'The Great Escape' applies 'The Amazing Race's' Emmy-winning formula for TNT

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"The Amazing Race" has won so many Emmys for outstanding reality/competition series -- eight, to be exact -- it would be amazing if its makers didn't reapply the formula somehow.

Actually, they tried last summer with ABC's short-lived "Take the Money and Run." They're trying again this summer: In association with Oscar winners and Imagine Entertainment partners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, producers Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri launch the unscripted TNT series "The Great Escape" Sunday, June 24.

Described by host and NFL Network sportscaster Rich Eisen as "a mini-movie every week," the new show takes contestants to undisclosed locations (early episodes are set on Alcatraz Island and aboard the USS Hornet), where they're given challenges they must conquer to win a big cash reward. It might not be the same as racing around the world, but Eisen believes it's close enough.

"When I was presented with the opportunity," he tells Zap2it, "it was a no-brainer. When you have people like Bert and Elise -- who have hoisted almost every Emmy Award in the reality television genre -- saying they're going to do another reality program and try something new, then the other producers behind it include Imagine and Fox, the answer is, 'Uh ... sure!' "

Eisen also has known TNT programming chief Michael Wright "for years. When they all say, 'Hey, are you interested in doing this?' what a dream team and a dream scenario. I've never seen shoots like this in my life. I'm fortunate to work for the NFL Network, and every Sunday, I see something dramatic. Now I've got 10 more weeks of drama, coming in a different manner, on Sundays. It blows my mind."

Detailing the "Great Escape" concept, Eisen explains, "Every Sunday, it's a unique location that the people will be locked inside and race to be the first to find me. And whoever is lucky enough to do that wins a nice hunk of cash. They've come up with some really wild, unique-to-the-environment tasks for these teams to achieve in order to successfully escape."
Photo/Video credit: TNT