PASADENA, Calif. — CBS is betting big on “The World's Best,” handing over the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot to the new talent competition shepherded by reality TV titans Mark Burnett and Mike Darnell.
Burnett has a track record following the NFL's showcase game. In 2001, his “Survivor: The Australian Outback” debuted in that slot, drawing more than 45 million viewers.
CBS scored again in 2010 when “Undercover Boss” followed the Super Bowl and lured more than 38 million viewers.
Hosted by James Corden, “The World's Best” premieres Sunday after Super Bowl 53.
Besides impressing judges RuPaul, Drew Barrymore and Faith Hill, contestants have to break through the “wall of the world” featuring more than 50 experts from 38 different countries who score the competition. Among them is Brazilian UFC fighter Anderson Silva.
The winner receives $1 million.
Burnett's other big hit is “The Voice.” Darnell's credits include “American Idol” and “Ellen's Game of Games.”
“The World's Best” joins a crowded field of reality competition programming, including “The Masked Singer,” renewed for a second season by Fox on Wednesday.
Darnell noted to a TV critics’ gathering that his show's format isn't based on any existing foreign programs and offers “the next new spin on a variety show.”
If it works, Darnell envisions franchising the show to other countries.
“We have a very different voice, a very different flavor,” executive producer Alison Holloway said. “We've dug deep to find talent that is new and exciting. Most of the acts on our show are professionals.”
And there's no humiliation factor, executive producer Ben Winston said.
“Everybody is at the top of their game,” he said. “No one is being laughed at. It's a very joyful and happy show.”
The show offers RuPaul a broader platform than he's enjoyed as host of “RuPaul's Drag Race” on VH1.
“We were all not prepared for the emotional journey that the show and performances took us on,” the drag performer said. “It was phenomenal to watch all these amazing people from around the world express themselves.”
The second episode airs on Feb. 6.