CBC, INSIGHT PRODUCTIONS AND THE GURIN COMPANY ANNOUNCE PRODUCTION DETAILS FROM COAST TO COAST FOR NEW ORIGINAL COMPETITION SERIES CANADA’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE, TRANSFORMING THE COUNTRY INTO A GIANT OBSTACLE COURSE

Jul 27, 2022

Sports broadcasters Craig McMorris & Nikki Reyes named as hosts 

Locations From British Columbia to the Confederation Bridge announced 

Competitors from across Canada trained and mentored by athlete coaches Donovan Bailey, Waneek Horn-Miller, Clara Hughes, Gilmore Junio, Jen Kish and Luke Willson  

Craig McMorris (left) and Nikki Reyes host CBC’s CANADA’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE. Photo by Jonathan Jude, Courtesy of Insight Productions and CBC.

**High-res photo of the hosts is available here.**

 

CBC, Insight Productions and The Gurin Company today announced production details for their new original Canadian factual competition format CANADA’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE, with sports broadcaster Nikki Reyes and professional snowboarder and CBC Sports analyst Craig McMorris onboard as hosts. Shooting this summer, CANADA’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE turns the entire country into one giant obstacle course with challenges in Whitehorse, YK; Squamish, BC; Kelowna, BC; Hinton, AB; Sudbury, ON; Thousand Islands, ON; and Québec City, QC; culminating with the finale on the Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and PEI. The series (8x60) is set to premiere on CBC and CBC Gem in winter 2023.

As hosts, Craig McMorris and Nikki Reyes anchor the show, bringing their energy, humour, insight, and impressive broadcast credentials to bear, while connecting viewers to the heart of the action and guiding them through the entire competition. McMorris and Reyes call the play-by-play and interview the players as they experience the agony of defeat and the joy of victory, capturing all the drama of this unique competition series. 

“Featuring superstar athlete coaches and set against the backdrop of our beautiful country, Canada’s Ultimate Challenge will inspire audiences of all ages across the country to cheer on their hometown competitors as they strive to achieve their personal best,” said Jennifer Dettman, Executive Director, Unscripted Content, CBC. “Nikki and Craig are the perfect hosts to take audiences on this exciting cross-country journey, with their extensive backgrounds in sport and fun sense of spontaneity, and we look forward to sharing this fresh adventure with Canadians in the new year.”

“Both Nikki and Craig bring a natural charm and excitement  to the show – they know sport, they know people, and they know how to ask all the right questions of the players and coaches,” said Mark Lysakowski, Executive Producer and SVP, Insight Productions. “Canadians are absolutely going to enjoy getting to know this next dynamic duo as the competition unfolds.”

“We are so excited to be launching this original new format in Canada with CBC and Insight Productions. Turning the country into one giant obstacle course – from natural environments to purpose-built locations…from remote locations to big cities — is truly epic,” said Phil Gurin, President and CEO, The Gurin Company. “With groups of complete strangers working together to create strong, diverse teams under the guidance of our superstar athletes, our unique league travels the country to face familiar locations turned upside down by truly ultimate solo, tandem and team challenges. There are unexpected twists and turns throughout the series, and we can’t wait to share the sites, action and stories with viewers.”

Each episode of CANADA’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE takes place at an awe-inspiring location where the players – 24 Canadians from across the country – compete in spectacular solo, tandem, or team challenges that put their skills to the test.  Six iconic Canadian athletes coach and mentor six teams of four through physical and mental challenges, making strategic decisions and motivating their players to victory. 

Craig McMorris is a 2019 X Games medallist as well as the only snowboarder to ever compete in an X Games real snow competition and free ride world tour event in the same year. He has worked as an analyst for CBC Sports since 2014, providing snowboarding commentary at the 2014, 2018, and 2022 Olympic Winter Games and serving as cultural commentator for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. In 2017, McMorris hosted the CBC Sports series 'Good Times with Craig McMorris’ in which he engaged with some of Canada's most interesting action sports athletes. He is currently the star of a self-produced snowboard film, ‘Fixin.


For the past two decades, Nikki Reyes has worked as a sports television anchor, reporter, and producer.  Prior to CANADA’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE, she anchored TSN’s flagship show Sportscentre, was a sideline reporter for Toronto Raptor’s broadcasts and was the co-host of Raptors Game Day on TSN 1050, providing commentary and analysis during the pregame/halftime/postgame broadcasts. Reyes was also an anchor and field reporter at Sportsnet and NESN in Boston covering the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL. Quick on her feet, Reyes has extensive experience interviewing athletes at critical moments during competitions.  

CANADA’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE Coaches:

Donovan Bailey sprinting legend, two-time Olympic champion, and recent Order of Canada recipient

Waneek Horn-Miller – co-captain of the Canadian water polo Olympic team in Sydney; gold medal winner at the Pan Am games; the first Mohawk woman from Canada to compete in the Olympics; and advocate for Indigenous sport

Clara Hughes – six-time Olympic medallist in cycling and speed skating; mental health advocate; the only athlete to have won multiple medals in both summer & winter Olympics 

Gilmore Junio – three-time Olympian in speed-skating; won his first ISU World Cup event in 2014 in Salt Lake City 

Jen Kish – former captain of Canada’s Olympic bronze medal-winning rugby sevens team; her team won the gold medal at the Pan Am Games held in Toronto in 2015

Luke Willson – NFL Super Bowl Champion with the Seattle Seahawks and competitive cyclist

A CBC original series, CANADA’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE is executive produced by John Brunton and Mark Lysakowski for Insight Productions (A Boat Rocker Company) and Phil Gurin for The Gurin Company; Jeff Thrasher is the series producer for Insight Productions.  For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports; Jennifer Dettman is Executive Director, Unscripted Content; and Ann-Marie Redmond is Executive in Charge of Production. International format rights are handled by The Gurin Company.
 

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About CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada’s trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also deliver content in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi and Tagalog, as well as both official languages, through Radio Canada International (RCI). We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.

About Insight Productions (A Boat Rocker Company)

Insight Productions is known for its award-winning ratings juggernauts and is Canada’s most established content producer and an industry leader in the development, financing, and production of hit programming. The company has created some of the most dynamic and top-rated programs including The Amazing Race Canada (the most watched Canadian show on record), Big Brother Canada, Stronger Together/Tous Ensemble Canada’s New Year’s Eve: Countdown, and The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration, a live concert special on CBC watched by one in three Canadians. Insight has also collaborated with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation as executive producers on Every Child Matters: Reconciliation Through Education and National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. Recently announced shows include Eurovision Canada, The Legacy Awards, and Canada’s Ultimate Challenge. Insight Productions was founded in 1979 and has since created thousands of hours of ground-breaking content. For more information on Insight Productions, please visit www.insighttv.com or on Twitter @insightprod or Facebook at www.facebook.com/InsightProductions

About The Gurin Company

With the world as its market, The Gurin Company is one of the leading independent creators, producers and distributors of non-scripted television, focusing on entertainment, game shows, live events and factual formats. The Gurin Company is led by award-winning Producer/Writer/Creator Phil Gurin, who has won four Prime Time Emmy Awards as an Executive Producer on ABC’s Shark Tank, and an international Rose d’Or (Golden Rose) for the comedy game show Oh Sit!, which he co-created for The CW.  His The Singing Bee (NBC/CMT) is one of the Top 30 most produced original formats in the world.  He has also produced and written over 3000 hours of television that have been seen in more than 185 countries, and many other formats, including Fridge Wars (CBC, CW and Sat.1), Weakest Link, Lingo, Test The Nation, Candid Camera, Double Dare, Remote Control, Your Chance To Dance, Wanna Bet?, All-New 3’s A Crowd, Make The Grade, Win Lose or Pawn, So You Think You’d Survive, FOX’s New Year’s Eve Live, Women Rock, US Olympic Hall of Fame, KISS: Live, Miss America, Miss Teen USA, Miss USA and Miss Universe.  Gurin has Executive Produced 9 NAACP Image Awards and he recently Executive Produced Friday Night Vibes with Tiffany Haddish and Deon Cole for TBS, and Honoring Our Kings: A Celebration of Black Fatherhood starring Oprah Winfrey and Sterling K. Brown for OWN.  Gurin is also Co-Chair of FRAPA and serves on the Board of NATPE.  He speaks, moderates panels and writes frequently about the world of formats and the international television business.

 

Media Contacts

Gabrielle Free (for Insight Productions)

416-220-0201

GabFree.publicity@gmail.com

 

Joanna Landsberg (for CBC)

647.628.4788

joanna.landsberg@cbc.ca