More than 15 years after the show was first conceived, The Runner is finally being produced: it will be filmed in July and air on Verizon’s streaming app Go90. The show follows a contestant trekking across the country and trying to evade capture by teams of people.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are still executive producing via their Pearl Street Films, but also on board this time are Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Media Group and Adaptive Studios, whose Marc Joubert was a central cast member on Project Greenlight. Initially developed at ABC and dropped after Sept. 11, 2001, the show was later picked up by Mark Burnett and Yahoo, which did nothing with it, kind of like Yahoo does with most things.
In a press release, Piligian said, “The Runner integrates real high-stakes competition, live elements, a need for speed, and the ability to fight and persevere. It’s incredibly exciting to produce something this complex, and we’re thrilled to be in business with Matt and Ben, Adaptive, and our partners at Go90 to do it.”
How The Runner will work
This latest incarnation will have eight teams of two, who will be called “chasers,” pursuing one runner. That person will attempt to make it from one side of the country to the other in 30 days without being caught. Viewers can win cash prizes for helping those teams via tips.
The show is currently casting, and the casting call mentions “a series of skills-based challenges that could be considered physically and mentally demanding” that “may include running, climbing, lifting, carrying, driving, operating equipment, puzzle solving, long periods without sleep and exposure to extreme and/or unpredictable weather.” It describes the competition this way:
“Somewhere in the United States, a mysterious RUNNER will be racing toward an undisclosed city. That RUNNER will be hunted by competing teams of CHASERS. It is up to the RUNNER to use strategy and determination to avoid the CHASERS and make it to the target city. The task of the CHASERS is to find the RUNNER before time runs out… or another group of CHASERS beats them to it.”
Finals casting will take place the week of June 5. Here’s how the casting call describes the roles:
“To be the runner: You must be shrewd, tough, physically fit and independent! You have no one to rely on but yourself. The ideal RUNNER is adaptive, resilient, street smart and great with strategy.
To be a chaser: You and your partner must be outgoing, clever and, yes, in good shape! It doesn’t matter if you are friends, relatives or co-workers, as long as you can work together, strategize and win.”