‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Renewed by Netflix 12 Hours Ahead of the Season 1 Finale

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Another 456 people will be put through the ringer in the chance to win a giant cash prize.

Netflix has ordered a second season of “Squid Game: The Challenge,” its hit reality competition show based on the massive Korean series “Squid Game.” The announcement was made 12 hours before Netflix airs the finale of the first season on December 7 at 9 p.m. ET, in which the winner will receive a $4.56 million reward, the largest cash prize in reality TV history.

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A renewal of “Squid Game: The Challenge” should come as a surprise to no one, except for perhaps people who were expecting we’d get an actual second season of “Squid Game” by now. Despite controversial news reports in which contestants during the famed Red Light-Green Light game accused producers of harsh filming conditions and the contest being rigged for cast members who had been pre-selected to advance, the show has been massively popular and has topped Netflix’s Top 10 list in its first two weeks on the streamer.

In its debut week, “Squid Game: The Challenge” had 20.1 million views in the U.S. In its first full week, it followed that up with another 11.4 million views and was #1 domestically again. Interest around the series was big enough that it even vaulted the actual “Squid Game” series back into the Top 10. It also hit the Top 10 in 93 countries.

“There was no red light in our decision to greenlight season two of ‘Squid Game: The Challenge,’ the most ambitious unscripted show we’ve premiered at Netflix,” said Brandon Riegg, Netflix VP of Nonfiction Series. “We’re so excited to continue the franchise of ‘Squid Game’ with our team in Korea, and producers at Studio Lambert and The Garden for this epic competition series.”

Netflix didn’t announce any new specifics or twists for the second season, but the same number of 456 players will again compete for $4.56 million in a series of games inspired by the original show, with some new additions. Casting for Season 2 is open now here.

The “Squid Game” tie-ins aren’t stopping with the reality show. Netflix has in the works a video game and a live fan experience beginning today, December 6, in Los Angeles. The deadly and bloody exploitation of the poor in a series of merciless children’s games can now be enjoyed by the whole family for $39 per person just a block from The Grove.

IndieWire in its review of “Squid Game: The Challenge” admired the first season of the reality show, highlighting some of its emotional contestant storylines, how it still raises “questions about the puppeteering of the average citizen in the service of entertaining the masses,” and its ability to ratchet up suspense while distinguishing itself from the original “Squid Game.”

“Some of the manufactured tension borders on cruel as episodes continue, while music and editing ramp the stakes up high enough to elicit gasps. Between the looming, faceless guards and simmering alliances and enmity, the show is as much about mind games as the other kind,” Proma Khosla wrote in her review.

Hwang Dong-hyuk, the creator of “Squid Game,” has also defended the reality show, and Netflix is still very much in the works on a second season of the actual flagship show. The original remains Netflix’s biggest hit ever by a wide margin, even for an international show. Season 1 of the scripted Korean drama packed together more than 2.2 billion hours viewed within its first 91 days, or 265.2 million “views.” The only other shows to have reached — or passed — 1 billion hours viewed are English-language series “Stranger Things 4” (1.8 billion), “Wednesday: Season 1” (1.7 billion), and “Dahmer” (1 billion). (With about half the total running time of “Stranger Things” Season 4, “Wednesday” actually has more views: 252.1 million vs. 140.7 million.)

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