EXCLUSIVE: Ninja Warrior set builder ATS Team has put physical challenge-meets-quiz show Brain Vs Body into development with Mark Wahlberg’s Unrealistic Ideas as it launches an original production arm.

The LA-based ATS has today unveiled ATS Originals and a full production services arm, ATS Productions, as part of a slate of unscripted projects.

In Brain Vs Body, contestants must use their athleticism and strength to endure intense physical challenges, while answering quiz questions for increasing amounts of money. It sits on the ATS Originals development slate alongside shows such as Million Dollar Fail, a Wipeout-style competition series.

“We’ll be taking these ideas to Mipcom and look forward to pitching them to the international market,” said ATS VP of Development and Production Mike Woodward.

ATS Originals will primarily focus on developing challenge, competition and game show formats, travel docuseries and dating shows for networks and streamers around the world.

Woodward will lead the new division from the U.S., overseeing a UK team run by Development and Production Executive Shayna Waldman.

ATS has been plotting its move into original productions for the past few years, having made its name as in production challenge development, set construction and art direction services across North America, Southeast Asia, Europe and Australia on titles such as American Ninja Warrior (NBC), The Titan Games with Dwayne Johnson USA (NBC) and Ninja Warrior UK (ITV).

The new full service production wing will oversee every stage of ATS Originals’ upcoming projects, from casting in pre-production to post-production — a model used on recent marketing and competition series Clash of Trades.

ATS Productions will also house ATS’s line production services, which have been used on global competition format The Bridge among other shows. The company will continue to provide this service to channels, networks and other production companies on non-scripted formats, specials and series. 

ATS Team Managing Director and Executive Vice President, Production Danny Sanz, will lead ATS Productions, with the North American arm led by Woodward. 

“Each year, our team works on up to 16 original and co-productions, which has allowed us to form great partnerships with talent and production companies over time, as well as create and pitch original ideas around the world,” said Sanz. “The set is an integral part of the challenge and competition shows we create, so it was no surprise when network execs came to us for our own series concepts.

“This accelerated new conversations with channels around the world and for us to share our unique ideas and evolve into becoming a full spectrum production company with a dedicated division to commit to our own originals.”

Woodward said “90% of the focus will be challenge, competition and game show” but added: “It’s fun to work on passion projects as well, that many may not know us for. I find talent, travel and paranormal exciting and Shayna in London has proven to be our master of dating and true crime.”


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