Rich Eisen Talks ‘The Great Escape’

Is anyone else ready to escape the heat? Well, why not just escape?

That’s the challenge for three teams on the new TNT reality competition show, The Great Escape, which premieres this Sunday at 10/9c. The show drops three teams of two in a secret location. Then, they have to race their way out, facing challenges along the way. Oh, and the occasional guard, who will take you back to the start if they catch you. The winner gets the honor of having broken out of some of the world’s toughest places — and $100,000.

I had the pleasure of talking with the show’s host, Rich Eisen of NFL Network fame. He’s taking full advantage of the football break and taking us along for the contest of a lifetime that takes viewers and contestants alike through mysterious locals like Alcatraz, an insane asylum, and the USS Hornet.

Check out our chat below, and don’t forget to check out the show this Sunday!

So I have to ask, how did you get involved with The Great Escape? It seems very — outside of what you’re really known for, especially with the NFL Network.

Well, one of the executive producers and co-creators of the show, Charlie Ebersol, I’ve known for a long time, and he came to me over a year ago saying, I want to show you something. Let’s meet. So we met, and he showed me on his iphone this incredible sizzle reel for The Great Escape that was fronted by Ron Howard. And he told me who was involved — Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment, Bertram van Munster, and Elise Doganieri, the creators and producers and showrunners of The Amazing Race. And they had never done a second reality show before, so this was their first bite into doing it a second time. And TNT was the network that was interested in piloting this and putting it on television if it worked out. And I’ve known Michael Wright from TNT for several years. And I was blown away.

And the funny thing is, anybody who — I assume you’ve seen — have you seen an episode of this?

I have. I’ve seen the first episode.

Yeah, I mean anybody who’s seen it is sort-of blown away by it. And even just the three-minute reel of me seeing what they had in mind, blew me away. And so I was interested from Jump Street. It all came together. And part of it, too, was, you know, they’re shooting in what we call the non-playing season of the NFL, and it’s airing mostly outside of the NFL season on Sundays, which I’m used to be on television, I guess, so it sort-of all worked perfect.

Great. And I’m kind-of curious, as far as — you talked about the sizzle reel. What particularly stood out to you that makes it unique. I mean, I’ve seen the first episode. I was completely enthralled the entire time. I’m curious what grabbed you.

Well, what grabbed me was just the sheer — the hugeness of the production. It’s grandiose. And the way it was pitched to me and the way it has been produced and the way it will be broadcast — it is huge. It’s like a summer blockbuster, popcorn-type event!

The thing that I really like about it, too, is it stars real people. These are real folks, you know, mother/daughter teams, father/daughter teams, brother/sister teams, best friend teams, the “platonic” friend teams. I mean, these are real folks, and when they win the money in the end, have real life issues that are aided in winning this money. And it’s all being run in a real location. And that’s the thing that I loved about it. They’re like, we’re going to go to some really crazy places that exist and turn it into our movie set starring real people. And I’m like, ok! That sounds great! And I’ve watched it now executed eight times; we’ve got two more of the ten episodes to be shot, and I can’t wait to do them.

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