Sunday, October 10, 2021

The CW Unveils 'Legends of the Hidden Temple' Reboot Poster, Cast Photo

The CW has released a new poster and cast photo for the upcoming Legends of the Hidden Temple reboot! The series, which is set to debut on the network on Sunday, October 10th, is a revival of the popular children's game show that ran on Nickelodeon in the 1990s, but this time around will put adults through their paces exploring the titular temple. The revival had originally been announced for the mobile-only streaming service Quibi before it shuttered and The CW stepped in to bring the show to life.

Last month it was announced that The View alum Cristela Alonzo will host Legends of the Hidden Temple. Alonzo said at the time her casting was announced that she is thrilled to be part of the new version of the show having been a fan of the original.

"Having grown up on 90s pop culture and actually being a fan of the original Legends of the Hidden Temple, I am thrilled to be hosting the new updated version of the show," Alonzo said. "The biggest challenge for me on this show will be trying to simultaneously host it and contain my geeked-out excitement at the same time."

Credit: Tina Thorpe / The CW

"When we decided to revisit Legends of the Hidden Temple, we wanted a host with stature who also had the humor of a stand-up and the energy of a camp counselor," Scott A. Stone, creator and executive producer said. "That's Cristela Alonzo, she's perfect."

You can check out the synopsis for Legends of the Hidden Temple below.

"This supersized, adult version of LEGENDS OF THE HIDDEN TEMPLE is taken out of the studio into a “jungle” and scaled up with tougher challenges and much bigger prizes on the line. It preserves the original Nickelodeon series’ favorite elements including: “Olmec” (the giant talking Mayan head), the“Moat Crossings,” “The Steps of Knowledge,” the “Temple Run,” and of course, the iconic team names: “Purple Parrots,” “Blue Barracudas,” “Orange Iguanas,” “Red Jaguars,” “Silver Snakes” and “Green Monkeys.” Every episode is a hero’s journey through a mysterious jungle. Five teams begin the journey, but only one is “strong enough and smart enough” to enter the ominous Olmec’s Temple, avoid the “dreaded” Temple Guards, retrieve a lost treasure, and return it to its rightful owner. Based on the original game show created by David G. Stanley, Scott A. Stone and Stephen R. Brown, LEGENDS OF THE HIDDEN TEMPLE is produced by Stone & Company Entertainment and Nickelodeon. The series is executive produced by Scott A. Stone and Marcus Fox (“Paradise Run”)."

Dee Bradley Baker (Avatar: The Last Airbender, American Dad) returns to reprise his iconic role of the voice of Olmec, the giant talking Mayan head.

Legends of the Hidden Temple will debut on The CW on Sunday, October 10th.

What to Know About The CW’s ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’ Reboot

In just two weeks, 24,000 fans applied to be on the newly revived Legends of the Hidden Temple.

“We had to cut off applications,” notes executive producer Scott A. Stone, an original creator, on the adult-size reboot of Nickelodeon’s 1993–95 kids’ game show. “When we do an announcement for a new show, generally, we get 1,000 applicants, and that’s amazing. And if we get 2,000 applicants for a hit show, that’s a lot.”

So to say that adults are ready to reenter the Mayan-themed set they dreamed of racing through as children is a total understatement. “There’s so much love in the core 25 to 40-year-old audience,” Stone says, adding that his film students at The University of Southern California used to regularly dress up as the show’s determined contestants for Halloween. “It seems to have touched so many people’s hearts in the best of ways,” he says.

And Stone promises the CW’s reboot contains music of the same onscreen magic. Each hourlong episode — extended from the original’s half-hour installments — requires players to use both their brains and brawn to win a cash prize, with host, comic Cristela Alonzo, cheering them on. “She’s rooting for the contestants like she was doing it herself,” Stone adds, while also teasing, “there is a place for [original host] Kirk Fogg in the series, so you’ll hear about that [too].”

The series’ familiar, colorful team names, like the Blue Barracudas and Silver Snakes remain, as does Olmec, the ancient stone head that speaks (Dee Bradley Baker returns to voice), guiding contestants. Notes Stone: “[Olmec’s] got a bit of a face-lift.”

Legends of the Hidden Temple Nickelodeon

The four rounds, alternating between physical tests and trivia, remain too. Fans will recognize the taxing Moat Crossing, the Steps of Knowledge quiz and the athletic trials dubbed the Temple Games. And since this version is for adults, the educational portion of the competition has been tweaked. Initially, well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin and Amelia Earhart were focused on in the kids’ episodes, but for this take, Stone says, they wanted to dig a bit deeper for tales the contestants can emulate as they play. “We took the classic, epic stories, like the story of Gilgamesh, or the Greek legend of Atlantis, or the Irish legend of Cú Chulainn, and the Norse legend of Freyja — these are classic, really big stories and we’re telling them in a kind of abbreviated form,” he says.

Another big difference? The game’s set is now outside. “I went back to the summer camp I went to as a kid in Indiana, and the lake that I thought was ginormous… was a little pond,” Stone admits. “I didn’t want to have the same problem with people coming back to the show. So, thanks to the folks at the CW, we were able to blow this one up in a giant way. The Moat is huge — [approx.] 10,000 square feet. The Temple is massive. The Temple Guards are big and scary. We were able to make the show on a grand scale.”

And along with memorable rooms like the Pit of Despair, new surprises await in the Temple Run’s final maze. One is the Crypt of the Heartless: “You stick your hand into these scary skeletons and find a heart to put into a receptacle on the wall, and the whole room comes alive with veins,” Stone says. “It’s just beautiful.”

Legends of the Hidden Temple, Series Premiere, Sunday, October 10, 8/7c, The CW


Legends of the Hidden Temple: Rock God Preview Released (Exclusive)

The CW has provided with an exclusive first look at a new trailer for Legends of the Hidden Temple, featuring the stone-faced temple idol Olmec and the ironic musical choice of "We Will Rock You" by Queen. Writer, producer, actor and comedian Cristela Alonzo is set to host the series, which is slated to debut on Sunday, October 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Now featuring adult contestants and a larger scale in terms of both its competitions and its prizes, Legends of the Hidden Temple is aiming to take '90s Nick nostalgia and translating it into a bigger, broader version of the game than fans have seen before.

The original series debuted in 1993 and ran until 1995, with 120 episodes during that time. A TV movie based on the in-game story elements aired on Nickelodeon in 2017, proving that there was still some cache to the Legends of the Hidden Temple brand name. The CW is jointly owned by Warner Bros. and ViacomCBS, the latter being Nickelodeon's parent company.

"Having grown up on 90's pop culture and actually being a fan of the original Legends of the Hidden Temple, I am thrilled to be hosting the new updated version of the show," Alonzo said when the announcement was made back in July. "The biggest challenge for me on this show will be trying to simultaneously host it and contain my geeked-out excitement at the same time."

"When we decided to revisit Legends of the Hidden Temple, we wanted a host with stature who also had the humor of a stand-up and the energy of a camp counselor," said Scott A. Stone, Creator and Executive Producer. "That's Cristela Alonzo, she's perfect!"

The original Legends of the Hidden Temple was, like most of Nickelodeon's game shows of the time, set inside a studio and featured young contestants competing in a highly controlled environment in order to keep things as safe as possible. The new incarnation of Legends of the Hidden Temple is taken out of the studio and into a "jungle," and scaled up with tougher challenges and much bigger prizes on the line. It preserves the original Nickelodeon series' favorite elements including Olmec (the giant talking Mayan head), the "Moat Crossings," "The Steps of Knowledge," the "Temple Run," and the team names: "Purple Parrots," "Blue Barracudas," "Orange Iguanas," "Red Jaguars," "Silver Snakes" and "Green Monkeys." Every episode is a hero's journey through a mysterious jungle. Four teams begin the journey, but only one is "strong enough and smart enough" to enter the ominous Olmec's Temple, avoid the "dreaded" Temple Guards, retrieve a lost treasure, and return it to its rightful owner.

Based on the original game show created by David G. Stanley, Scott A. Stone and Stephen R. Brown, Legends of the Hidden Temple is produced by Stone & Company Entertainment and Nickelodeon. The series is executive produced by Scott A. Stone and Marcus Fox.



Legends of the Hidden Temple: Cristela Alonzo Levels Up the Game Show

Legends of the Hidden Temple host Cristela Alonzo reveals how the reboot updates its challenges for adults, some hidden Easter eggs and more.

Legends of the Hidden Temple is getting another shot at life on The CW. The iconic game show, which originally ran from 1993 to 1995 on Nickelodeon, will return with at least one familiar face: that of Olmec, a sentient stone statue voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. This time around, however, he'll be joined by a new partner. Actor-writer Cristela Alonzo will act as host on the reboot -- and, as someone who grew up with the series herself, she couldn't be more excited about it.

Speaking to CBR, Alonzo shared her own experiences with the original series, as well as what makes the upcoming reboot so special to her. She revealed how she bonded with all of the contestants over their shared love of the game and what the reboot has in store for longtime fans of the show. She recalled her experiences working with Baker, from his hands-on approach to Olmec to his talent as a voice actor, and how the series updated the challenges for adults. She also teased some hidden Easter eggs, discussed what makes the Temple Guards so scary and more.

CBR: What was your familiarity with Legends of the Hidden Temple when you boarded the reboot?

Cristela Alonzo: I used to watch it growing up, so I freaked out when I got the chance to host it. For me, that was the golden time of Nickelodeon. It really was the first time that I felt like I had my own programming meant for me. So I remember watching it on the weekends; it was like the thing to do! So, for me to get asked to host this was a big deal for me. It's one of those things where you're like, "No, get out! Really?! The show? Like, Olmec?! We're talking Olmec?" So I was very excited.

In the first episode, you point out that one of Olmec's legends is tied to your culture. What was it like to explore that through a television show you grew up loving?

It's kind of surreal. I mean, first of all, look, let's get the most basic thing out of the way: Olmec says my name. The fact that Olmec says Cristela is kind of mind boggling, right? Because my name is different! My name is not the kind of name that when you go to a gift shop, you find it on a license plate for your bike. For me, when Olmec said Cristela, I was like, "Aaaahhh!" So it was already a big deal.

How can I put it into words? The whole experience seems -- honestly, I gotta tell you, I don't know if it has really hit me yet! I mean, it's like that thing where you're in it, and you're like, "Wait a minute! I'm sorry, is this for real?"

Dee Bradley Baker came back as the voice of Olmec. Did you get to work with him at all? What was it like to co-star with him?

Oh, yes. You know, actually, he's in the statue where we shoot! He actually controls the statue! Yeah, we did that, because that's what he did in the first version of the show. He controls the statue; he moved it. So we had to do that again in this version. He was on set with me the entire time!

How did that change the way you approached Olmec as a character?

It's kind of funny, because when you meet Dee -- this is an appreciation that I think goes really unnoticed. You know, if you're not a fan of animation or just voiceover, you don't realize the importance of the voice actor. You meet Dee Bradley Baker, it's Dee's voice, and he's just being Dee, right? You're talking to him, you're like, "Oh, yeah, this is Olmec!" Because you're talking to him as Dee, as himself, you kind of forget that he is Olmec.

Then... when it's time to become Olmec, he's Olmec, and the voice is different, and the voice is powerful. It is that thing where you realize, "Oh, he's a different person!" You kind of forget that he's Dee! You really do see it as Olmec. Like I said, I was giddy when he calls my name out, and I knew it was him!

You've done a little voice acting yourself! Did he give you any advice, or did you pick up any pointers by watching him work?

100%! Like I said, the voice actor, I think that that's one of those jobs that doesn't get enough coverage. When you see someone like Dee, that can switch from voice to voice to voice at the turn of a dime when it comes to certain characters, you realize the work and the talent that goes into it. Me, playing Cruz Ramirez [in Cars 3], I was doing myself! I was playing a version of myself with Cruz.

When you see him do characters, he really creates the characters. That's something that you realize that's a different skill. When I see him work, I realized that, for me, I'm very lucky to have been able to be part of the Pixar family. I'm glad I'm so lucky that I got to be Cruz Ramirez, because what someone like him does, that's a skill. That's a talent, and that's who he is and what he's here for. It shows you -- it showed me the work. So for me, it was just one of those things where I'm like, "Oh, yeah, no, he's the pro!" [laughs] I just went in and laughed like myself!

Regarding the contestants, did you find yourself rooting for any specific teams?

You know, it's one of those things where I actually, when we started working on it, there was a point where I had to ask if it was okay to cheer people on. I gotta tell you, that's one thing about this really kind of weird world that I'm in where I'm hosting this show that I grew up watching. So I find that my habits as a kid come out as an adult. Now, as a kid, I cheered people on from my house. So I want to cheer people on as well... It's weird for me!

I wasn't cheering on the Silver Snakes specifically, or the Blue Barracudas. I was actually cheering on the people that were there, because everyone was so happy to be there. I gotta tell you, it was a different energy. It's hard to explain, because, yeah, it's the show; they're competing for $25,000, and that's great. But when you get to meet and know these contestants, you get to know that some of them are there for a reason. Some of them are there because it reminded them of a special part in their life, that was connected to a big moment of their life...

I loved getting to know them; I still keep in touch with them. It's this really special connection. When you get to know them, I realized I wanted to cheer all of them on, but more importantly, as the host, my job, I want to make them look good. I want them to be the stars of the show, because we wouldn't have a show with them. Those contestants, I was very lucky to meet and understand like, "Oh, we're all part of the same fan club, and we are all geeking out that we're here." And that's a good thing!

How did you cope with the fact that only one team would make it to the final round?

It's really hard. It's that thing where, because we're all on this adventure together, you know that you want everybody to win, right? But at the same time, what you see is that people were just really happy to be there. I gotta tell you -- it can be hard to describe this -- the contestants loved wearing their shirts, because the shirts were iconic. They reminded them of childhood right? So even when they lost, there were contestants that were very happy that they were wearing the Blue Barracuda T-shirt, that they were wearing the Red Jaguar T-shirts.

That's when you realize, again, it represented so much more than actually winning the challenge. That's one thing I've learned. Like I said, I still keep in touch with contestants now! The contestants, they'll tell you they were just so excited, looking back, to just even be on it! They love it. They're throwing parties to show off that they were in it, which makes me happy.

Infamously, the Purple Parrots was always considered the worst team on the show. Is the reboot a little more balanced, in terms of winning teams?

Yes, it is. I will say that, you know, people think that they have their favorites. One thing about this show, just in general, is that sometimes the teams that you think are going to be the favorites or the best might be overshadowed by somebody else. That's part of the fun of the show, is that it's not necessarily this -- you're right! Back in the day, there were certain teams that you knew, "Oh, they're probably going to go all the way." This season, you really don't know, and that's what makes it cool.

What I love about the show, too, is that when you watch it, you feel like you have a chance of doing it too, because it's a little variety of how to be good at the show. You don't have to be super athletic. You have to be able to answer questions about the legend. It's very diverse. I always say you have to be determined. That's how you get ahead in this case. The determination beats everything else.

How will we see the challenges and the stories evolve as the season continues?

I'll say this about the physical challenges. I think that one thing that we did a really great job on is we kept the elements in the spirit of the original show for kids; we just made it for adults... The round after the Steps of Knowledge, when the teams go head-to-head in the physical challenges, the challenges themselves, when you see what they have to do, there's a lot of very kid-like skills, actions, movements that you'll see and just really enjoy them, because they're adults doing them.

I think that, for some reason, we think that -- as adults -- everything has to be so polished and very difficult or high tech or whatever it is, especially in the time that we live in now. Sometimes you realize that the classic challenges of having to maybe fill a bucket is really hard! [laughs] I think it'll be a really cool surprise for people.

What was your "pinch me" moment on the series? The one that made you go, "I can't believe I'm doing this!"?

There's gonna be two things I'll say. I say two, because one I really can't say. I'll say that, if you watch the original show, there are Easter eggs in the show that will really excite you. So if you know the original, you'll love these Easter eggs. So that's all I can say about that.

Second thing: the Temple Guards. Honestly, look, the Temple Guards scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid, right? Obviously, you know they're there! You know the Temple Guards are the Temple Guards. You know what they're there to do! Let me tell you, they're terrifying! I was surprised at how scared I was and I knew they were the Temple Guards! It's one of those things where you suspend disbelief and you're in that moment, and you're like, [gasp] "The Temple Guards! And I don't have a Pendant of Life on me!"

What is one thing you cannot wait for fans of the old series to see?

One of the coolest things that I think people will love, if you watched the old one, is that there is almost like a throwback element that you will see in one of the episodes that is so cool that when you see it, you're like, "No way this is real!" It's one of those things that, again, if you see it, it all ties up nicely in a little bow that I think fans of the show will love. Absolutely love!

The CW's Legends of the Hidden Temple reboot premieres Sunday, Oct. 10 at 8 pm ET/PT.


Relive Legends Of The Hidden Temple As An Adult On The CW Network

Cristela Alonzo, who is a writer, producer, actor and comedian, joined Studio 512 Co-Host Rosie Newberry to talk about the new show “Legends of the Hidden Temple” that she is hosting, which is set to premiere October 10 on The CW Network.

“Hosted by Cristela Alonzo, the 2021 adult version of ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’ is taken out of a studio and into a ‘jungle,’ and scaled up with tougher challenges and a much bigger prize on the line — $25,000. It preserves the original Nickelodeon series’ favorite elements including ‘Olmec’ (the giant talking stone head) voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, the original voice and puppeteer, the ‘Moat Crossing,’ ‘The Steps of Knowledge,’ ‘The Temple Games,’ the ‘Temple Run,’ and of course, the iconic team names: ‘Purple Parrots,’ ‘Blue Barracudas,’ ‘Orange Iguanas,’ ‘Red Jaguars,’ ‘Silver Snakes’ and ‘Green Monkeys.'”

“Every episode is a hero’s journey through a mysterious jungle. Four teams begin the journey, but only one is ‘strong enough and smart enough’ to enter the ominous Olmec’s Temple, avoid the ‘dreaded’ Temple Guards, retrieve a lost treasure, and return it to its rightful owner.”

The show is a reimagining of the original show on Nickelodeon. Kids competed on the original, but this time, adults are playing.

Having grown up on 90s pop culture and actually being a fan of the original ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple,’ I am thrilled to be hosting the new updated version of the show. The biggest challenge for me on this show will be trying to simultaneously host it and contain my geeked-out excitement at the same time.

“When we decided to revisit ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple,’ we wanted a host with stature who also had the humor of a stand-up and the energy of a camp counselor,” Creator and Executive Producer Scott A. Stone said. “That’s Cristela Alonzo, she’s perfect!” 

Background on Cristela Alonzo
“Alonzo made history in 2014 when she became the first Latina to create, produce and star in her own network sitcom, ‘Cristela,’ for ABC. During that same year, she split her time between Los Angeles and New York City to serve as one of ABC’s favorite guest hosts on their hit daytime talk show, ‘The View.’ In 2017, Alonzo made history again when she became the first Latina lead in a Disney Pixar film when she voiced the part of Cruz Ramirez in ‘Cars 3.’ Her first stand-up special, ‘Lower Classy,’ is currently streaming on Netflix. Alonzo’s memoir, ‘Music to My Years,’ was released in October of 2019 by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.”

“Additionally, Alonzo focuses on advocacy work, fighting for issues such as immigration, universal healthcare, and lower-income communities. She works with numerous organizations including Special Olympics Texas and Planned Parenthood and is also a board member of LUPE (La Union del Pueblo Entero) and an advisory board member for Define American. Alonzo is repped by WME, Artists First and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein.”


Cristela Alonso Is Feeling Like a Kid Again Hosting The CW's Reboot of "Legends of the Hidden Temple"

Revered Nickelodeon game show Legends of the Hidden Temple returns to television this weekend, and like its legion of fans, the show has grown up. Temple, a challenge-based game aimed at kids, originally ran for 120 episodes between 1993 and 1995, yet following its cancelation, remained a perennial favorite in reruns over various Nickelodeon channels. Legends 2.0, hosted by Cristela Alonso, follows the same format and challenges as the original, however, the $25,000 cash prize is a far cry from the Atari Video game controllers of yesteryear, and for those who grew up watching the original (who were at the time unable compete and now can), it's bound to ignite feelings of nostalgia. "For me, it's such a great choice to reboot because of that," Alonso explained in an exclusive interview with MediaVillage. "It's one of those shows not everybody was familiar with, but for those were, once they loved it, they loved it!


Cristela Alonzo wants adults to get 'dirty' in her new show, but not how you think

The first Latina to create her own prime-time sitcom, Alonzo is the host of "Legends of the Hidden Temple," a revival of a popular kids game show — but for grownups.

More than seven years after becoming the first Latina to create, produce, write and star in her own prime-time sitcom, Cristela Alonzo has returned to network television with a new title: game show host.

In The CW Network’s push for seven full nights of original programming, Alonzo will host “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” an adult revival of a hit adventure game show that aired from 1993 to 1995 on Nickelodeon.

Having grown up on 90s pop culture, Alonzo, 42, noted that “Legends” emerged as part of a larger rise in game shows geared toward children. So when co-creator and executive producer Scott A. Stone approached her about hosting a new version and insisted on having a Latina at the helm, Alonzo jumped at the chance to lead a family-friendly show that gives adults an opportunity to relive some of their wildest childhood fantasies.

“With adults, we can make it more challenging, they can get dirtier, and that’s what’s fun. Because as grown-ups, we don’t get the chance to get dirty as much as we should,” she told NBC News in a recent interview. "We don’t have challenges where we’re climbing rocks — we have stuff that’s like, ‘Look, you need to fill this bucket full of lava, hold it on your head, and we’re just going to go from there. Is that cool?’ That allows people to have fun, but also it lets the kids watch it and think, ‘Hey, I can do that as an adult. I don’t have to stop being a kid ever.’”

An upbringing that "made me fearless"

Born and raised in San Juan in Texas, Alonzo — the youngest of four children raised by a single mother — lived her childhood under extreme circumstances, squatting in an abandoned diner with her family for the first eight years of her life. Throughout her storied career as an actor, writer, producer and stand-up comedian, she has spoken openly about growing up in poverty — an experience that, she reflected, “made me very fearless … because when you come from nothing, you feel like you’ve got nothing to lose.”

“One of the biggest questions I used to get asked all the time was: ‘How did you know you made it?’ And then I realized, ‘It was when I could put my debit card down for autopay on my bill,’” she said with a laugh.

For Alonzo, who was a self-proclaimed “big theater nerd in school” and always wanted to be on Broadway, the fact that she can now pay her bills and work in the arts is “such a bonus” and “just an absolute gift,” but it hasn’t been without her fair share of professional challenges.

In college, Alonzo had a voice teacher who told her that, as a Latina, the only viable stage roles that she could land would be for productions of “West Side Story” and “Chorus Line” — “and that was it,” she recalled incredulously. “But it was because back then, casting was so literal. We didn’t have the ‘Hamilton’ casting that we have now … Everybody had to be so exact.”

Breaking the comedic mold, making history

In the early aughts, she was looking to make her next move when she answered an “office help wanted” ad for a comedy club in Dallas. Despite not having any prior experience in administrative work, Alonzo, who was already a longtime fan of stand-up comedy but never thought of it as a potential career, was able to watch various comics and joked that it was “the ones that weren’t so great that made me think, ‘I could do this.’”

By the time she began doing stand-up in 2003, she was aware that she didn’t fit into Hollywood’s “traditional” mold of a Latina creator, especially at a time when there were not many Latina comedians or actors on traditional sitcoms. “I told myself, ‘If I ever wanted the chance, a legitimate chance, I was going to have to write it myself,” she said.

Eleven years later, Alonzo debuted “Cristela” and made history as the first Latina to create, produce and star in her own network sitcom. While “Cristela” had a respectable run, earning a nine-episode back order for a total of 22 episodes, ABC canceled the series after one season.

In the wake of the cancellation, Alonzo wrote that she “felt relieved,” saying “making a show out of someone’s real life is so incredibly hard to do” because “there are so many different hands involved that sometimes it gets exhausting and frustrating.” Simply put, she said, audiences “got to know the TV version of me.”

It wasn’t until the sitcom was canceled and she was back on the road, preparing for her Netflix special “Lower Classy,” that Alonzo began to understand “how it really affected people and how there were people that really connected to it.”

"A lot of me's out there"

“There was a moment at the end of the stand-up shows that I would always mention the TV show, and people could not stop cheering for minutes,” she said, smiling. “I was already doing social commentary in my stand-up, but there was a moment around that time that I thought: I need to be talking more about this … I need to normalize my story, because my story isn’t special. I grew up with people like me, and people need to know that there’s a lot of me’s out there. When we talk about creating content for Latinos, it’s not about creating content for Latinos; it’s about creating good content that happens to have Latinos in it.”

But Alonzo has not limited herself to only advocating for Latino representation in Hollywood. The morning after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, she woke up and realized that she “just didn’t want to be funny." She took a step back and began visiting Latino communities across the country, using her online platform to discuss issues such as immigration, voting rights and affordable health care. “I started being really active with social issues on a different level where it became my life, and it still is, because I think it’s important to do that,” she said.

“I love to say that the more specific you are about where you come from and who you are, the more universal it is, because that’s one thing I realized, especially working with DACA recipients, working with immigration reform,” she said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. "We might not be from the same countries and have the same backgrounds, but ... we’re all in it together.”

While she concedes that not everyone has a responsibility to use their platform, especially if they are not ready for public scrutiny and are not deeply committed to the cause, Alonzo said that she has never been afraid to learn from her mistakes while continuing to stand up for what she believes in, including her opposition to a recent Texas law banning all abortions after six weeks.

“I still want to speak for causes that I believe in — and that’s always going to be part of my life," she said. "But now, I’m ready to make people laugh."

When she first arrived in Hollywood, Alonzo said, like many of her peers, she wanted to please people and create the perception “that you’re OK with things, that you’re easy to work with.”

But she realized that, in doing so, others “don’t get to know the real you,” she said. “I’m at the point where I’m like, ‘OK, sorry. That was my bad for trusting that everybody got what I was doing.’ Instead of trusting people to see what I’m doing, I’m just going to flat-out show you what I’m doing, and this is what I’m doing.”

For Alonzo, who said that she would “eventually” like to star in her own show again, there are a number of changes that must be made to help advance onscreen Latino representation. Those include, but are not limited to, hiring more executives who will embrace diverse storytelling, casting a wider net for seasoned actors in their late 30s to 50s, and creating more feeder programs at major studios and networks that help to nurture existing talent across various mediums.

“A lot of it has to do with the industry not being able to trust people to actually write the characters that deserve to be written about,” she said. “If you’re hiring a Latino or a Latina writer, you’re hiring them because you like their writing, so allow them to write, and then we will see change.”

“Legends of the Hidden Temple” premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. on The CW.


Legends of the Hidden Temple: behind-the-scenes answers to questions about The CW’s reboot

Legends of the Hidden Temple is back! The 1990s Nickelodeon game show aired just three seasons, but its 120 episodes have lived on, in reruns and now streaming. Five years ago, there was a scripted film version, and today the actual competition series is back.

Unlike the Nickelodeon reboot of Double Dare, which was for kids, The CW’s Legends of the Hidden Temple (Sundays at 9) is targeted at those of us who grew up with the show, who are also the contestants.

It’s moved from a soundstage in Orlando to an expansive outdoor set in the Los Angeles area, but retains the same general format. The voice of Olmec is the same, while Cristela Alonzo is now hosting.

I’ve seen one episode so far, and it grew on me during the episode: The closing image of the temple reflecting in the moat at sunset is gorgeous and really sells the environment; the Temple Run is very similar of the original, and I was yelling at the contestants just like I did in the 1990s; and the opening Moat challenge and its editing were quite clunky, as is Olmec’s mouth.

To learn more about The CW’s version—and, it turned out, the original Nickelodeon version—I talked to executive producer Scott Stone, who created the original with David Stanley and Stephen Brown. The original production company, Stone Stanley Entertainment, went on to produce another beloved reality competition; this new version is produced by Stone’s Stone & Company Entertainment. 

How did Legends change from the Quibi version?

The revival of Legends of the Hidden Temple was initially announced in 2019 by Quibi, which was then still months away from launching. Quibi itself didn’t even last six months, and Legends never aired, but thankfully The CW rescued the reboot this year.

And I do mean thankfully. Some Quibi reality shows were effectively just half-hour shows chopped into three pieces; others were compact, efficient competitions (like this show that I highly recommend).

Had Legends of the Hidden Temple been on Quibi, Stone told me that it would have been “very different.”

“One of the things that we really had agreed to do—and it was not easy—was to do standalone eight-minute episodes,” he said. “Imagine taking the format that we have and trying to suck all the extra oomph out of it, and really make it into eight minutes, because we really did try to keep all of the elements, in one form or another, in the show, in eight minutes. So that was kind of crazy.”

“I always jokingly say that it went from the steps of knowledge to the step of knowledge,” he added.

I am so glad we’re not watching an 8-minute version! The reboot is actually the opposite: What was a half-hour episode on Nickelodeon is an hour-long episode on The CW, though it retains essentially the same format.

Where did Legends of the Hidden Temple film?

The competition filmed in July in Southern California, on a massive outdoor set dressed to look like a jungle rather than the desert. “We were shooting right as we thought COVID was going to go away, and then it didn’t,” Stone said.

All contestants had to be vaccinated, and everyone was also tested.

“We were very, very, very careful about it,” Stone told me, “and we only had, I think, one or maybe two people that ultimately tested positive, but they didn’t infect anybody on the set, and they were gone and came back later. So, we had zero real effect of COVID other than the expense of testing people every day.”

How was Legends of the Hidden Temple show cast?
On the original series, producers just paired two kids the morning of taping, and despite being strangers, they had to work together to win all kinds of fun 1990s prizes.

The new series cast pairs of two people who know each other, like on The Amazing Race, and many of them are fans of the original.

Legends of the Hidden Temple was cast by Doron Ofir, and Stone said he told Doron, “you’re going to get inundated with applications.”

“He said, What are we gonna get, a couple of thousand? Two thousand [applications is] probably the maximum you get per show—even The Mole … you’ll get two or three thousand people,” Stone said. “We had 12,000 people in the first two weeks, and then within a month we had 24,000. And now, because we’ve left our lines open, we have over 50,000 applications.”

There were, however, “very strict criteria,” Stone told me. Potential contestants “had to be within driving distance of LA, because we shot the show out of sequence. We shot all the Moat crossings in two days, then we shot all the Steps of Knowledge, and we shot all the Temple Runs at the very end. So they had to come back four times in a 10-day period; we couldn’t really be flying people in and out. And they had to be people that are willing to get vaccinated—which was another frankly issue with some people who refuse to be vaccinated—which was a mandate on our part.”

While those of us in our 30s and 40s watched Legends of the Hidden Temple in the 1990s, some of the contestants are “in the young 20s range, who had heard about the show. Their older siblings might have watched it, they know it’s cool, they watched the repeats, and they came out not really being super-fans. We have some [who] are social media-type people in their 20s, and just came out to be on the show because they just knew it was going to be cool,” Stone added. “But I would say of the 50,000 [applicants], 95 percent of them were people that watch the show when they were kids.”

Why aren’t all six teams in each episode?

Fans of the Silver Snakes or Orange Iguanas might be dismayed when they see their team is not represented in the first episode. That’s because there are only four teams per episode.

I asked Scott Stone if that was because of COVID restrictions—fewer people on set—or something else.

“It started out as a COVID-related thing, and then it became a creative decision,” Stone told me. “And if you know the show from when it was on Nickelodeon, there are only two words that are spoken by some of the contestants … When Olmec says, Who’s going first? and one of them says, I am.”

In other words, some of the contestants were gone quickly, and the original also wasn’t as focused on introducing us to the contestants, as was typical of game shows back then.

“First season, we did little interviews, but they were not very good so we stopped doing them. But this version, we could speak to them. We’ve come a long way since 1993 in terms of wanting to know the stories behind the people who are on our shows; they’ve become very much story-driven programs,” he said. “Once you decide that you want to get to know eight people pretty well, that takes up a lot of air space. That’s actually a big part of our additional time that we put in the show for the 42-minute version. To get to know 12 people is exponentially harder.”

The initial plan for The CW version was actually to have even fewer teams. “We were originally going to do it with three teams to two, so six people, and then we went to eight, just because format-wise that worked for us. I’m glad we did,” he said.

And for fans of the Silver Snakes or Orange Iguanas, Stone promised that “you see all six of the teams throughout the season. We use all six team colors, and we allowed the contestant teams to pick the color that they wanted to be, generally.”

Is Olmec’s voice being performed live? What’s wrong with his mouth?

Voice actor Dee Bradley Baker returned to Legends of the Hidden Temple as the voice of Olmec, the Mayan god who narrates the stories and introduces the challenges. Stone was thrilled to have Baker back: “I love Dee more than I can tell you.”

Baker is on set performing the voice live—and not just doing Olmec’s narration, but also puppeteering Olmec’s mouth from a booth behind Olmec on the temple set. “He’s literally talking into a microphone with one hand and on his right hand is a stick that is the mouth of Olmec, and he’s talking while he’s doing it,” Stone said.

I was thrilled that the show stayed true to the original with a practical Olmec—not, say, a CGI version. His eyes still glow red as he talks, and his mouth moves up and down. But I was also surprised that the mouth movement was so minimal. Yes, it’s a stone carving of a face, but Olmec’s mouth moves significantly less than the 1990s version did.

Stone said the production was well-aware of that issue. “Nobody knows how to build Olmec anymore; those plans were long gone. We got it out there, the mouth didn’t open far enough,” he said. “It was a very tiny mouth movement, and it wasn’t Dee’s default; he had the arm strength to do it, but the old mouth moved a lot easier and opened much wider.”

Producers kept working to improve it while filming took place. The set builders “literally took his skin off three times and tried to adjust it, and it had to be put back on and repainted,” Stone said.

Because each element of the show was shot separately, Olmec’s mouth improves during individual episodes. Stone said that “by the time we did the Temple Games, it was a week later, and we had adjusted it, and by the time we got to the Temple Run, we adjusted it pretty much to about 80 percent of where we wanted it.”

“In season two, we have to completely rebuild Olmec’s mouth so it opens more, because that’s exactly the reason why he looks like he’s kind of mumbling, as opposed to being very animated like an animatronic,” Stone told me. “So another good observation, and you are not wrong.”

Why is The Moat so big?

The first challenge on Legends of the Hidden Temple takes place in front of temple, in a large body of water that was constructed for the show. It’s much bigger, in part because of how small the original was.

“It was an above-ground, plastic liner on a soundstage that had about two feet of water and it was maybe 15 feet wide. You could jump from one side to the next,” Stone told me. “So we knew that it couldn’t really be that size, and we wanted to go big and we wanted to open big.”

“The big decision was taking [the show] outside. That became the beginning of the discussion,” he said, and the result is a moat that’s “huge. And then we tell people, you have to be able to swim and tread water for at least five minutes—and of course, they pay no attention to that. You get out there and they start treading water and a lot of them couldn’t exactly do it. You’ll see in episode two, we actually have a team where a guy went and took swim lessons; he didn’t know how to swim.”

On the first day of filming, the production filmed seven moat crossing challenges in a row, which may explain why it’s the least-polished part of the episode I saw.

Stone told me that “the moat crossing is the most-difficult part of the shoot for multiple reasons.” That starts with having eight contestants to introduce. “We want you to care about them, because we’re going to lose a team before it’s over. In the kid version, you lost two teams and nobody cared,” he said.

The actual challenge “takes about 40 minutes worth of shooting, and we’ve got to cut it down to three and a half,” Stone said, “and because they’re in water, there are no microphones, so all the micing has to be done above water, and we don’t have a lot of good, natural sound. In a future season, we have a much better way of doing it; we learned halfway through.”

Why did the Temple Games change?
On Legends of the Hidden Temple, the three teams that finish the Moat challenge first go on to the Steps of Knowledge, where they answer trivia questions.

One team is eliminated there, and the final two teams compete in the Temple Games to find out which team will go on to the final challenge and run through the temple, but also to earn immunity idols—the Pendants of Life. Those are important because three of the Temple’s rooms have Temple Guards, and if one shows up, the contestant out unless they have a pendant.

The original series had three Temple Games: the first two awarded a half pendant, and the final game awarded a full pendant. If a team went into the temple with just 1.5 pendants, the other half-pendant was hidden inside.

All of this is important because having two full pendants means it’s impossible for the Temple Guards to end a team’s run: each player has two chances, and there are just three Temple Guards.

The new version awards a full pendant of life for each of the two games. If there’s a tie, because each of the teams won a challenge, there’s a tiebreaker question worth one pendant. That means the winning team will automatically have two pendants, and effectively can’t be eliminated by the Temple Guards.

“I personally never loved it when they got taken out before the full three minutes were up,” Stone told me. “The other half-pendant was in the temple, but very few people actually found it.”

Reducing the number of challenges was “one of the few subtle changes in the format,” he said. “We took one Temple Game out, because we wanted them to be a little bit more substantial. The Temple Games in their original show were all timed, and they were no more than a minute. We needed those acts to breathe and to open up, and make them multi-layered and multi-dimensional. When we laid out the format, there really wasn’t room for a third temple game, and that did away with the half-pendant of life.”

How much bigger are The Temple Run and temple?
The final team now has four minutes to navigate the temple during the final Temple Run challenge, and there’s a good reason: it is much, much larger. On screen, it didn’t seem a whole lot bigger than the soundstage version, but it’s actually “three times the size,” Stone told me. “If you put an adult in the kid version of the show, it would be tiny—one step, they’d be on the other side of the room.”

“The original temple was maybe 28 feet high, this one’s about 60 feet high. So it’s double the height, and it’s about twice as wide,” he added.

But it was actually planned to be much bigger. “If we get to season two, we’re adding two more rooms onto the temple. We had to cut them off because we ran out of budget and time. But, on the left hand side of the temple, you’ll notice where the ladder of death goes from the queen’s armory down to the dark forest, it’s supposed to have two more rooms attached to it.”

How were the legends chosen and researched?

The very first credit that comes up at the end of Legends of the Hidden Temple is “Written by Scott A. Stone.” That’s because the legends themselves are “the thing I care about the most,” Stone said.

“The original show, we told stories of historic figures like Benjamin Franklin or Amelia Earhart,” Stone told me. “We decided early on that we wanted to make these more elaborate stories, and more about real cultures all over the world, choosing to tell actual legendary stories of cultures became a big passion of mine. We did a ton of research into all these stories.”

The legend is told through animated segments, narrated by Olmec, that are places across all five acts of each episode, and elements of the story are incorporated into challenges such as the Temple Games.

Even with that expanded storytelling, the stories are still compressed. The first episode is focused on the story of the Maya Hero Twins, and Stone said “that story is not only almost one thousand years old, but it goes on and on and on and on—it’s hours and hours worth of oral storytelling.”

Besides research into the legends to ensure the accuracy of the stories, the show also hired a University of Texas expert in Mayan culture to help design the new set. “In 1992, when we built this set, there was no Internet, there was people looking at the Encyclopedia Britannica. Our art directors were really good about making sure that we did it as best we could to our culture of its day,” Stone said.

For The CW version, the consultant helped the production “make sure that we were doing this accurately—building the set in particular. He’s been with us hand-in-hand,” Stone said. “You’ll notice the glyphs that are on the set and actually say Steps of Knowledge and Temple Run and Legends of the Hidden Temple. Those are actual Mayan glyphs that he created for us in the real Mayan language. Everything in the temple, including the Temple Guard costumes, are authentic to actual Mayan warriors.”

“We went out of our way to make sure that not only was that appropriate,” Stone added, “but we wanted very specifically to have a Latina host to be in our Mayan temple, and our temple guards are Latino. The only person, frankly, who’s not Latino is Dee [Bradley Baker]—but Olmec is omnipotent and omniscient. We are very careful: Dee doesn’t try to speak in any kind of language or accent that would match that culture.”

Stone also told me the production is open to criticism and critique. “We continue to try to do the right thing, and I’m sure we will make some mistakes along the way, and we look forward to it Twittersphere telling us,” he said.

How can I watch Legends of the Hidden Temple?

New episodes air Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on The CW [...].

But you can also watch Legends, for free, on The CW’s apps.

And if you’re looking for more between new episodes, the 1990s Nickelodeon version on Paramount+. All three seasons—40 episodes each—are there.


From Remezcla:

Cristela Alonzo Talks ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’ and Breaking Barriers

Cristela Alonzo is used to breaking barriers. She was the first Latina to create, write, and star in her own U.S. primetime comedy. She was also the first Latina to star in a Disney Pixar movie. And now she’s breaking barriers by becoming the host of Legends of the Hidden Temple when it makes its triumphant return after its final episodes aired on Nickelodeon back in 1995.

Remezcla spoke to Cristela about taking on the duties of being the host of such an iconic show, what this opportunity means to her, and what would happen if she teamed up with Mario Lopez to take on the temple. (We’re particularly invested in the last one there, especially because Cristela also wrote a Christmas movie for Lifetime titled “Holiday in Santa Fe” that stars Lopez himself.) But first, Legends of the Hidden Temple.

This time around it isn’t going to be kids competing. It’s adults living their dreams to swim the moat, become part of the six distinct teams, and have bragging rights that they accomplished something many haven’t. “Everybody wanted to compete to say that they were a Blue Barracuda or like a Purple Parrot or a Silver Snake.” And sure, there is a prize of $25,000, but most contestants were like, “Can you believe that we’re here? That’s Olmec!”

Just talking to Olmec had Cristela freaking out and living her best life. “I’m not kidding…he said my name and I lost it. Especially because Cristela isn’t a common name,” she tells us. “You know, when you grow up with an uncommon name, you grow up knowing a couple things: You’re never gonna find personalized pencils with your name on it and it’s that thing where you come to accept.” Cristela continued by saying, “That moment when Olmec said my name and said ‘Cristela’ I was like, ‘Oh, damn. He knows my name.’”

At that moment, Cristela was a kid all over again. And that made her realize that she’s going to be giving young Latine kids something she never had: a host that is just like them on a show they might also grow up watching. “Everything that I’ve been able to do in my career, I’ve had that moment.” And as her career progressed, now including her work on Legends of the Hidden Temple, she realized, “It made me so happy that I hoped people could see me and know that they could do it too.”

Talking about competing, when asked about who Cristela would do the temple run with, her initial answer was her older sister. But when we asked about Mario Lopez, who stars in her new Lifetime movie “Holiday in Santa Fe,” which she wrote, she quickly responded, “I think we would dominate because he’s competitive as hell.” She then explains how they would get across the moat aka the first trial in Legends of the Hidden Temple, “I would go to Mario and be like, ‘Mira, we’re gonna play Titanic. You’re the raft and I’m the girl.’”

Legends of the Hidden Temple, hosted by Cristela Alonzo, premieres this Sunday on The CW.


From UPI:

Cristela Alonzo juggles 'Hidden Temple,' activism

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Cristela Alonzo said hosting Legends of the Hidden Temple, premiering Sunday on The CW, marks her return to entertaining after years of focusing on activism. The 42-year-old stand-up comedian has spent the years since her 2017 Netflix special, Lower Classy, promoting social causes.

"Aside from being an advocate for things that you love, you also have to understand that people need to feel good and they need a distraction," Alonzo told UPI in a phone interview. "Now, I'm in the balance of where I want to do both."

Hidden Temple is a revival of the Nickelodeon game show that ran from 1993 to 1995. Four teams of two compete in physical challenges until the winner gets a chance to run the hidden temple.

The Nickelodeon incarnation featured kids competing. The CW's edition features all adult contestants, which Alonzo said intensifies the game.

"We can make it more challenging," Alonzo said. "We can get dirtier, and I think that as adults, we're not used to really having fun and getting dirty."

Challenges include obstacle courses, puzzle solving and trivia about legends told by Olmec, a talking statue. The legends included on the show are based on historical legends of South American cultures.

The climactic run through Olmec's temple is the largest obstacle course. If contestants make it to the end, they win $25,000.

The teams of contestants represent diverse backgrounds, including a team of two Black trans women. Alonzo said diversity was an important aspect of the show to her.

"We wanted to make sure that the contestants represented a big slice of life and what we really look like, who makes up the people that live in this country and just in life in general," Alonzo said.

"If you want to show a show that really has a variety of people, then all you do is find the people who are best at it and put them on the show."

Alonzo grew up in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas. She talks about being raised poor in her stand-up.

After Lower Classy, Alonzo said, she traveled across the United States, advocating for social causes. Some of them with which she was involved were DACA and immigration reform, universal health care, voting and the Special Olympics.

Alonzo said she considered herself an example of the need for health care reform. She said she was diagnosed as diabetic once she was a working adult and gained access to health care.

"I want people to know that health is something that we need to take care of," she said. "In this country, we look at it as a luxury."

Alonzo said she has tried to use her work to share her life experience before. In 2014, she created and starred in an ABC sitcom, Cristela, inspired by her own life.

"If people can pay attention to me and I have a voice that people will listen to, I need to make sure that people know how a lot of us are living," Alonzo said.

"It's important to humanize all of us and make sure that everybody knows we all might struggle, but we all have a heart and soul at the end of the day. We're all people."

Cristela only lasted one season. Alonzo said she is also preparing to film a new Netflix stand-up special in the next few months to air in 2022.

Legends of the Hidden Temple airs Sundays at 8 p.m. EDT on The CW.


The CW’s ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’ revives a ’90s cult favorite

The action comes out of the studio and into the jungle, so to speak, when The CW reboots an old Nickelodeon cult favorite in an upcoming competition series.

In “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” an updated version of the 1993-95 original that premieres Sunday, four teams of two are tasked with negotiating a gauntlet linked to a legend told them by Olmec, the giant talking Mayan head (who is voiced by Bradley Baker, who did the original Olmec). They must cross a moat, answer a battery of questions related to the legend and take on a series of physical challenges. The tandem to successfully make it to the end gets to enter the temple, where they will attempt to find the treasure and win a $25,000 grand prize.

The series was filmed outdoors on a jungle set in Simi Valley outside of Los Angeles — a departure from the studio set used in the Nickelodeon series — and is hosted by actress, comedian, writer and producer Cristela Alonzo (“His Dark Materials,” “Cristela”), a self-confessed fan of the original series whose job it is to guide and cheer on the contestants and keep things light.

Cristela Alonzo hosts ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple,’ premiering Sunday on The CW.
“There’s so much room for comedy because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “And that’s what makes it so fun is that you don’t know what’s going to happen. So it actually helps you keep the (stand-up) skills up … because you have to react and you have to comment on everything that’s happening to make sure that the teams are having a good time, too. Me, as a host of the show, I want the teams to have a good time. My goal really isn’t about entertaining the people that watch at home. My goal is to entertain the contestants that are playing the game because if they’re happy, the people at home can pick up on that energy.”

But sometimes the energy isn’t so great. Teamwork is critical here and when that doesn’t happen, teammates can get impatient with each other and infighting can occur, which Alonzo says becomes very evident.

“Sometimes the teams get very frustrated with each other,” she said with a laugh. “We’ve got family members who are like, ‘What are you thinking?’ And we’ve got best friends that are so happy and halfway through the challenge are like, ‘Come on! You’re better than this!’ So … they start so chummy and at times it’s like you don’t even know — Is this couple getting divorced? What are we doing?”


Cristela Alonzo Talks Reviving Legends of the Hidden Temple

Tonight sees the long-awaited return of Legends of the Hidden Temple. The series may have only run for a short time in its first run on Nickelodeon (from 1993 until 1995), but it became iconic with millennials who grew up watching it rerun in syndication for years, first on Nickelodeon and later on its sibling network, Nick Games and Sports For Kids (Nick GAS). The series spawned a movie, based on its in-game mythology, in 2017, and now it's back as a new series on The CW, hosted by Cars 3 star and stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo.

In spite of her Pixar bona fides and the show's history, though, there's one major tweak to the formula: contestants in the modern Legends of the Hidden Temple will be adults, rather than the kids who competed on the original series. It ups the nostalgia factor for the contestants -- something that brings them about even with Alonzo.

"I grew up watching the show," Alonzo told ComicBook. "During that time of Nickelodeon, it really was like the golden age of Nickelodeon, where it felt like the programming really was made for us, you know what I mean? For the people watching. We had our own shows. Like, Legends of the Hidden Temple was our own game show, just like Double Dare. So it's this weird thing, where I watched it, I loved it, and when it came back and I got asked about hosting it. It kind of took me a second to understand that it was the show, because you're thinking, 'Well it's been so long, it's got the same name, but is it the same? It can't be the same thing.' And then I'm like, 'Oh my God, it's the same show,' and immediately I was like, 'Yes, sign me up.' It's kind of like somebody asking me, 'Do you want to go to your own birthday party?' Yeah, I kind of do actually, let's go."

The series is remarkably similar to the original, with similar stunts (albeit perhaps scaled up for the adult contestants), a similar temple (with maybe some extra detail so it looks less cheap in HD), and of course, the giant stone-faced Olmec, the statue voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, who provides the legends that each episode revolve around.

"Once we started shooting it, a lot of it did come back," Alonzo said. "Not only that, by coming back, I was getting excited about things myself. I found myself cheering teams on. As the host, I cheer people on, just like I did when I was a kid watching the show. Dee Bradley Baker's back as Olmec, and the first time he said my name, 'Cristela,' I lost it. Because what are the chances of Olmec ever saying your name? Even if you know Dee, as Olmec you're like, 'Oh, that's Cristela, that's my name!'"

It's the same for the contestants who, by and large, are just old enough to have seen the show in syndication, and have fond memories of the original Legends of the Hidden Temple. 

"It was kind of insane. I realized, every episode is like they're competing for $25,000, but really, you kind of feel like they're not. You kind of feel like they're there for bragging rights," Alonzo said. "Just to say that they're a Blue Barracuda, a Silver Snake, you know what I mean? It really is this thing where you find out, everybody there grew up with the show, and everybody just couldn't believe they were on it. They had these moments of freaking out when they first see Olmec, when they see the moat, the Steps of Knowledge. You could see them, they get happy with it. To them, all of it is just like, 'Wait a minute. You mean I'm a Purple Parrot? For real?' I think that makes it even more fun. I always make sure that, with the contestants, I always tell them, 'Part of the fun is the fact that you get to be here, and try to run this course. How awesome is it? Who gets to do that?'" 

Legends of the Hidden Temple airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, beginning tonight.


Olmec gets a makeover: An inside look at new, 'more authentic' Legends of the Hidden Temple set

The creative team behind the CW's reboot of Nickelodeon classic Legends of the Hidden Temple share how they've upgraded the set for adult contestants.

Almost 26 years after Nickelodeon's Legends of the Hidden Temple staged its final run under the watchful eye of Olmec, the obstacle-course game show is back starting tonight — this time on the CW and with a supersized set for adult contestants. But far more went into crafting the new Legends set than just making everything bigger... even though they did make everything bigger.

"Epic" and "adult" was the vibe that EP (and original series co-creator) Scott A. Stone wanted for this new outdoor set, which is more than double the size of the 23-foot-tall original: "It had to live up to the memory built up from childhood — that same wow factor."

Stone shares that more than 48,000 people applied to compete on this new Legends (a number he says far exceeds the number of applicants for similar series), and he saw their primary goal to be exhausting those contestants as quickly as possible — something made easier by upgrading from the small water feature kids ventured over in the Nickelodeon version.

"It's a little bigger than the 2-foot-deep bathtub we had in studio," Stone says of upgrading to an 8-foot-deep course the size of half a football field. "The first challenge is just swimming across it, and they're all just exhausted," he adds. "I would be too!"

Design consultant Joe Stewart and art director J. Patrick Adair were brought in to help transform the Simi Valley, Calif., set into a Hidden Temple, a task made more difficult once the luscious foliage that had been growing around the set began to wither.

"The original idea was to shoot it in a real jungle. And when we scouted the location, it was beautifully lush and green, with nice California Oaks," says Stone. "But all those pretty trees that were all brown by the time we shot. So we spent a lot of time putting green stuff down — and Patrick was out there with his team, spraying the ground with green stuff. We brought the jungles to the desert."

They also brought Olmec to the desert, but not without a makeover. While Cristela Alonzo has taken over hosting duties from Kirk Fogg, the stone-faced fan favorite is still voiced by Dee Bradley Baker — though he's has traded his round earrings for square ones, thanks to an expert hired to help the show represent Mayan culture more authentically.

"There was no internet in those days to do research, to see, 'Okay, how does that work?'" Stone says of creating the original series without a consultant. "We literally took it out of an encyclopedia. I mean, that's where it all came from. So it's now, you know, how many years later, and we actually hired a Mayanist expert to make sure that everything we did with our show was more authentic." As another example, he points out that there are now real hieroglyphics around the Temple Run instead of just squiggles. (The one above the Temple entryway in the photo below translates to "hidden temple." The one on the wall past the entrance translates to "temple run.")

Stewart and Adair worked closely with challenge producers, electricians, sound technicians, camera operators, and the people playing Temple Guards to make sure the Temple Run would execute perfectly 13 times in one day (since the show block shot each section of the competition, with a whole season's Temple Runs executed in one day).

"It's a very, very, very collaborative experience. We had meetings that went on and on and on because everything had to match together. So it wasn't just creatively, but also mechanically doing things and structurally making sure that we could get from door to door, room to room. So it became a series of meetings," says Stewart. "A lot of times when you design something, it's the design, but this was an entirely collaborative experience throughout the whole run — it needed to be in order to work."

One of the 12 "escape rooms" replicates the cenotes (water-filled caves) of the Yucatán. It leads to the Spider's Lair, the Royal Rage Room (a unisex renaming of the King's Storeroom, "with a lot more pots to break now"), or the Crypt of the Heartless.

"There's these three corpses, and there's a slit in their chest," Stone says of the Crypt. "And you reach in and look for the heart that's beating. One of them still has a beating heart, and you rip the heart out and you go put it into this receptacle in the room and it lights the room up with the veins and arteries that are now flowing with the blood. I pitched that and said, 'Can we do that?'" Stewart's response? "We're not paid to say no."

The CW's The Legends of the Hidden Temple premieres tonight (Sunday, Oct. 10) at 8 p.m. ET/PT.


Originally published: August 30, 2021.

Original source:; Additional source: PeopleWMTW.

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