‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’ – Negotiate the gauntlet, find the treasure

It's all about teamwork in CW competition series

Cristela Alonzo hosts “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” premiering Sunday on The CW.

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, Oct. 10, 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 reasons. “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 says 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?”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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