I found myself surprisingly entertained by the first season of King of the Nerds, a reality show on TBS where geeks compete to receive the title and $100,000. The second season debuts on Thursday, January 23, with 11 new contestants.
Brian, 27 – Urbana, Ill. – Library science scholar who enjoys German-style board games and discussing 18th-century European history. At one time, he had 100 books checked out from the Yale library.
Chris, 27 – Waco, Texas – Structural engineer who loves to travel and aspires to work in the space exploration industry.
Jack, 24 – Urbana, Ill. – Bioengineering student and fencing and chess champion who enjoys watching anime in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese.
Josh, 23 – Grayslake, Ill. – Game vlogger (with nearly 700,000 subscribers), nerdcore rapper, and world competitor in card games.
Katie, 24 – Pittsburgh, Penn. – Roboticist and puppeteer whose work has appeared on Broadway and who formerly performed in ballet companies.
Kayla, 28 – Greenacres, Wash. – An ice hockey player who also holds a master’s degree in space studies and believes she will one day reach Mars.
Kelsey, 23 – Canton, Ga. – Quad-lingual Japanophile who is equally as interested in playing video game music on the piano as she is keeping up with fantasy/sci-fi novels and swing dancing.
Mary Kate, 23 – Starkville, Miss. – Aerospace engineering student and avid costumer.
Nicole, 28 – Milwaukee, Wisc. – Chemist, gamer, and former marching band member who currently competes in a Milwaukee roller derby league.
Xander, 27 – Los Angeles, Calif. – Vlogger, graphic designer, and LARP enthusiast who lost 100 pounds by playing a popular dance video game.
Zachary, 21 – Minneapolis, Minn. – Fantasy writer and hardcore gamer who has also memorized more than 300 hours of musical lyrics in genres ranging from J-pop to rock.
Clearly, they did a lot of recruiting in Chicago, given how many of the competitors are from the Midwest. I do like the wide-ranging definition of “nerd” they use, though, with all kinds of fandoms popping up, and that there are roughly equal numbers of boys and girls included.
The show is hosted by Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong, known for their roles in Revenge of the Nerds back in the 80s. This season will feature a reunion around that movie and guest stars including Bill Nye the Science Guy, Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory), Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Kumail Nanjiani (Franklin & Bash), and George Takei.