Dominating the world of TV talent competitions isn’t enough for Simon Cowell: He’s now getting into random games of chance. Last month, the producer of America’s Got Talent and The X Factor told Vulture that he was working on a “fantastic” new lottery-style game show that he predicted would be sold to a U.S. network within weeks. No news of a U.S. network attaching itself yet, but today Cowell held a news conference in the U.K. to unveil details of his latest brainchild, whose title seems destined to inspire a song by Wiz Khalifa: Red or Black?.
Making Howie Mandel’s Deal or No Deal briefcases seem complicated by comparison, Cowell’s new show basically asks people to spin a giant wheel each night and bet on whether said wheel will stop on red … or black! (In certain cultures, this game is called “roulette.”) If they guess correctly ten times in a row, they’ll win one million pounds. To make things a bit more dramatic, all of this wagering will take place in Wembley Arena; we’ll also get to see thousands of contestants compete in random challenges as they attempt to win a chance at making the big color-coded bet. ITV, which is airing the show in the U.K., plans to roll out Red or Black? over seven nights this summer, copying the successful pattern used for another British game-show format, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
So what are the odds of Cowell’s new show making it to the States? We’re betting pretty good. NBC’s Minute to Win It, the last U.S. prime-time game show to make even a tiny splash, has pretty much worn out its welcome with viewers. A few new quizzers will be debuting over the summer, but the American-TV marketplace could use a big, overly produced game spectacle à la Deal, and Cowell’s association with the project doesn’t hurt its chances of landing a deal (cue promos of Simon saying, “I want to make you a millionaire!”). The only real question is whether American broadcasters jump on the project early or wait to see how it performs in the U.K. before making a commitment.