to host it, and I was like, 'Well, I know this world. I don't think there's anybody that would be as enthusiastic as I would about doing it.' And I think what CBS really sparked to was the idea that I wanted to be down in the trenches with them. I wanted to get dirty. I wanted to actually do all the things I was asking them to do and not standing off in the distance observing, but actually being a part of it in some way as the camp counselor. I was just super excited to have the opportunity to get out there and do this.
The challenges of Buddy Games will be mental, physical, and more than a little absurd as the teams of friends try to best each other... all while living together in the same lake house in the pursuit of a $200,000 prize. According to the host, he wasn't going to just make the contestants tackle absurd tasks without putting himself through the same things, and the results should be hilarious, if the promo is any indication! When I noted to Duhamel that not all TV hosts would be willing to get dirty and try these obstacles, he responded:
Well, they probably would if they did that their whole lives! It would have driven me crazy had I not been able to actually do this stuff. You can see these ideas. You work for months casting the show. You work with the games teams on building them out and what are they going to do and how do we make [them] the most competitive, and then you see them sitting there actually built in real life, and you can't help but to want to go out there and do them. There's no way I was going to not actually be a part of it in some way.
Josh Duhamel may not have his own team of friends in the trenches against other teams, but he was trying out the obstacles anyway! That involved quite literally getting extremely dirty on one occasion, and all signs point toward a show that was very creative in creating challenges for the groups of competitors. Of course, in very physical competition shows, there's always the question of whether athletes already have an advantage going in.
It's already safe to say that the different backgrounds of the six teams means contestants of different skill levels. The teams are Derby Squad, Chicago's Finest, Team Pride, Team OK, Pageant Queens, and Philly Forever. I asked Josh Duhamel if the athletes have an edge in the new series, and his answer might be surprising to viewers who expect the physically strongest to dominate every time. The host explained:
It definitely doesn't hurt. If you have some athletic ability, it helps, but also it doesn't matter sometimes because what also matters is how well you know your group, and how well you guys work together and how you know your strengths and your weaknesses and who does what better than others. Some teams, I'm not gonna name any [names]... Philly. [laughs] Philly made some of the dumbest choices as far as who did what... Like, why would you have Anthony do that? And not have Mikey do this? I would sit there and watch their strategy and sometimes be like, 'What are you thinking, you guys? You're shooting yourselves in the foot.' So a lot of it had to do with not just your athletic ability, but your ability to choose who does what.
It's not all about who can run the fastest or lift the most or balance the best when it comes to Buddy Games! The Philly Forever team evidently isn't going to find the right strategy right away, but it certainly appears that the playing field will be pretty level for the new CBS show. While it might not always be full of laughs for the competitors, viewers should definitely be entertained. Check out a preview of what to expect in the series premiere:
How many of us can say that we've belly-flopped into a mud pit as part of our jobs?! Josh Duhamel showed no hesitation in quite literally getting dirty, and he looks like he had plenty of fun in his role as Buddy Games host. As to which team has the most fun and comes out on top... well, the wait to check out the new show is nearly over!
The series premiere of Buddy Games will air on Thursday, September 14 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS, and will be available streaming live and on demand for Paramount+ subscribers. With shows like Big Brother, Survivor, and The Amazing Race (the latter two of which are super-sized for the fall timed to the WGA writers strike), CBS has already proven to be the home for some of television's most exciting reality competition shows, and Buddy Games is joining a strong lineup.