Navy SEAL-turned-TV personality Richard “Mack” Machowicz admits he had a skeptical first response when told that the third season of Spike TV’s popular “Deadliest Warrior” would include the show’s first fantasy matchup — “Zombies vs. Vampires.”
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. Are we jumping the shark here?'” recounts the former “Future Weapons” host, who takes over as “Deadliest Warrior” frontman with the new season premiere tonight (11/20). “But I live to learn, and I do read the message board, I do read the fan pages, and I think people are interested in trying something different with the show. When Spike said, ‘Let’s have some fun with it,’ I thought, ‘Why not?'” The show’s producers enlisted experts in fantasy lore to put together the matchup.
Machowicz adds, however, “I think the shows that most resonate with me are the historical matchups, like Ghengis Kahn and Hannibal, or Washington and Napoleon.”
The series that creates “What If?” battles between famous warriors who actually never met — utilizing experts on their strategy and weapons, with ballistics tests and other data fed through computers — is a multi-platform hit. Not only has it spawned video games, it’s also the basis of a feature film in the works at Paramount, with Shawn Levy (“Night at the Museum”) attached to direct.
The new season also marks the first appearance of a female “Deadliest Warrior” contender. Will there be yelps of protest about that from Spike’s mainly guy viewership? Machowicz answers, “People underestimate the power a woman can bring to the battlefield. Look at Joan of Arc, what she brought as a leader, in terms of technology and flat-out aggressiveness. Psychologically, she was absolutely committed, absolutely certain God had given her this mission. When people believe they’re absolutely right, watch out.”
Machowicz says he took on the job of “Deadliest Warrior” host for several reasons, one being that “It’s a great show.” He notes, “We had gotten out of the Discovery contract, and were looking at new deals with Discovery, History and Spike to do more producing and other things, too. Of all the negotiations, all the deals on the table, Spike’s was the best, an executive producing, developing and hosting deal. They were the most enthusiastic.”
Yes, he does have other shows in the works with Spike, he says, but it’s too early to talk about them.