The No. 1 card game in the world is headed to a screen near you.
Mattel Television is developing UNO into an unscripted reality game show that will feature audience participation, physical challenges, trivia, and other creative elements to deliver what’s being described as “a super-sized UNO experience.”
Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, and Greg Lipstone of Propagate — the production company behind Charmed, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, and Chopped — and John Quinn — producer of The Price is Right, Let’s Make a Deal, and Match Game — will serve as executive producers on The UNO Game Show. Mattel Television Executive Producer Adam Bonnett will lead the project.
“UNO is the most popular game in the world and is a fixture in pop culture, making it the ideal franchise to build a reality game show around,” says Bonnett. “Ben, Howard, Greg, and John have deep expertise in unscripted content and are the perfect partners to help us transform UNO into a television series for the whole family.”
Mattel first attempted to develop UNO: The Game Show with different producers back in 2013.
The basic history of UNO is a famous one — the oft-recounted tale of Merle Robbins, an Ohio barbershop owner and card game enthusiast, who created the game and sold the original version out of his barbershop. Over Thanksgiving weekend in 1971, the game caught the attention of Robert Tezak — owner of a funeral parlor in Joliet — who became hooked. The following year, Tezak made a deal with Robbins to take over UNO, and International Games was formed. Following decades of massive success, International Games was acquired by Mattel in 1992 and UNO has remained a smash hit ever since.
Next year, UNO will celebrate its 50th anniversary following a year that has seen the release of new decks and products, including UNO Minimalista, UNO Showdown, and the recent UNO Nothin’ But Paper — the first cellophane-free, 100% recyclable deck.