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Syfy Shows Interest in US Adaptation of The Krypton Factor

Alex Davis

The cable network may attempt to bring the popular UK format to America for the third time.

If a format outright fails after two attempts, in two different decades, with two different teams doing it, it may be a sign that the format just won’t work in a country. That’s what’s happened with The Krypton Factor, the long-running UK game testing a contestant’s physical stamina and mental agility. It failed in the 1980s on ABC and in the 1990s in syndication. According to BroadcastNow, Syfy’s president is hinting that the network may give it a third go at a US adaptation.

For those not familiar with the show, The Krypton Factor tests four contestants through a series of mental and physical challenges. Games run the gamut from brain teasers, trivia, physical challenges, obstacle courses, math and logic, and much more. It first ran from 1977 to 1995 and then revived from 2009 to 2010. Dick Clark hosted the initial US version in 1981. It came back in 1990 as a teen competition hosted by Willie Aames. Each only ran for one series.

If this goes through you’ll have to pardon us for being slightly skeptical of its chances. UK-to-US imports have been awfully spotty for a while now, and The Krypton Factor is a show that feels very British and doesn’t remotely feel anything close to American. Some things just don’t translate across the ocean. Take a look at an episode above. It can’t be just me thinking this just won’t work in America.

H/T Broadcast Now


  1. pacdude

    And remember, commenters: “I like it” is not an equivalent to “yeah, it’ll work in America.”

  2. Evan Hatfield

    I think the problem has been bad execution. The first time round had Dick Clark, but the game was tinkered with so much that it wasn’t really The Krypton Factor (it does have a bit of charm to it, though). The second time round suffered from the “we’re totally hip with the kids” kids’ show syndrome; granted, it was a bit closer to the show we recognize, but it still seemed watered down compared to original recipe Krypton Factor. In the right hands, with the right execution, the third time could be the charm.

    That’s just the optimist in me talking, though – they’ll probably find some stupid way to screw it up.

    Could it work? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  3. Chris K

    “UK-to-US imports have been awfully spotty for a while now…”

    Two words: The Chase!

  4. pacdude

    You can replace the word “spotty” with the term “hit-or-miss” to clarify our point. The Chase, clearly a hit. Other shows that have been imported in the past 10-15 years, not so much. Please pay attention to the words we use.

  5. Brig Bother

    I’m a little bit more positive about this, SyFy will probably have license to play with the format a bit – essentially the show is just a series of physical and mental tests which they’re going to have to make an hour long and they can dress that up in a number of ways (I’d put money on Portal being a style influence). It probably won’t be your mother’s Krypton Factor, but then it’s not likely to be aimed at your mother. Of course there would probably be outcry if the new US style transferred to the UK, but we have a lengthy history with it, you don’t, which might end up being for your benefit. It’ll likely still have loads of Brits working on it and they wouldn’t allow you to stuff it up completely I’d have thought.

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