HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii is the tropical backdrop for a new Korean reality TV show. While the contestants try to avoid elimination, the state's tourism industry could be the big winner with millions of dollars worth of exposure. 18 contestants are competing in a KBS show called "The Challenger." It's supposed to be similar to "The Apprentice," "Amazing Race," and "Survivor." The winner will take home a $100,000 cash prize, a corporate job, and a plane ticket around the world.
"KBS has invested over a million dollars to bring out his large crew of 80 people to Hawaii and they're shooting 16 episodes of the show," said Irene Lee of Hawaii Tourism Korea.
"KBS is by far the largest network in South Korea. It's the equivalent of BBC or NHK in Japan. They have two channels nationwide and this will be great coverage for the state of Hawaii," explained Jeff Chung, general manager of KBFD TV.
The contestants are voted off by a panel of judges after taking part in physical and mental challenges. The episodes are being shot at different locations across Oahu and the Big Island. Wednesday's missions took place at Magic Island and at the KBFD TV station in downtown Honolulu.
"KBS is planning to capture different beaches, mountains and the tourist attraction areas," said Lee.
"The Challenger" will air during primetime over a four-month span. The visitor industry is hoping the scenic images of Hawaii will boost tourism to the islands.
"We are expecting about over 20 million dollars exposure value from this coverage," Lee said.
The winner will be chosen during the final episode which will be broadcast live in South Korea.
"It's a great opportunity for Hawaii tourism to expose at a critical time the value of Hawaii as a tourism destination for the Korean market," said Chung.
The first show airs in South Korea on June 24. The series may be shown later on the KBS channel in Hawaii.
*Note: Lisa Kubota was a guest judge for a few episodes of "The Challenger."
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