This New Reality Competition ‘The Runner’ Is Kinda Amazing… Get the Deets

From executive producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon comes The Runner, a new reality competition series that is played out entirely online on go90/therunner.com and AOL.com and is 100 percent interactive with social media. No broadcast or cable TV channel required, just your mobile device or computer.

The series launches today (July 1, 2016) and lasts for 30-consecutive days. The basic premise is this: One person, a Runner, must make it across America while the entire country hunts him or her down for a chance to cash in on over $1 million in prize money.

Said Affleck and Damon in a joint statement, “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to launch the first-ever, real-time competition show produced with the mobile viewer in mind that enables everyone to get in on the chase and [receive] prizes through social media. We’re proud to be bringing The Runner to go90, and to be part of a new kind of entertainment experience.”

Celebuzz was able to attend a special presentation of the series on the brand new The Runner studio set, to see how it works, how the interactive viewers can win a ton of money. We also got to meet the host Matthew Patrick (A.K.A. “MatPat”), the creator of the YouTube series Game Theory, along with executive producer Craig Piligian and Chip Canter, GM of Digital Entertainment at Verizon, who created the app and technology.

Canter explained, “The Runner raises the stakes for reality series in the streaming video space. Real-time captured footage, lightning speed editing, three action-packed episodes daily and interactive viewer participation is a first for online and television. It aligns perfectly with our vision for go90, which is to push the boundaries on mobile and digital entertainment to suit our audience.”

Added Piligian, “It marks a milestone in the evolution of competition programming. Not only are we bringing broadcast-quality production, live elements and audience interaction to a new level of intensity, but we’re also bringing those components to a social media platform. We are using every tool at our disposal to create a massively entertaining and exciting viewer experience that we hope will help expand the scope of reality competition.”

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CREDIT: Craig Piligian - photo: Jeff Lewis/AP Images for Verizon go90

Okay, here’s how it works:

The Runner

The Runner, who you’ll only get to know the longer they last in the competition, must follow a series of daily clues and complete a number of tasks that will lead him or her across America for 30 consecutive days. Tasks are designed to test five key skills: strength, endurance, problem solving, intellect and memory. If the Runner makes it across the country without being caught, he or she will win $500,000. If the Runner doesn’t make it, the Runner goes home with nothing.

For obvious reasons, Piligian could not divulge any deets about the Runner, where they are, if they get a head start, but says they have back-up Runners on the ready once the previous Runner is caught. It’ll be kind of hard to make it without getting caught when you have people everywhere hunting you, so most likely they’ll, er, run through these guys. Patrick added, “This is quite literally a live, in real-time, 24-hour manhunt for who this runner is.”

The Chasers

Hunting down the Runner are five, two-person “Chase teams.” In an effort to get one step ahead of the Runner, these Chasers are ALSO given daily clues that help them track the Runner’s every move. If Chase teams can capture the Runner, they win the bounty on his or her head, which increases by $15,000 daily.

The main thing to point out is that these teams have to be constantly on the move, just like the Runner, so not only do they need to use technology and their wits to figure out where the Runner is, they also have to be physically fit.

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CREDIT: Jeff Lewis/AP Images for Verizon go90

At the presentation, we met these teams and on-camera expert Kaj Larsen, a VICE News journalist, producer and media commentator, who will be on the ground with Chaser teams. Let’s just say, they are an eclectic bunch. You’ve got two former college buddies who ran cross-country track and who are now computer programmers. There are two brothers from Hawaii who “love the ocean” and are adrenaline junkies, two girls who are Cross-Fit experts, two guys from Queens, and co-ed co-workers who apparently are great at problem-solving. Yeah, our money is on the Bro-grammers.

Now, here’s how YOU fit in and how you can win cash pretty much every day if you are an avid follower. Along with the Chase teams, viewers have the opportunity to solve the clues on go90.com/TheRunner. Log on and if you get the correct answer, you can win cash right away.

Also, if you pick a favorite Chase team and assist them in catching the Runner, that Chase team can choose to give their valued fans $1,000 a day for tips and general support. Then, at the conclusion, The Runner MVP will be chosen via a lottery system that favors the most active fan, who is then awarded $50,000.

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CREDIT: Matthew Patick - photo: Jeff Lewis/AP Images for Verizon go90

The show airs three times a day, starting at 9 AM PST/12 PM EST, in which Patrick and Larsen go over the previous day’s events and reveal LIVE the day’s first America’s Cash Task (ACT). As the ACT is announced, anyone watching live on go90 or AOL.com can view and start participating to win money. The other two shows air at 12 PM PST/3 PM EST and 7 PM PST/10 PM EST, in which you can watch the hosts break down the social media conversations and get a chance to get to know the Chaser teams a little better.

The Runner looks like loads of fun for the month of July, so download the go90 app on your mobile device or log on to go90.com/TheRunner to witness the action, join the chase and win cash!

[To play along, watch the show for clues and connect with the show on Twitter (@therunnergo90), Facebook (Facebook.com/therunnergo90), Instagram (therunnergo90), and Snapchat (therunnergo90) for details about how to win cash prizes.]