reality TV reviews and news

CBS is filming a pilot of this brand-new reality format

Will CBS' Walk the Line be the next Amazing Race or Survivor? (Photo illustration by Shutterstock)

CBS has ordered a pilot episode, reality blurred has learned, of a new format called Walk the Line on which two teams of two people walk between landmarks. The team that walks the shortest distance will win, meaning they have to walk in as straight a line as possible, so diverging as a result of obstacles is a big risk.

The format comes from all3media’s Studio Lambert, the production company responsible for shows such as Gogglebox (Bravo’s The People’s Couch), Pitch SlappedUndercover Boss, and Just Jillian.

The BBC produced a pilot of the show last year, in August and September, but there has been no public word about that or an actual series order. (I’ve asked the BBC and will update if I hear back.)

The CBS version is currently in the process of hiring crew, I’ve learned.

Thoughts on the format of Walk the Line

This is how the Studio Lambert format is described on all3media’s web site:

“It sounds like the simplest challenge in the world: 2 teams have a day to walk between 2 well known landmarks.  The catch? They have to travel in a straight line and that line may pass through any number of obstacles, from rivers and walls to houses and thorn bushes.

Walk the Line is not a race — it is not about finishing first. The winning team is the one that walks the shortest distance, the one that strays the least from The Line.

The Line may be straight but it is not straight forward. Every step of the way, tough decisions have to be made. Will the teams keep their nerve, no matter what obstacle they find in their path — or will they chicken out and take the long route round, risking everything for the sake of a few extra steps?

The Line falls in a different dramatic location every week but will always test the ingenuity, powers of persuasion and bravery of our teams of adventurers.  They’ll have to try and get the people they meet along the way to help them on their journey.  Will the proud housewife let Team A tramp their muddy boots through her house and will the grumpy groundsman let Team B pass through his private golf course?

Failure is taking the long route round — to win they have to Walk The Line!”

I really like this idea and format a lot.

It’s simple but challenging, and seems relatively inexpensive for big payoff. Plus, showing off various known and lesser-known landmarks offers the chance for it to bring some of what The Amazing Race does but to a smaller scale and less insanity, since it’s not a race (and I think what The Amazing Race needs most is to slow down).

I’m curious how it will be produced. Does it have to be well-mapped out and all the locations pre-cleared to allow the teams to pass? An all3media newsletter said that “persuasion is the name of the game,” so perhaps some things will truly be left to the contestants to talk there way through. How will that go? Hey, let us and this camera crew parade through your house so we can win money, okay? Thanks bye!

Also interesting is the one-off, two-team format; broadcast networks tend to lean toward single cast, multi-episode formats (though Studio Lambert’s Undercover Boss is a notable exception).

I hope the pilot is a success so we can see the show eventually.

Know anything about this production, or any others? Please let me know! Tips and other feedback are always welcome.