Netflix's 'Squid Game' reality show has contestants risking it all — watch the teaser

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Netflix is turning its deadly hit series “Squid Game” into reality — with some adjustments, of course.

The streamer released a teaser trailer of its new reality competition series called "Squid Game: The Challenge" Friday, showing a first glimpse at the 456 players competing in a series of children's games, but with higher stakes, for a $4.56 million payout.

"You have got to be kidding me," one player in the series' classic green tracksuit says in the teaser as he looks up at the pile of cash dangling in a case from the ceiling.

The series boasts the largest monetary prize in television history and the most significant number of participants in a competition series, Netflix said.

Here's what to know about the new "Squid Games" reality series.

What is the premise of 'Squid Game: The Challenge'?

At the Banff World Media Festival in June, the streamer announced it had greenlit the reality competition series.

Like the South Korean survival drama, the 10-episode series shows 456 players competing for the cash prize — except this time it's not life or death for the competitors.

Soon after the announcement, Netflix shared a link to its casting page, According to the page, the reality series will tap “English-language speakers from any part of the world.” Applicants must be 21 years old.

The application asked users to upload a one-minute video with a focus on their biography, why they wanted to be on 'Squid Game: The Challenge, what their "game plan" would be, and what they would do with a "huge cash prize." They were also instructed to upload photos.

Applicants are also given the option to store their data in Netflix’s contributor database so they can be contacted for future seasons, indicating that this may be an ongoing project.

What inspired 'Squid Game: The Challenge'?

"Squid Game: The Challenge" is a response to the South Korean drama series' massive popularity. It debuted worldwide in September 2021 and became Netflix’s most-watched series. It has been renewed for a second season.

Starring Lee Jung-jae and HoYeon Jung, the K-drama follows competitors who join the games in an attempt to bail themselves out of deep financial strains. The only way out is to win by surviving the hyper-violent challenges, which sees competitors eliminated by guards, intricate games, and each other.

Class disparity and capitalism are at the center of the series, set in a world where economic desperation pushes people to put their lives on the line.

Fan reaction to the announcement of "Squid Game: The Challenge" has been a hodgepodge of both excitement and skepticism, with some expressing their desire to join and others questioning the streamer’s decision, especially given the show's apparent critique of the actual competition.

"Cool cool quick question, did they watch the show?" one user said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Another user called it the "antithesis" of the original show's message. "Tell me you don’t understand what 'Squid Game' is about without telling me you don’t understand what 'Squid Game' is about," someone else wrote.

"This feels so dystopian. Turning a fictional death game into a reality show," one X user replied to the news.

Another X user said, with a hint of sarcasm, that the announcement was "great timing," given recent economic progressions, like rising gas prices and inflation being at a 40-year high.

Further, in recent months, Netflix has appeared in the headlines for falling share prices. The streamer announced a crackdown on password sharing and may introduce advertisements.

In April 2022, the company announced that for the first time in 10 years, it had lost subscribers in a financial calendar quarter. At the time, the streamer revealed that it had lost 200,000 subscribers in its first quarter and expected to lose another 2 million in the second quarter.

One month after the announcement of subscriber losses, Netflix laid off 150 employees (less than 2% of its 11,000 staffers), citing slowing revenue growth.

One X user joked that the competition series is "how Netflix is doing their next round of layoffs."

When does 'Squid Game: The Challenge' premiere?

The show is set to premiere on Nov. 22, according to Netflix.

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