CBS Says The World’s Best, Debuting After the Super Bowl, Isn’t Just Another Competition Show

‘We’re crossing our fingers that this is going to be a franchise for many years to come’

The World's Best will debut Sunday night on CBS, right after Super Bowl LIII. Monty Brinton/CBS
Headshot of Jason Lynch

Airing after the Super Bowl is one of the best time slots on TV: whichever show gets the coveted position is guaranteed to draw one of the largest entertainment audiences of the year.

This year, CBS is using Super Bowl LIII to premiere The World’s Best, its new reality competition series hosted by James Corden and featuring Drew Barrymore, Faith Hill and RuPaul Charles, who judge a variety of global acts. In addition to receiving scores from the celebrity trio, contestants are also judged by the “Wall of the World,” representing 38 different countries.

While the show sounds very similar to other hit reality competition series like America’s Got Talent, American Idol or The Voice, the show’s producers stressed today at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in L.A. that The World’s Best stands on its own.

Many hit reality shows—including Fox’s new The Masked Singer—are adapted from international formats, but “this is a homegrown format, created in America,” said executive producer Mike Darnell.

“We have no template. This is a new format. There are no videos from Korea or another country that we can watch or mimic,” said executive producer Alison Holloway.

The World’s Best “is a mighty title,” said Holloway. “But it’s also spurred us as producers to do the very best show that we can.”

“It feels appropriate after the Super Bowl,” said Darnell, who has never had a show air after the Super Bowl in his two-plus decades overseeing reality shows like American Idol, Joe Millionaire, Temptation Island and Little Big Shots.

“This show really reflects the global vision that we all grew up thinking that the 21st century would be,” said Charles.

Executive producer Ben Winston, who also oversees The Late Late Show With James Corden, said that while he was always “a massive fan of variety shows,” the genre often lacks “that little bit of edge,” which The World’s Best has.

“Once you watch it, you feel the differences,” said Winston. Among them: Corden, who is “as entertaining as any host can be. . …This show really allows him to spread his wings in primetime.”

Winston noted that a decade ago, shows like American Idol would spotlight and poke fun at untalented contestants. “I don’t think that’s suitable anymore,” he said. On The World’s Best, “everybody is at the top of their game …no one’s being laughed at.”

Darnell has big plans for the show: “We’re crossing our fingers that this is going to be a franchise for many years to come on CBS.”

After the panel, CBS released a first look trailer at The World’s Best:

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.
Publish date: January 30, 2019 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT