Want to be chased across the country for a new reality series? Here’s how

How to spend your summer vacation.

Feb 29, 2020, 9:39 am*

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BY TODD LONGWELL

If you have some free time this summer (June 27-July 31, to be precise), Ben Affleck and Matt Damon may have a job for you.

The Oscar-winning duo is looking for 19 contestants for The Runner, the reality-competition series they’re executive producing for Verizon’s mobile-first entertainment platform Go90 through their production company Pearl Street films, in partnership with Adaptive Studios and the Pilgrim Media Group.

Interested parties can apply at TheRunnerCasting.com.

“At the moment, we’re talking to everyone who emails or calls in,” said Semi Aboud, SVP of talent development and casting for the Pilgrim Media Group. “We’re doing Skypes, we’re asking for home tape. The next step might be going out to actually meet people. If for some reason we can’t do that, it’s not a big deal. You can always send in video, and we’ll fly you out to meet us if you’re a finalist.”

In The Runner, an individual will attempt to make it across the United States unnoticed over the course of 30 days while eight two-person teams of “chasers” try to locate and capture him or her using all available technology.

The runner and the chasers will be competing for a million-dollar prize. If they fail to win, they won’t exactly go home flush with cash. Contestants will be provided with lodging and transportation during the shoot, but they will get only a “minimal monetary honorarium” to “help with some expenses back home.”

It sounds cheap, but Aboud says it’s standard for competition series.

“The idea is we want people on the show who really want to compete for the grand prize,” Aboud said. “But we do, of course, understand that you’re going to be taken away from your life for several weeks, so there’s going to be an honorarium of several hundred dollars per week to help you out.” 

As is also standard for reality-competition shows, the finalists for contestant spots will be subjected to a background check, as well as a physical and mental evaluation to determine if they’re up to the rigorous demands of the show (running, climbing, lifting/carrying, operating equipment, sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements).

“There might be a skills test, as well,” Aboud said. “The game is going to be heavy with riddles, puzzles, clues, and codes, so we may have some small, fun game with the finalists just to see how they play and watch them as they strategize.”

While the prospect of appearing on a new, largely untested platform such such as Go90 doesn’t have the impress-the-folks-back-home cachet of a Survivor or The Amazing Race, Aboud is confident the show has what it takes to attract contestants and viewers alike.

“I think this hybrid chase/fugitive cross-country competition show with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck attached is extremely intriguing, especially with the fact that there’s over a million dollars in the game,” Aboud said. “Together, that should be really exciting to people.”

Screengrab via therunnercasting.com 

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*First Published: Mar 26, 2016, 1:04 pm