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 (8×60) 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