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Hit Series Brain Games Gets Hollywood Reboot as World-Famous
Mentalist Lior Surchard Joins Key to Challenge Celebrities With
Interactive Mind Games

Produced by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz’s Alfred Street Industries
and Magical Elves, the New Iteration of Brain Games Premieres
Dec. 1, 2019, on National Geographic

NEW YORK & WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–National Geographic announced today that it has tapped Keegan-Michael
Key (“Friends From College,” “Toy Story 4,” “Lion King”) as host of its
rebooted hit series Brain Games. The eight-episode season,
produced by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz’s Alfred Street Industries and
Magical Elves, adds a Hollywood twist to its classic mind-bending format
by challenging some of the world’s biggest celebrities to realize their
special brain power through fun and highly entertaining interactive
games, illusions and social experiments.

The first five celebrities confirmed are: Kristin Bell (“The Good
Place”), Dax Shepherd (“Bless This Mess”), Drew Brees (QB, New Orleans
Saints), Rebel Wilson (“The Hustle”), and Anthony Anderson (“Blackish”).

Brain Games premieres Dec. 1, 2019, on National Geographic and
will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages. For more
information visit our press site,
or follow us on Twitter using @NatGeoPR.

In Brain Games, host Key will investigate mind-bending
questions with the help of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Joining Key on
stage in front of the live studio audience, world-famous mentalist Lior
Surchard will assist with brain games and challenges for the celebrity
guests. Meanwhile, field correspondent and science communicator Cara
Santa Maria will take the cerebral challenges on the road and put
everyday people across America to the test. With insight from some of
the world’s leading neuroscientists, engineers and brain experts, we’ll
explore the “why” behind the “wow” of questions like the following: Are
women better communicators? How do our brains control what we love to
eat? Can brain science help us with our dating lives? What is the magic
ingredient to gaining, having and keeping power? And much more!

“I’ve always loved science, and when National Geographic called, I
jumped at the chance to be part of this really amazing series,” said
Key. “I’m going to be bringing some friends along, and together we are
going to explore some really fascinating aspects of the human brain. I
can’t wait to get started!”

“As we looked to revive this much-adored series with a colorful
superstar twist, it’s a no-brainer to introduce Keegan-Michael Key as
host of Brain Games,” said Courteney Monroe, president, National
Geographic Global Networks. “He uniquely possesses the combination of
charm, quick wit, intelligence and humor that’s ideal for in-studio
scenarios, but beyond that, he’s a fan of the series and has a sheer
passion for the science behind how our brains tick.”

Said Cutforth and Lipsitz, “‘Brain Games’ is such an important
part of National Geographic’s screen heritage. It is an honor to have
the opportunity to produce the show and to be working with a giant
talent like Keegan-Michael Key whose humor, magnetism and intellectual
curiosity will elevate the series in an exciting new way.”

“A show like Brain Games belongs on stage in front of a live
audience, where celebrity guests, audience members, and viewers can
experience science in a fun and interactive way. With Keegan-Michael Key
as our host, this high-energy, reimagined version of the original Brain
 will definitely appeal to both the left and right sides of
viewers’ brains,” said Toby Gorman, Executive Producer and Interim CEO
of Magical Elves.

While some episode games — including “Battle of the Sexes,” “Kids vs.
Grownups,” “Laws of Attraction” and “Movie Magic” — are tailored to the
headlining celebrities, others — including “Laws of Attraction,”
“Deception” and “Power of Persuasion” — draw from the most successful
themes across the previous five seasons. The new season includes
a mixture of in-studio and in-the-field game components, physical and
mental games, and the introduction of “The Gauntlet,” a fifth-act
combination of previous episode games to pit celebrity against celebrity.

About Keegan-Michael Key

Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning actor, writer and creator Keegan-Michael
Key is one of Hollywood’s most in-demand forces. With his
extraordinarily diverse skill set and wide-ranging talent in both comedy
and drama, Key redefines what it means to be a chameleon and
multi-hyphenate in the worlds of film, television and theater. He will
next appear in two of 2019’s most highly anticipated films,
Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” and Disney’s live action/CGI remake
of “The Lion King.” In addition, he recently wrapped production
in Vancouver on Paramount’s “Playing With Fire,” starring alongside John
Cena, Judy Greer and John Leguizamo. He will soon star opposite Eddie
Murphy in Netflix’s “My Name is Dolemite!”.

Key is represented by UTA and attorney Dave Feldman.

Brain Games is produced for National Geographic by Alfred Street
Industries and Magical Elves. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz are
executive producers for Alfred Street Industries. For Magical Elves,
executive producers are Toby Gorman, Casey Kriley, James Rowley and
Lauren Williams. Elisa Key is also an executive producer. For National
Geographic, Matt Renner is executive producer and vice president,
original programming and production; and Geoff Daniels is executive vice
president of global unscripted entertainment.

About Magical Elves:

Magical Elves is the veteran production company behind Emmy
award-winning hits “Top Chef” (Bravo) and “Last Chance Kitchen” (Bravo),
Peabody Award-winning “Project Runway” (Bravo), IDA Award winner “Time
of Death” (Showtime) and the recent streaming successes “Nailed It!”
(Netflix) and “Sugar Rush” (Netflix). Other credits include “Project
Greenlight” (HBO), “Cleveland Hustles” (CNBC), “There Goes the
Motherhood” (Bravo), “Braxton Family Values” (WETV), “Tamar & Vince”
(WETV), “Shine On” (DirectTV), “All in With Cam Newton” (Nickelodeon),
“Last Comic Standing” (NBC), “Cold Justice” (Oxygen), “Top Chef Junior”
(Universal Kids) and the 2017 music documentary “Tim & Faith: Soul2Soul”
(Showtime). Magical Elves is a part of The Tinopolis Group’s portfolio
of production companies.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between the
National Geographic Society and Disney, is committed to bringing the
world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an
unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National
Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo
WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media
and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines;
National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms;
books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include
travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and
e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our
world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 131 years,
and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going
further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the
world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP
returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic
Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation
and education. For more information, visit
or find us on Facebook,
and Pinterest.


Molly Mulrain, 202-912-6745, [email protected]

Jennifer DeGuzman, 212-656-0713, [email protected]