Adam Conover Teases 'The Crystal Maze's High-Pressure Challenges (VIDEO)
Nickelodeon is inviting viewers on a fresh and exciting game show adventure with their new series The Crystal Maze, debuting Friday, January 24.
Derived from the beloved British series of the same name, The Crystal Maze harkens back to the nostalgia associated with game shows from Nickelodeon's past, from Legends of the Hidden Temple to Double Dare.
Back in the fall, TV Insider traveled to the set of the show in Bristol, England to experience the fun firsthand. While there, we tested some of the games and chatted with host Adam Conover (Adam Ruins Everything), as well as Rob Bagshaw, Executive Vice President, Nickelodeon Unscripted Content.
"That this is a series of interconnected, very physical, super-fun escape rooms set in a fictional maze," says Conover, whose gig as host includes taking on the persona of Maze Master.
"We're in a labyrinth and we're going from zone to zone, and game to game, winning crystals along the way. It's really an escape room meets Double Dare in a way," he explains. "And then it's of course hosted by me, an ageless immortal Maze Master, who is fabulously dressed."
The 10-episode season will feature teams as they bounce around various themed zones — Aztec, Eastern, Futuristic and Industrial — to collect crystals, which signify time in the dome known as the Crystal Maze. Inside, their goal is to collect as much airborne confetti before the allotted time runs out. The more confetti collected means the more money they walk away with.
"All the games are created for teams of five adults," Conover says of the show's usual format. "Instead we have American families playing them. So all of the games are obviously safe for kids — [Nickelodeon] taste-tested them and everything — but it's kids playing games that were designed for adults. So it's really serious in that way. And the adults have just as hard a time with them."
When it comes to the families participating, diversity is at the forefront. "We're always looking for that, so in every new show that we're developing, inclusivity and diversity are key in our casting. But it has to come from personality and character first," Bagshaw explains.
Among the participating families are those with a deaf family member and a cancer survivor, along with blended families with adopted kids, same-sex parents, and more. And when it comes to gameplay, "the youngest is the one choosing who does which game," Bagshaw shares, "but hopefully there's a game where each family member can shine."
"There's a little bit of a fictional world, and character to it that really excited me," Conover says about taking the gig. "I want the character to be really heightened and over-the-top."
This "heightened and over-the-top" effect is reflected in his clothing, as we spoke to Conover in a pink-toned sparkly suit coat and other wild accessories. "I worked with my stylist, who I work with on Adam Ruins Everything," he reveals, adding while pointing to his sparkly coat, "We've got 10 of these. We're doing 10 episodes."
Conover himself has a favorite game involving a dome, maze and air gun. "That is such a cool game design, especially because it requires really careful teamwork. They really cannot phone in the teamwork. They can't just all shout."
"I think that's a really, really cool piece of game design," he continues. "I'm a big video game fan. I have a game design podcast called Humans Who Make Games. That's the dimension that I'm really most interested in."
Above, Conover breaks down all you need to know about The Crystal Maze before tuning in, and join him in the maze's dimension when the series debuts.
The Crystal Maze, Series Premiere, Friday, January 24, 7/6c, Nickelodeon